10 Steps of Re-upholstery – Step 3 – Fabric Selection

cat in rocking chair

You’ve evaluated and confirmed the structural integrity of your project in Step 1 and measured it to determine fabric yardage requirement in Step 2. Now you’re ready for the fun part!

cat in rocking chair

A textured surface changes the way light effects a fabric’s color, look and feel

Choosing the perfect fabric for an upholstery project is one of my favorite steps! Many of my students have a gift for visualization, and I always learn new ways of seeing, whether I’m working with someone who has a definite plan for the outcome of their project, or a person who needs to ‘try on’ several looks before deciding on a style.

chair back with button detail

Button & welt details can enhance a fabric’s natural beauty and define the style of a chair

Color, texture and pattern are three variables you will encounter in the realm of fabrics. Each lends a unique character to the surface, and to each other. For the more artistically inclined, collage, applique and fabric dyeing are just a few of the options available to spice up a chair’s unique character.

colorful silk fabric detail

Texture & Color combine to create a unique Pattern in this hand-dyed silk fabric

The process of fabric selection can be a challenge – I’ve heard it compared to selecting a paint color for your house. I recommend taking a few samples home to look at them in the context of the room in which they will reside.

chair seat detail with leaves

A custom leaf design adds a unique touch to this restored vintage Drexel Pecedent chair

Lighting and proximity with other elements in the room always affect how a fabric feels. We offer a library of fabric sample books at our studio for students and upholstery clients to check out for home viewing.

chrome chair back detail

Chrome & vinyl make the perfect marriage on this vintage mid-century spring chair

The one thing that I love most about fabrics is the way that even similar colors, patterns & textures can feel so different – there’s often an underlying meaning that resonates with us, even if we can’t quite figure out why we like it. Choose something that is uniquely YOU!

Previous: Step 2 – Measuring
Next: Step 4 – Deconstruction

About the Author

CarlaHey there! I'm Carla Pyle. I love the stories that our furniture tells. For me a picture of my Granddaddy Milton's green upholstered arm chair brings to mind the vivid rhymes & colors of 'The Cat in the Hat' and his soft low voice in the telling. I love too that there is always an element of nature in furniture - the warm-toned curving grain of a walnut leg or the reflection of life in a mid-century chrome piece. The best part of teaching & sharing natural upholstery is that it ties all of these things together. Stories - of individual experience and of the planet - help us build happy & healthy homes.View all posts by Carla →

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