by Karen Powell, The Slipcover Maker

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1 by Karen Powell, The Slipcover Maker

2 Types of Slipcover Canvas... 3 Best Canvas Weights... 5 Wrinkles & Shrinkage... 6 Canvas Slipcover FAQ... 8 Beyond Basic Canvas... 9 How-To Preshrink Canvas About This Ebook Karen Powell page 2

3 Cotton Canvas: the most popular canvas used for washable slipcovers. Casual and relaxed looking, works well in tailored and shabby-chic style slipcovers Easy to find at low prices in a variety of solid colors, prints and weights Hand-feel varies: brushed soft, flat and smooth, crisp, stiff, grainy or coarse. Cotton Duck Cloth: duck is another word for canvas. Cotton duck and cotton canvas of the same weight are the same fabric when it comes to slipcovers. Looks like cotton canvas and wrinkles like canvas Hand-feel ranges from soft to very stiff depending on weight (single-fill vs. double-fill) and and type of finish (un-dyed, dyed, pre-washed, etc.) Read more about duck cloth weight on page Karen Powell page 3

4 Cotton Blend Canvas: made with cotton and another fiber such as polyester, linen or hemp. Cotton/poly canvas usually wrinkles less than 100% cotton canvas Look for 15% or less poly in the blend to maintain a cotton feel Linen or hemp added to cotton canvas gives the fabric subtle texture and strength Cotton duck cloth #12 weight, Big Duck Canvas. Denim Canvas: cotton canvas woven with colors indigo and natural. Looks like blue jean fabric but without the twill lines A laundered finish or brushed surface works best Avoid rigid feeling denim canvas. It is often too stiff for slipcovers and doesn t soften with wash. Linen and Hemp Canvas: my favorite types of canvas because of the natural, rustic beauty. Linen canvas and hemp canvas have a similar slubby textured look Washable, heavy weights work the best Allover soft crumpled appearance after washed No hard wrinkles like cotton canvas Softer, more floppy drape than cotton canvas Brushed Canvas: cotton canvas with a soft surface. Different levels of brushing result in different hand-feel Wrinkles less than un-brushed cotton canvas Heavily brushed canvas may pill after wash and wear Pet hair and lint stick easier to brushed canvas than the un-brushed version Carr Go Brushed Canvas 8 ounce, color Natural, from Carr Textile. Drop Cloth Canvas: un-dyed medium to heavy weight cotton canvas drop cloth typically of second quality. Coarser hand-feel than dyed cotton canvas Sometimes a drop cloth is more budget-friendly than buying canvas by the yard Comes in different sizes, each one is pieced together with one or more seams Expect high shrinkage and some flaws 2014 Karen Powell page 4

5 Most popular canvas weights for slipcovers: Light weight, 7 ounce Medium weight, 8 to 10 ounce Heavy weight, 12 ounce Heavy weight #12 (11.5 ounce) Ounce refers to unit of weight per square yard. Choose a weight based on how you will use your slipcover. Light weight or drapery weight Best suited for slipcovers that get occasional use and few washings. Medium weight A good choice for everyday slipcovers that require only one or two washings per year. Heavy weight, 12 ounce Best option for high traffic slipcovers that require frequent washing. Great for families with pets and/or kids. Provides better coverage for dark upholstery than the light and medium canvas weights. Heavy weight, #12 (11.5 ounce) refers to un-dyed cotton duck woven with 2-ply yarns This #12 weight canvas has a double fill instead of a single fill (yarns woven across the width of the fabric). It s denser and stiffer than 12 ounce weight. Makes a tough, heavy-duty slipcover. Slipcover in natural cotton duck, #12 weight Karen Powell page 5

6 Cotton canvas always wrinkles. Some canvas fabrics have a normal level of wrinkle, which will relax with wear but rarely press out completely. And, some take on deep set wrinkles that stay in the fabric forever no matter what you do to get rid of them. Un-dyed natural canvas usually wrinkles much more than one that s dyed a color. Cotton canvas can have high shrinkage. I consider high shrinkage to be 4 to 6 per yard on the length. 100% canvas usually shrinks more than a cotton/poly blend. Un-dyed natural canvas may shrink more than one that s dyed a color. Brushed canvas usually shrinks less than un-brushed. This 10 ounce cotton canvas from Big Duck Canvas has moderate wrinkle after washed and pressed. Most of the wrinkle softens and relaxes as the slipcover gets used Karen Powell page 6

7 Save money. Before you buy yardage for your slipcover, wash and dry a one yard sample. If you don t like how much it wrinkles and shrinks you re only out the cost of one yard. Avoid surprises later on. A wash test will also reveal right away if your fabric pills, fades and how well it covers your furniture. How-To Wash Test Your Canvas: ❶ Buy a one yard cut. This is important to do for every type of canvas you re considering for your slipcover. ❷ Machine wash and dry. Wash in hot water, no detergent. Tumble dry on hot. Remove from drier promptly when completely dry. Tip: If you don t have other items to dry with the one yard canvas, throw in a big towel. This will keep the fabric from wading up into a ball forcing it to wrinkle and crease more. ❸ Press. The level of wrinkle you see after pressing the canvas is how it will look in your slipcover. Some wrinkles might soften or fall out as the slipcover is used. ❹ Measure the length. Note the number of inches the one yard canvas shrunk. You will need to add those inches to each yard needed for your slipcover. ❺ Feel the hand. Does the canvas feel soft and supple after it s washed? If it feels stiff and boardy, chances are it won t soften up in a slipcover. Cotton/linen printed canvas. Woven ticking stripe canvas Karen Powell page 7

