Thursday, July 14, 2011

Fun Fabric for Future Projects

I went to a favorite store of mine here in San Diego, Upholstery Fabric Outlet.  It's called "UFO" for short.  It's a beautiful store that features a wide array of upholstery and drapery fabrics as well as a variety of trims, foams and tools for doing different kinds of furniture and curtain projects.

I sometimes go there to look at their wonderful, zany fabrics for different clothing projects.  There are quite a few fabrics that simply aren't appropriate for attire, but some of them are just marvelous for unusual and fun garments--right up my alley!!  It's tough to find a fabric that won't make you look like you're a walking sofa, but for period garments it's sometimes actually easier to use an upholstery fabric to get the weight and style you need to simulate an older kind of fabric.

Contemporary fabric stores often carry lightweight fabrics that are, quite frankly, more suitable to the kinds of clothes we wear today.  It's been scientifically proven that the middle ages were colder than the temperatures we live in today--our climate was simply different.  So finding the thicker, heavier fabrics that were commonly created by hand looms using thicker threads is easier when you're browsing upholstery fabric stores.

Doesn't mean they're less expensive.  No sirree.  Upholstery fabric is often more expensive given the very nature of it's use--it's more durable and sometimes backed with finishes and stiffeners that make it completely unsuitable for wearing.  But finding a commensurate style in lightweight garments can sometimes mean the fabric is even more expensive than the upholstery in the end, so you have to look at it from that perspective.

Prices can vary greatly--anywhere from under $10 to over $150 per yard.  The majority of the fabric at UFO is in the $30-50 per yard range.

But in the back, heaped haphazardly on tables in great undulating piles, are the remnants...  And they sell, generally, for $8 a yard.

These pieces aren't usually big enough to do much with--they're often good for a single flat-back chair covering, or even just a pillow, but there are sometimes real treasures there.  There are a few racks piled with rolls of discontinued fabrics that are discounted, and there is more substantial amounts of yardage therefore, but it's still a bargain for the price.

I wandered in for some tricot-backed 1/2" foam at $10 a yard, and walked out just shy of $100 worth of fabrics for various projects.  None of it more than a couple yards worth, but enough that I can make vests and ruffs and perchance some new items I haven't thought of yet!

I had to share with you what I found!!  And it was an excuse to use a new digital camera my partner bought that is a joy and pleasure to use!!  I had been using a Kodak Easyshare DX7630.  When we bought it 6+ years ago, it was one of the better ones for us--6 megapixels! It took movies and had a variety of different pre-programmed settings.  But now we have a new Fujifilm Finepix S4000--at 14 megapixels!!  It's got a wider lens, and I can take a lot better pictures with it--it's actually hard to take a bad shot!  I'm quite happy with it (good grief it takes huge raw image files...) and can't wait to try out all of it's even wider variety of settings.  My, how far digital photography has come in just a few years...  I mean, it has a "baby portrait" setting of all things!!  Stupefying...

So here's a new pic of the fabrics that I bought!  Can't wait to dive in and play!!  I got a green polyester satin brocade with flocking, a multi-earth-toned velvet stripe on eggshell satin, some beautiful checks and diamonds, two gorgeous slub silk satins, a burgundy and gold striped sheer,  and a rich chocolate bouclé brocade!  I can't wait to see what combinations of these I can use to create some fun, vintage-esque garments!

Until next time, Live Life with Relish!!


  1. Hey Corey, boy! would I love to join you for a day of shopping at this wonderful store ... I love upholstery remnants, perfect for so many things. It looks like some beautiful pieces you picked out.
    Sounds like a great camera y'all are playing with, too! Enjoy, have a fun weekend.

  2. The remnants bin is my fave place. At this fabric shop, they kinda humiliate you by placing the remnants inside a box on the floor. So to go thru' the pile, you have to squat down. I love to use upholstery fabric for my larger bags. For some reason which escapes me, other sellers like to make fun of me when I do. They call it "sofa fabric".

  3. Oh, dear, Jane--I find upholstery fabric to be better than some of the fashion fabrics on the market today... I mean, really, some of the lightweight fabrics for garments that are available are simply more trouble to work with than they're worth!! You keep digging through that bin--they'll thank you in the end when the purses and bags you've made prove durable for them!! : )

  4. Susan, what kind of camera do you use? Your shots are always so beautiful!!

  5. Ohh my!! those are real treasures Corey!

  6. Thanks so much, Karla! Welcome!! : )


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