Saturday, January 21, 2017

Choosing Fabric for the Outdoor Furniture

Sorry for the prolonged absence but we really haven't accomplished much during the last month.  First there was the holidays and then R tore a bicep muscle so we have been taking a break.  Some bloggers store up projects for when there is a dry spell but I blog in real time so that it doesn't appear that we were able to re shingle the entire house in two days.  That would be great, but it is not realistic.  But for the sake of transparency, we have slowing been re stacking our lumber pile and arguing over why we should or should not throw away those pieces of 6 inch long 2X10's.  Heaven help me if for some reason this summer we need a very short piece of 2X10 lumber. 

Last fall I repainted the vintage Woodard wrought iron furniture that we will use on the deck.  This furniture has all the original cushions, which are in great condition, but the fabric is not something that coordinates with the house or the deck  accessories.  The furniture also came from several different sets so the cushions don't match either.
The first task is to decide on which fabric to chose.  
Two years ago I requested the catalog from fabric vendor, Sailrite.  They also have a website.  So between the catalog and website I was able to view 1,000's of fabric choices without leaving my chair.  I don't believe that there is a brick and mortar store in my area that has this many choices.  AND I surely can't look at that many choices, all at once, without getting a massive headache. 

My husband likes to be involved in making design decisions but he does not like the pre decision making process.  I have found that it is best to narrow the choices down to a handful and then say "I like this one best" and he usually agrees. But there is always that one rare odd occasion where he really does not like something. 

When choosing fabric for outside furniture make sure you choose those that are labeled for outdoor use.  The outdoor fabric I chose is not waterproof so I will need to use furniture covers which is fine with me. 1. I would rather sit on a cloth cushion than a water proof vinyl that tends to be hot and tends to sticks to your skin.  That type of fabric is usually label for marine use such as a boat or jet ski. 2. I do not like hauling in cushions every night AND you know the one time you forgot to bring them it, it will rain.  Been there and done that.
So that is why I ordered samples of my favorite outdoor fabric choices.  Most samples were $1.00 but I had a few that were 2 bucks.  I ordered the samples from the Sailrite website and they arrived in the mail a week later..

I am so glad that I ordered samples because right away I saw that some of my choices were totally wrong.  Like the fabric examples below.
I like both of these bold prints for accent pillows but I found the one on the right is slightly muted and looked out of place against our final choices.
I picked out these two options for possible cushion fabric but immediately thought the option on the left looked too much like the flocked wallpaper patterns that my mother used on the walls in the 70's and 80's.  
I also picked out a handful of solid color fabrics for possible use on accent pillows, piping, and the edge on the box cushions.  Right away I could tell that the black fabric at the very bottom had texture that made it read as a pattern and not solid black.  I also immediately realized that the solid grey fabric choices clashed with the grey of the cedar shingles.
One side of the cushion will be a traditional wide stripe that will work great with a traditional Cape Cod home.  Right away I ruled out those with tan in the pattern.  Also one fabric, although an outdoor fabric, was too limp and would probably not make a good cushion fabric.

I also needed to take into consideration the deck accessories when choosing the fabric.   
 There is the umbrella stand that R picked out of someone's trash.  I did a quick refresh with a coat of satin black spray paint.
 Then there are also ALL the flower pots and containers that I purchased on sale at the end of the summer.  Not shown are several green pots with a basket weave pattern that I HAD to have despite R saying "MORE pots?"  Hey...they were 50% off.

What did I choose?
One side of the cushion will be the wide stripe, the solid black for the piping and edge of the box cushions, and for the other side of the cushion, a bold pattern that is still traditional.
 For the accent pillows I chose a solid green to go with the flower pots, a smaller pattern in black and white fabric, and the large bold pattern that has black swirls that look remotely like the swirls on the umbrella stand. 
 Sailrite also included a coupon for future purchases, which will come in handy when I purchase the fabric.  Gotta love those coupon codes.

I will make the accent pillows but I do not have time to do the cushions so I will take them to a local upholsterer to do that portion of the redo. 

Reuse Repurpose Recycle