Several good questions were asked in the comments for my post about sewing new cushion covers for those cane wingback chairs. I uploaded more photos from my camera, so let’s start with a little before and after.
And now on to the questions…
The patterned fabric is an outdoor fabric by Waverly called Tucker Resist in the Ebony colorway. I purchased it from HouseFabric.com, formerly known around St. Louis as Anatol’s. It looks like HouseFabric.com no longer sells it, but there is a 55% linen / 45% rayon blend of the same pattern that presumably could only be used indoors. I choose the outdoor version because I wanted to something fade-resistant. Oh yeah, and it’s about half the price of the indoor-only fabric. They are still selling the outdoor version in a blue colorway called Chambrey, which just happens to be the same fabric that Marion at Miss Mustard Seed used to make curtains. I assume you could search online for other sources of the outdoor fabric if you really wanted the Ebony colorway.
An Anonymous commenter had several questions:
I used an 8oz weight for this project, which is sold as the “standard” weight at Lowe’s (where I bought mine…I had to look it up to make sure but, yep, it was from Lowes). It is rather drapey and loose-woven. The only way I can describe it is that it drapes more like a table cloth and less like a pair of jeans. Lowe’s also sells heavier weight, 10oz, drop cloth labeled as “premium”. I have purchased the 10oz but haven’t used it for any projects yet. The heavier weight feels more like a pair of jeans and less like a table cloth. It is definitely denser and stiffer than the 8oz.
I chose to launder the drop cloth first, rather than cutting it to size and then laundering it. This decision was mostly due to the fact that I bought the drop cloth before I had decided what I was going to do with it, and wanted to have it clean and ready to go when the time came to use it. I would highly recommend washing it before cutting it, though, because this stuff frays like the dickens. It comes out of the package with pre-seamed edges, which keeps the fraying in check while in the washing machine and dryer. I used regular laundry detergent and a dryer sheet. I’ve only purchased the 4’x15′ and 6’x9′ sizes of drop cloth, and yes, both sizes fit in my standard-size washer and dryer. There are bigger drop cloths and smaller laundry machines (hello, Europe) out there, so you might have a different situation.
Since the drop cloth canvas is a cotton/poly blend, a small amount of shrinkage would be expected with a first laundering. I didn’t measure before and after to know for sure. Note that the label may say 4′ x 15′, but the actual measurements are also listed on the label and are a little smaller (for the 4′ x 15′ size, the given actual measurements were 3’9″ x 14’9″). Regardless, the potential for shrinkage is another reason to wash before cutting. I would hate to think of you spending lots of time cutting everything to size, only to have it shrink in the wash! (Although it would make for a funny blog post…)
Given the cotton/poly blend, tea staining, dyeing, and silk screening would work, but might give uneven results since natural (cotton) and man-made (polyester) threads will take color differently. When in doubt, try it out on a sample and see what happens. Sherry at Young House Love has experimented with tea staining and also using dye on her wedding dress and dining chair slipcovers. The iDye she used on the slipcovers has formulas for both natural and man-made fabrics, so you could mix the two types to get more even uptake of color on a cotton/poly blend fabric.
I know a lot of you have waaaay more experience using drop cloth fabric than I do. Any other tips and tricks to share? I’d love to learn more!