8 Q: Canvas or denim; which one works best for a slipcover? A: Both fabrics work great for slipcovers. Each one has its own unique look, feel and function. Consider the look you re going for, your budget and what kind of use your slipcover will get. Buy one yard each of the canvas and denim you like, wash them and throw them over your furniture to see which one speaks to you. For my own slipcovers, I use denim more often than canvas because I like the appearance better; it s less flat looking and has a softer wrinkle. Q: Will white or natural color canvas cover my dark color upholstered furniture? A: Most white and natural 12 ounce canvas and #12 weight duck will cover dark colors. Test a sample to be sure. Q: I have kids and pets. Which canvas should I use for my slipcover? A: A heavy weight 12 ounce cotton canvas that is tightly woven and feels dense will hold up well to frequent use and washings. If you need a tougher, more protective slipcover go with a #12 weight cotton duck cloth. Q: Is inexpensive canvas good quality? A: Price does not necessarily reflect the fabric s quality. I bought a $5/yard canvas and found the quality to be better than a $24/yard canvas fabric I tried. I ve also purchased cheapie canvas from a discount fabric retailer and was very disappointed with the amount of flaws and extremely high shrinkage. You can find out a lot about the fabric quality by doing a wash & dry test on one yard. Q: I bought canvas that is pre-washed. Do I have to pre-shrink it before making my slipcover? A: Yes! A fabric labeled pre-washed means the fabric has been finished in a way that makes it feel soft and supple. That might mean it actually was washed but it doesn t mean all of the shrinkage has been removed. Be sure to pre-shrink your canvas yardage so your slipcover doesn t shrink later on. Q: I want a durable canvas for my slipcover but I don t like wrinkles? What do you recommend? A: 100% cotton canvas in any weight will wrinkle so I would opt for the cotton/polyester canvas I review on page 10 or use a 14 ounce washed denim. Both are durable and have minimal wrinkle. Q: I found a cotton canvas I like but its Dry Clean Only. Can it be washed? A: The best way to find out is to wash test a yard. I have washed many dry-clean-only cotton fabrics and most of them turned out great. Sometimes they shrink more or fade easier than a washable fabric so be sure to test a sample before you commit to a lot of yardage. Q: How can I reduce the stiffness and wrinkles in the canvas slipcover I just made? A: Frequent wear and washings will eventually soften the hand-feel and wrinkles somewhat. I ve tried fabric softeners, vinegar, baking soda and drier sheets. Unfortunately, they don t work Karen Powell page 8

9 Drapery Weight Prints Light weight printed canvas in a variety of patterns: Florals Geometrics Stripes and checks Ikats Conversationals Look for washable drapery weight prints in 100% cotton that are densely woven. Avoid sheer and loosely woven canvas prints. Good for slipcovers that get occasional use. Designer Home Decor Prints Brand name light to medium weight printed canvas: Waverly Robert Allen Amy Butler...and many more! Look for designer prints that can be washed. Some Dry Clean Only canvas prints can be machine washed. Wash test a yard to be sure. 100% cotton, cotton/linen and cotton/poly work best. Good for everyday slipcovers that get moderate use. Woven Stripes & Checks Medium weight canvas with a yarn dyed pattern: Ticking stripe Gingham check Buffalo check Awning stripe A woven pattern looks the same on the front and back of the fabric. Look for cotton stripe and check designs that are tightly woven and washable. Good for slipcovers that get moderate to frequent use. Fabric.com SlipcoverFabrics.com BuyFabrics.com DecorativeFabricsDirect.com OnlineFabricStore.net HancockFabrics.com CalicoCorners.com WarehouseFabricsInc.com HouseFabric.com ArtisticFabrics.com Joann.com HabermanFabrics.com 2014 Karen Powell page 9

10 ❶ Cut canvas into 5 yard lengths. Or, cut longer lengths, up to 8 yards, as long as the fabric fits in your washing machine and dryer with room to spare. Avoid packing the yardage in too tight, it will cause deep set wrinkles. ❷ Machine wash canvas in hot water, no detergent. Wash one fabric length at a time. Don't crowd the yardage with other laundry items. ❸ Tumble dry on hot, no dryer sheets. Wet yardage wads up into a ball pretty quickly in an average size drier. It s really important to remove the fabric, unwind it and put it back in the dryer about every 5 to 10 minutes during the first half hour of drying. It s a hassle but believe me this is the best way to minimize wrinkles. ❹ Remove canvas from dryer promptly when dry. If you won t be using your fabric right away, roll it on a cardboard tube rather than folding it. This will keep fabric free of creases. Pressing is optional. If your preshrunk yardage has big, raised wrinkles that interfere with draping the fabric smoothly as you do the pin fitting you might want to press it flat. I sometimes mist the fabric with a water spray bottle as I press Karen Powell page 10

11 The advice I share is based on my professional experience as a slipcover maker, as well as, a textile developer for over 25 years. Your experience with the fabrics I mention may vary depending on how you use and wash them. All of my fabric reviews and images are my own. I have no promotional affiliation with the fabric companies I include in this ebook. Visit my blog for inspiring slipcover makeovers: copyright 2014 Karen Powell All content, graphics and images found in my digital e-goods are the property of The Slipcover Maker and author, Karen Powell, unless noted otherwise. Copying or reproducing my content in any way without my authorization is prohibited. My content is copyright protected and may not be used for personal profit Karen Powell page 11

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