Go Fabric Shopping With Creative Genius Elle Benson

Get fabric-shopping tips from an expert upholster. 

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This post comes from guest blogger and Made + Remade Creative Genius Elle Benson.

When I was lamenting around the office that I wanted to shop for upholstery fabric and DIY upholster an ottoman but didn’t know how, I was told more than once that I needed to call Elle. A busy professional by day and decorating blogger by night — she’s the creative voice behind the celebrated DIY blog DecorellaKnox.com — Elle was just the fabric mentor I needed. You can see her here in this throwback upholstery video from HGTV.com, then check out her oh-so-valuable fabric shopping advice before you start your next project!

Photo by: KAYLA MCMEANS

KAYLA MCMEANS

I will admit that my name is Elle Benson and I am a fabric hoarder. I love fabric! I want to buy it, collect it and keep it forever. I know not everyone shares the same excitement as me when it comes to buying fabric, but I hope my enthusiasm will rub off. For many people, the task is daunting and overwhelming. People ask, “where do I buy fabric,” and “what if I get the wrong fabric?” Here are my suggestions, hints and thoughts on fabric shopping.

Fabrics are always labeled by departments: quilting, costume, home decor, etc. Don’t be afraid to ask when shopping in-person or online if the fabric you’re purchasing will be good for your project!

Fabric stores can be daunting if you’re not sure what you’re looking for, so come prepared!

Fabric stores can be daunting if you’re not sure what you’re looking for, so come prepared!

Brick and Mortar Fabric Shopping

  • Shop in-store options but don’t be afraid to ask for catalogs to do a custom order. Just be cautious, some brick and mortar stores have a minimum custom order quantity that may be higher than you need.
  • Sign-up for customer loyalty cards for discounts, sales and coupons.
  • Thrift stores, estate sales and second-hand stores are great ideas for vintage or very affordable fabric.

Create a great custom look like this for all types of upcycled furniture using just paint and fabric. You can find some really unique fabric styles online!

Photo by: KAYLA MCMEANS

KAYLA MCMEANS

Create a great custom look like this for all types of upcycled furniture using just paint and fabric. You can find some really unique fabric styles online!

Online Fabric Shopping

  • The majority of online shopping sites allow you to order a sample for a minimal charge. I highly recommend doing this as the color resolution on your screen may make the fabric color look different than it does in person.
  • Make sure you read what the fabric is ideally used for. You won’t want to order quilting fabric or anything cotton for upholstery or home decor projects.
  • Surf the web for any online coupon codes that you can use when you check out.
  • All of the online fabric shops I’ve purchased from do have return options. This can’t always be said for brick and mortar shops.

My favorite online fabric recommendations are:
Fabric.com: I love the coupons, coordinating fabric options, large selection, quick shipment and easy returns.
Spoonflower.com: Support your local fabric designers! Become inspired with custom fabric or create your own fabric or wallpaper with your personal photos, logo, graphic or monogram.

Order more of a graphic patterned fabric to allow for matching the pattern on your piece.

Order more of a graphic patterned fabric to allow for matching the pattern on your piece.

Tips and Tricks for Home Decor Fabric

  • I highly recommend measuring for the fabric needed for your project before shopping.
  • Always order more fabric yardage when the fabric design has a pattern — this will allow you the flexibility to design your project based on the pattern. You can get away with ordering the perfect amount if you’re ordering a solid fabric.
  • Make sure to use the appropriate thread for your fabric. Examples: silk thread for delicate fabric, upholstery thread for upholstery fabric.
  • Don’t be afraid to venture outside the box for fabric. Curtains can make lovely pillows, thin rugs can be used to upholster ottoman or seat cushions, bedspreads and sheets can be used as curtains.
  • Be sure to pre-wash your fabric if it will ever be washed in the future, like pillow covers and curtains. You do not need to pre-wash if you’re upholstering furniture.


 

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