Lovely Linen for Lynda

Lynda is in the process of redecorating her house and wanted to reuse a couple of comfortable chairs she had acquired from Calico Corner.  

 She was looking for a fabric that would blend in with other upholstered pieces she had and provide a classic fresh look.   After much consideration she landed on a beautiful Italian Viscose/Linen blend. 

I have to admit I didn’t know what Viscose was, so I did a little research.img_7291 Viscose, part of the rayon fabric family, is a semi-synthetic material manufactured from a plant-based material called cellulose.  It is typically made from woody plants, such as trees and bamboo.  Though it has many wonderful qualities such as being drapable, breathable, strong, inexpensive, silky and comfortable, it also has a few pitfalls such as being prone to shrinkage, wrinkling, and fibers that may weaken when wet or exposed to excessive light.  However, this fiber is best when blended with other fibers and is usually what you find in home decorating fabrics.  Linen, a natural fiber, is strong and resists dirt and stains, lint and pilling, abrasion, and moths.  This combination of linen gives you the best of both fibers. 

Some viscose materials can be machine washed on a delicate cycle, others hand washed, while some require dry cleaning.    I tested a yard of this blend and found that it shrunk almost four inches on a yard of fabric.  If you decide to take this chance it needs to be done before the slipcover is constructed or it will not fit!   It’s a tough call to make and one that only the client can make.   Since the supplier recommended “Dry Clean Only” for this fabric, my client decided to go with that.

Lynda also had a classic sea-foam green suede loveseat that she wanted to repurpose to a beach house. She decided to use the same fabric. This piece worked up beautifully.

Because of the single long nature of the cushion and no back cushions, and to work with the grain of the linen, I needed to seam the back, cushion and deck, just like the original upholstery. It actually added a nice design feature. The back seams were a perfect place to “hide” Velcro strips for an easy removal. Velcro sewn onto the piped bottom attaches to the underside of the chair, resulting in a very tailored and upholstered look. img_7397

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Optical Illusions

How many of you remember the “Magic Eye” pictures from the 90’s.  The abstract-looking pictures you stare at it until you see the hidden picture?   No matter how hard I tried I could never “see” the picture.  I wonder what that says about me? 



For some reason I kept this book.  I thought it would be fun to take some of the pages and frame them for the kids room at the lake.   Now if they are “bored” (which by the way, is a word that no one is allowed to use at the lake), I can send them to the room to stare at the pictures. Ha!  This is leading somewhere, I promise.



Let’s switch gears a minute.  I acquired two of these blue velvet-like chairs for free. They looked liked an odd chair with the fabric covered arms and legs.   A little strange, but I figured it would all be covered anyway and since they were free I could practice on them  and  wouldn’t have much invested in them.

 Blue velvet "free" chairWhile visiting one of my new favorite fabric spots in Alexandria, The Fabric Place Basement, I found this cool linen like fabric that I actually had my eye on for a long time.  The first time I saw this fabric was at the Fabric Emporium in Warrenton.  It was showcased on a side chair as a slipcover and I fell in love with its wild side. But I didn’t have a project in mind for it. 3C17DB12-D440-4409-A0EB-1C4DF0304F4FMonths later I found this same fabric on clearance for $5 a yard at the Fabric Place Basement!  I snatched up 12 yards for some future project that was yet to be determined at that time.  Well, the two projects seemed to find each other.   This fabric would be perfect to try my hand at slipcovering these two chairs. It was lightweight, crisp, interesting and whimsical. With the simple straight lines on the chairs, these chairs would be a breeze to construct.  At first glance it looks like an easy pattern match, but once you step back from the chair your eyes can start to play tricks on you, if you OCD like me, and notice the “optical illusion” of the pattern.



To give your eyes a break from the zig-zagging pattern and to make it a little softer looking, I put a light brown velvet piping around the base of the seat. A floor-length corner-pleated skirt hides the blue legs and finishes the chairs perfectly.


The slipcover gives the illusion of upholstered arms and really transforms these wacky blue chairs to an eye-catching statement chairs.  A colorful lumbar style pillow adds the perfect complement to the chair and gives your eyes a little break from the design.

I am officially on “baby watch” and am trying to position myself so I can be on call when my daughter calls me to tell me it’s time.   

Have a great summer!



Decorating · family · Sewing · Slipcovers

Shades of Gray

This busy mom and teacher had a beautiful unique couch that she had purchased before two kids and two pets came along. It has a wood frame with a  neutral colored linen cushions and back.  Thankfully slipcovering the cushions would be a perfect solution to breath new life into the couch, give it a whole new look and be removable to easily wash as necessary.  She was looking for a simple solid color that would work with the original color of the couch so that she did not have to slipcover the back.

I found the perfect linen rayon blend at Jo-Ann’s that hit all the criteria.  It was washable, charcoal gray, and had coordinating fabrics that we could incorporate to transform the whole ensemble and room.    The linen shrank quite a bit after the initial prewash so I washed it again to be safe.  The original fabric had a nice sheen to it, so be aware, that even if it says it is washable, you will loose that nice stiff feeling and pretty sheen….but you have a nice durable washable fabric.

With the six cushions behind me, I was anxious to redo the wood side chair and accent pillows that would pull it all together.  The chair’s seat was removable so I would just recover the seat with the gray patterned fabric adding some the matching gray piping to tie it into the couch cushions.  The back however, had a wood trim and arms that we didn’t necessarily want to completely cover.  I simply made a piping-trimmed cut-around on the arm to give it a clean line and added a Velcro closure on both sides for easy removal.

A few accent pillows in a steel blue linen and matching print and wallah!   What do you think?


Gray is such a wonderful backdrop color that goes well with so many different accent colors.  It she decides she wants to change it up in a few years, it’s no big deal to change out the fabric on the chair and pillows. I love the versatility of slipcovers.