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My name is Gerrie Wydeven doing-business-as Wydeven Designs. I have been conducting this small GREEN business since 2004. Wydeven Designs, based in the Atlanta, Georgia area, sells CHAIRS, LOVESEATS, CHAISES, SETTEES and other fine, well-constructed refurbished upholstered pieces. I love to travel, cook, take photographs and generally follow style and decor topics as well!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Upholstery Tricks - Mixing and Matching Fabrics

I am always looking for ways to use fabrics to enhance shapely upholstered furniture. One trick is to use contrasting fabrics as piping to outline the piece. Another is to use a different, complementary fabric on the back of a chair or to cleverly make up for inadequate yardage. I do not like wholly different fabrics used in a helter-skelter manner - some of which I see in magazines and on sale sites - it looks too clumsy and cluttered to me.

Here are some of the ways I have used contrasting fabrics to enhance the upholstery work on my refurbished pieces - pictures tell the story so much better!

Tailored pieces often look good with contrasting piping. It shows of the elegant lines. I chose not to use the contrasting fabric on the buttons because it would create too broken up of a back - the right choice, I think.
Here is a humble looking chair and ottoman in a plain red and white check that is enhanced by the textured contrasting piping. This is also an example of where adding a contrasting piping using a color already in the main fabric does not create additional restrictions to placement of the pieces.
I love how this chair (one of a pair) turned out. The gracious curves in front and along the back were shown off by the contrasting blue piping. While it did limit some placements for these otherwise very neutral chairs, it did make them perfect for a popular blue and white setting. An important element to remember in adding contrasting piping is the likely placement (and versatility of placement) for the pieces. 
Another example of using a color already in the main fabric to create a contrasting piping - in this case a very small yellow and white check. I also like to using contrasting piping to show off the woodwork and the lines created by the woodwork.
I refinished this great settee (one of a pair) using chalk paint with an aged, distressed look. The clean-looking cream linen was set off with a taupe linen mimicking the woodwork colors and enhancing the fine lines of the woodwork. I chose not to put the same piping around the seat cushions because I was not trying to highlight those - in fact, I think that would have taken away from the whole look.
This black and white piping highlighted the textured nature of the primary fabric and makes the whole chair look more interesting. 
This great fabric was outlined with a complementary green piping.  I did want to break up - but only slightly - the size of this pattern and reinforce the flowery colors. 
IT is a little hard to see, but the fabric on this chair and ottoman were outlined in a striped piping with the same colors of green and white.
While it is impossible to know this, I actually had the upholsterers use the "wrong" side of this woven twill fabric as piping  - it blends well with the wooden turned legs.
Here's an example of both a complementary pattern look - using the striped piping with the floral fabric - but also the use of this same fabric to make up for a small shortage of fabric. My upholsterer and I worked out this ingenious solution. 
Another example of inadequate fabric yardage and a solution that works.  I did have to go out and "buy" this striped velvet  and cream fabric - usually I have a lot of options in my inventory.  
I just think this turned out sweet and almost looks like an extension of the fabric pattern by using a contrasting piping that is the exact shade of white in the pattern.
I do like using a contrasting fabric on the back of chair that are fully surrounded by a wooden frame such as these fine examples. 
I hope these "tricks of the trade" are helpful and encourage creative fabric thinking!

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