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Quick tips on choosing fabric

Can I tell you how ridiculous it is that I’m writing this post? This post on how to choose the right fabric for your upholstered bed?
Because it is.
I might as well write a post called: 
“How to Master the Unicycle in Three Simple Steps.”
“Secrets of the Mating Habits of Squirrels.”

Because I am so far from being a master at any of these things. But I can tell you what my requirements were, and maybe you super-seamstress-upholstery-goddesses can chime in in the comments and offer some legitimate wisdom on the topic.

I know they sell “upholstery fabric,” but I didn’t use that the first time and it’s not a requirement this time around.

Here’s what my requirements are:

  • Must be at least 54″ wide. Much thinner than that, and it won’t cover the whole width of the headboard. I’m not cool with seams.
  • Must have a forgiving pattern. Anything with a grid, or straight lines of any kind, will just be a daily reminder of how imperfect my upholstery “skills” are. There’s just too much stretching and pulling involved, and anything that doesn’t have a solid color or a large, random pattern will show every flaw. And it might make people think we built the bed while under the influence. Although that’s not the worst idea.
  • Must be thick and sturdy. If it’s flimsy or thin, it won’t stand up to all the tugging and punishment I will inflict. No pansy fabrics allowed.
  • Must either stretch or not stretch. Or stretch a little. Andy and I can’t decide which is better. I think maybe a little stretch is good, but you shouldn’t be able to tell if certain areas got stretched tighter than others.

I bought six yards the first time, and that’s what I’ll be picking up this time too.

Cool? What did I miss, fabric geniuses?

{Tune in tomorrow for a special post on: Common Career Paths of Former Rodeo Clowns.}



Follow along with the whole tutorial on this post!

How to make your own DIY upholstered bed! Complete guide with materials, costs and step-by-step instructions!

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  1. I'm really excited to see your step by step directions and the fabric choose. I'm convinced myself, with my friend's encouragement and help, to make this bed.

  2. InteriorGroupie says:

    oh, you have my sympathies – I understand completely! so far I think your recommendations are spot on, although I think stretchy fabric would be extremely hard to work with. Better to get fabric with no stretch and just pull it taut the whole way around. Your reasoning for not wanting straight lines on the fabric is completely sound. can't wait to see the finished product!

  3. Nice list! I agree that you should go with an UN-stretchy material.
    sounds like it might more difficult to work with. Did you decide on a color/pattern yet??

  4. Carol@TheDesignPages says:

    It's all sound advice I think. I have absolutely nothing to add but am waiting patiently for the reveal. I know it'll be awesome.

  5. Erin @ My Rented House says:

    haha, love the other "expert" topics 🙂

  6. You might want to pick a fabric that is a blend (not 100 percent cotton) which will wear out much faster. Some polyester or nylon adds lots of durability. Looking forward to seeing the end result. 🙂

  7. laurenjanelle says:

    these tips are great. I reupholstered my sofa a few years ago with my mother. It took me a long time to find the right fabric but it's worth the time and research it takes. I ended up picking a recyled material turned into fabric and it's SO durable and beautiful (and cheap).


  1. […] Six yards of pretty fabric. (We used this in a different color called “snow.”) Here are some tips on the best kinds of fabrics for this job. […]

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