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. 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.