Friday, March 23, 2012

Fast and Easy Fabric Facelifts

There are so many projects that can be done with fabric remnants and the outcome is awesome. Here are a several DIY ideas you can do at home.

 Use scraps of coordinating fabrics to create a modern patchwork-effect headboard. To make the headboard, cut 8-inch squares from stiff florist's foam and 1/4-inch plywood. Cut 8-inch squares from quilt batting and place over foam squares. Glue all layers with Styroglue. Cut fabric into squares large enough to wrap the foam squares with at least a 1/2 -inch overlap on the back. Staple fabric to the back with a staple gun. Cut a piece of 1/4-inch plywood a few inches wider than your mattress on both sides. Line up the squares facedown in your desired pattern and attach them to each other with heavy-duty tape. Top them with the plywood, and drill wood screws at 8-inch intervals to secure all the layers. Attach ring hooks to the back of the plywood to hang the headboard on the wall.

Add style to a plain wooden chair with fabric. Remove the seat and back from the chair. Trace the seat on 1/2-inch foam, cut the foam, then attach it to the seat with spray adhesive. Cut fabric 3 inches wider than the seat perimeter. Wrap fabric over the seat, smoothing as you go and securing with heavy-duty carpet tape on the bottom. Trace the chair back on paper and add 1 inch all around. Using the pattern, cut two pieces of fabric. Lightly spray the front of the chair back with spray adhesive and press fabric onto the front, wrapping the allowance to the back. Fold under 1-inch allowance on the second piece of fabric, wrong sides together, and press. Use fusible webbing to adhere the fabric to the back of the chair, overlapping the wrapped allowance. Reattach the seat and back. 

Add pretty curtains to your windows or hide table storage. Whether you want to use rings with clips or sew in a rod pocket, a yard of fabric or less can turn your space into something fabulous! Use a cafe rod or a tension rod to hold the curtain.

Editor's Tip: For a no-sew option, secure hems or make your rod pocket with fusible webbing and an iron.

Create a designer lamp in minutes with a splashy fabric. Cut fabric pieces 2 inches longer and 1 inch wider than the lamp base and lampshade. Iron a 1-inch hem on both long edges and one short edge of each piece. Lightly spray the lamp base and shade with spray adhesive and wrap fabric around each piece, smoothing as you wrap. If necessary, secure the hemmed edges with a thin bead of fabric glue.

A yard of fabric is all it takes to make pillows as large as 30 X 30 inches. Cut a front and back piece of fabric to the desired pillow size, adding 1 inch to the length and width for the seam allowance. Place the fabric right sides together and pin, leaving an opening for stuffing or pillow form. Sew around the pinned fabric. Reach into the open seam and turn the fabric right side out: press. Insert stuffing or pillow. Hand-stitch opening closed or if you want to be able to remove the outside cover for easy cleaning sew in a zipper or make a button closure.

Reface a pair of doors while also hiding the cabinet's contents by lining the glass panels with patterned fabric. On the back of each door, stretch the fabric over the glass and use a staple gun to fasten the edges to the wooden frame. For a tidy appearance inside, conceal the staples with glued-down coordinating ribbon.

Stitch up the perfect table runner -- custom-fit to your own table -- by making a fabric "sandwich" with a piece of same-size batting in between. With right sides out and the layers pinned together, sew straight quilting lines through all pieces along the length of the runner. Cover the raw edges with binding tape adhered with fusible web. 

To finish your dining room makeover make chair covers. You don't need to slipcover an entire chair to give it a fresh new look. Make this chair-back cover with just two squares of fabric and use fusible web to adhere a fabric shape to one piece. Finish with coordinating binding tape adhered to the edges with fusible web. For a no sew option on both the table runner and the chair cover use stitch witch to hold your raw edges down when you make your hems.

To spruce up your office space or kids bedroom cover an artist canvas, cork board or piece of sheet metal with fabric. Works great as a memo board, memory board or as a piece of artwork.

Abstract fabric cutouts dress up plain card stock to make custom all-occasion greeting cards that also look great framed. Gel pen outlines and a decorative scalloped edge finish off the cards.

Group together fabric-covered balls to make a great filler for a bowl, a glass vase, or a basket. Cut fabric strips from coordinating fabrics and use glue to adhere the strips to plastic-foam balls. Select a variety of fabric patterns and use both small and large balls for extra interest.

Hopefully this gives you some great new ideas for all those extra fabric pieces. It's spring so get out there and try something new.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Fabric Flammability Ratings

There are several things to know about fabric flammability and ratings. You will often hear fire resistant, fireproof, flameproof and flame retardant when referring to fabric. These do not all mean the same thing and it is important to know the difference.

Fire resistant or fire retardant refers to a fabric or fiber that has been treated or naturally flame retardant to discourage the spreading of flames. This IS NOT the same as fireproof or flameproof. A fire resistant or fire retardant fabric WILL eventually burn. It will just take a little time so that you have time to get to safety.

