My family room has been undergoing some changes over the past few months…years, really. It’s been one of those slow makeovers that has happened (and is still happening) as the money and time are available. It started a couple of years ago when I painted the walls and cabinetry and made new curtains. In January of this year, we installed new hardwood floors. Since then, I’ve been waiting. Busy with freelance stuff, busy with the Lucketts fair, busy with life… and too tired to think of making new slipcovers, curtains, pillows, etc.
Last week, I was walking through the family room and got a little distracted…and that led to rearranging the furniture and rearranging the stuff on the walls and making new pillows and slipcovering a small ottoman. I can see the room taking shape. It’s not drastically different. The bones are the same and the main furniture arrangement is the same, but the subtle changes are making it closer to how I always envisioned it. On the way are new curtains, painted bar stools, some new slipcovers and upholstery and a new cow painting by Cindy Austin (who painted Eulalie for me.)
So, moving the furniture around in one room always leads to moving furniture in other rooms. I took the channel back chair out of the living room to use in the family room, so I was left with a stray chair. I just plugged it in where the channel back chair was, thinking it would be a clashing mess…
…but it looked surprisingly okay. I’m not sure I love, love it there, but I don’t feel like I have to reupholster it tonight.
…and one of those chairs is still pink and hanging out in my office now. With the steam mop. Nice. (I just realized how silly it was to watermark that photo! )
Anyway, so all of this talk of upholstery leads me to the main topic of this post (finally)…drop cloths.
They have been the primary fabric I’ve used for slipcovers and upholstery until about a year ago. I used them because they are durable, inexpensive and neutral.
A couple of things happened, though. First of all, Lowes stopped carrying the Finish Factor drop cloths that were my favorite. Don’t they know we were using those for slipcovers and changing the fabric and brand messed us up?! The FF drop cloths were a great cotton canvas and they would get pretty light when bleached. The drop cloths I find now are a pretty dark oatmeal color and just look more like utilitarian drop cloths. The other thing that made me look for a new fabric is that I started doing more upholstery. Drop cloth fabric will tear if it’s pulled too tight, which isn’t good when you’re upholstering. So, I started looking for other fabrics and, after ordering and trying a few different ones, I found a fabric I love.
It’s the 16 oz. Romanian Hemp Canvas from Hemp Traders. At $16/yard, it’s still affordable and it’s a dream to work with for upholstery. It’s heavier than drop cloths, so you definitely need a beefy machine if you’re getting into pleats and that sort of thing. The thing I love is that the weave looks exactly like grain sack. The fabric is out of stock currently (I may be partially to blame since I just ordered a bunch), but they said they have ordered more. I’ve kept this fabric hush-hush for a while, but I figure I might as well share it. It’s a big world and it’s okay if other people want to use the same upholstery fabric I do.
I’m going to use this fabric to slipcover my family room sofa. It’s darker than my current white twill Ikea slipcover, so it will stand up much better to two small boys. I would really love to buy a new sofa, but I’m not ready to take that plunge. Making a new, more durable and dirt-friendly slipcover will prolong the life of the one we have. For the other pieces, I’m going to use antique grain sacks and the Hungarian hemp linen I’ve started ordering from a wholesale source. This isn’t a source I can share, but I’m ordering a bunch, so I can sell some online. This fabric is gorgeous, but unfortunately, it’s pricey. It’s the kind of thing that is a splurge, so I’m just giving you warning before you get too excited about it.
So, there’s an update on the fabrics I’ve been using lately. Hopefully it will be of use if you’re looking for an alternative to drop cloths.
Tomorrow, I’m taking the French cane chairs to have them professionally stripped…
…and my t-shirts are finally in!! I’ll make them available in the online shop soon (as well as some leftovers from Lucketts.)