Fabric for Loose Covers

Written by f.r.r. mallory
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  • Introduction

    Fabric for Loose Covers

    A loose cover is a type of slipcover designed to fit over a piece of furniture but not so closely that the cover appears made specifically for that furniture. Usually this means that the cover will not have fitted details such as piping and dressmaker finishes. Loose covers are the most common type of slipcover and versions of these covers are sold that say they will fit any chair or any sofa within a certain size range. Most loose covers are of sturdy fabric in a solid colour.

    Loose fitted slipcover over sofa, with small accent pillows. (woman on a sofa talking on a phone image by forca from Fotolia.com)

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    Cotton is a natural fibre that weaving often makes strong and durable. This fabric works well as a loose slipcover when the weave is tight. The downside of using all cotton is that the fabric will wrinkle and it may not be the most comfortable fabric against your skin. The plus side is that cotton tends to be inexpensive and available in many colours and designs.

    Cotton's white fibres spin strongly into weaving threads. (cotton image by arklite06 from Fotolia.com)

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    Linen is also a natural fibre fabric but, like cotton, tends to wrinkle and look a bit messy. Linen comes from the flax plant and is at least as durable as cotton and in many cases may be stronger. Linen is available in many colours, patterns and finishes and can be a good choice for a loose cover if you are going for a shabby-chic look with your decor. Real linen is expensive and has very little stretch in the fibre.

    Linen has a distinctive weave. (Sacking image by Galyna Andrushko from Fotolia.com)

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    Micro-suede is a blended fabric composed of micro fibres knitted together into a smooth finish. This fabric produces a suede-like effect that is very soft to the touch and quite comfortable against the skin. The treated fabric can be strongly resistant to stains and very durable. Micro-suede is also expensive and only available in most stores in a limited selection of colours. Seams on microsuede will be a little more pronounced on a loose cover.

    Micro-suede's plush-like finish is popular as a sofa upholstery fabric. (sofa image by Clementina Cabral from Fotolia.com)

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    Blended Fabrics

    The type of fabric that work the best for loose covers is a blended fabric. A blended fabric typically means a cotton or linen fabric that is blended with polyester. The polyester fibres soften the cotton or linen, allowing the fabric to drape more easily and to resist wrinkling. If you want stripes or patterned fabrics, consider decorator fabrics. Manufacturers produce them printed horizontally and it is cheaper to join pieces together to create the loose cover size you need. Polyester or blended fabrics will often have a slight shine to their finish.

    Blended fabric colours are often bright. (fabric texture image by NataV from Fotolia.com)

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