Fireproof or flameproof fabrics literally will not burn. To be labeled fireproof, the Federal Trade Commission requires that a fabric must be 100% fireproof. If the fiber or fabric has been treated to prevent flames from spreading, it must be labeled as fire resistant.

The fire codes that are seen and used most often are UFAC (Upholstered Furniture Action Council), NFPA (National Fire Protection Association), ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) and CAL Tech Bulletin (only used in California). It is important when doing a project that requires your fabric to be fire rated that you find out what fire codes are required for your state. Just call your local fire marshal and they should give you that information.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

It's Here!!! Lilly Pulitzer for Lee Jofa!
Check out all the fabulous Lilly Pulitzer fabric offerings now!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Day in the Life of an Interior Mall Employee - Cymantha

Name: Cymantha
Nickname: Cym
Years Employed: Almost 2!
Job Title: Customer Service

Describe a "Typical" Day for you:
Check voice mails, check e-mails, call customers back, take orders and answer phones, get tracking numbers, check on returns, open mail, help with accounting.

Favorite Moment with a Customer:
When a customer called in looking for a fabric that had been discontinued. She needed it to fix her husband's chair. We had a sample of it so we sent it to the customer and she sent a card thanking me saying the reason she needed to fix the chair was because she had cancer and he let her use his chair to sleep in. She just wanted to fix it for him to thank him.

Fill in the Blank:
I think we need a COFFEE POT! in the office.
There is just not enough samples in the office. - Feel the sarcasm.
If you walk by my office you'll hear me on the phone with a customer.

Pop Quiz: How Many Frogs Can You Spot in Cymantha's Office?

Interior Mall Products Used in Cymantha's Office:
Monogrammed Notebook
Swavelle Fabrics: Renshaw Ocean
Shannon Fabrics: Soft Fur Leopard Gold

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Fabric Abrasion 101

We are asked a lot how durable certain fabrics are. Many upholstery grade fabrics will have 1 of 2 abrasion ratings listed in the description; It will either be Wyzenbeek or Martindale. These two methods of testing the durability of fabric for upholstery use are actually very different but both of them are commonly used. Let’s begin with the actual definition of abrasion. Abrasion resistance is “the ability of a fabric to resist surface wear caused by flat rubbing contact with another fabric.”

The Wyzenbeek method is a standard test used in the United States. It is often referred to as the “rub test” as people often ask how many “double rubs” a particular pattern passes. The Wyzenbeek machine tests the fabric in both the warp direction (up and down) and the fill or weft direction (right to left). A sample of the fabric is cut into two pieces and each are pulled tight in a frame where it is held stationary. A piece of cotton duck fabric is used as the abradant and is rubbed back and forth over the fabric, known as the “double rub.” The samples are checked after every 5,000 double rubs and if the fabric is still holding up, it goes through another cycle of 5,000 and so on. When wearing has become evident or two yarn breaks have occurred, the end point has been reached, and the fabric is rated by the last check point it passed. So in simple terms, this means if there isn’t any noticeable wear at the first check of 5,000 rubs but it shows noticeable wear at the next cycle it must be rated as only 5,000 double rubs. Most of the time, 15,000 double rubs is considered suitable for heavy use in a residential application.

The Martindale test method is usually performed on imported product, and uses a different method when rubbing the fabric. The sample is mounted flat and a piece of worsted wool cloth is used as the abradant. It is rubbed in an elliptical shape. Again the method is checked in 5,000 cycles and when two breaks occur or there is a sufficient change in shade or appearance, the fabric is rated by the last checkpoint it passed. A rating of 20,000 rubs is considered suitable for heavy duty residential use.

There is, however, one misconception about the two methods. There is no correlation between the two methods; you can not estimate the number of cycles on one test if you only know the test results from the other method.

The next time you are searching for upholstery fabric be sure to look for either one of these abrasion ratings. Knowing this bit of information should make your search that much easier.

Friday, March 2, 2012

A Day in the Life of an Interior Mall Employee - Heather

Name: Heather
Years Employed at IM: Almost 1!
Job Title: Sample Coordinator
Describe a "Typical" Day for you at Interior Mall: Check voice mails, emails and new sample orders. Order samples, fill and ship orders constantly through the day. I also handle cubicle track and answer customer calls.
Favorite moment with a customer:
Recently, I had a customer tell me that my southern accent was "workin'" for him. Classic! We never know what funny things our customer have in store for us!
If you were stranded on a desert island with only 3 things from your desk what items would they be?
1. Of course the inflatable life raft that's under my desk. Because you never know right?
2. Assuming we have power on this desert island... my fan.
3. My computer
Fill in the blank
If you walk by my office you'll hear my fan!
I'm known as the makeup advisor of the office. I've been a makeup artist for the past 8 years, so the girls here like to pick my brain from time to time. I also begrudgingly admit that I'm known as the ghetto girl of the office. We could fill a book with those stories.
Interior Mall Products Used in Heather's Office: