Making a Picture-Theme Fabric Work

So, you fell in love with a fabric that’s perfect for your sofa, occasional chair, oversized ottoman…well you get the picture. It’s totally different than the original fabric but there’s one problem: there’s more than one focal point on the fabric and you’re not sure how to get the full effect.

That’s not a problem; it’s a challenge and with experience you’ll see it that way, too. I recently had a client choose a beautiful "Hunt Print" fabric for an occasional chair. The focal point could be a fisherman (her husband’s preference since he fishes) or a hunter.

The fisherman focal point showed more blues while the hunting scene showcased more greens. The blue, or the fisherman, won out!

Now, how to show the fabric so the fishing scene repeated across the occasional chair (see photo below). I began by draping the fabric over the furniture BEFORE cutting anything to see how it falls. We call this layout. By laying out the fabric I can see where the picture, or design will fall across the body. Because the picture has to be continuous from the hemline, all the way up the front, across the cushion and up the back, I have to see what parts will land where. If you’re familiar with making your own clothes or altering clothes…this is the same idea.

Above, the layout phase of custom slipcovering.

With this project, I had to shimmy the fabric to the right side so the fishing scene could be centered on the seat cushion, then on the front of the back, and also the back of the back. With careful positioning I was able to get him to appear on the hemline as well. It was lucky that the span between the fisherman's appearance was just so, that he appeared a number of times throughout the slipcover. This is call the "repeat."

Below, check out the repeat of the fishermen across the back and at the base of the hemline.

If the scene was just 3 inches off on the left, there wouldn't have been enough fabric to repeat the picture widthwise. Again, the print's repeat was large enough to cover the wide back, and the cushion front. The finished hemline is the focus of the photo below. If you look close enough, you can see the fishing scene climbs from the hemline front, across the cushion and up the front of the back. Mission accomplished!

Below, the repeated theme at the hemline, and across the front of the cushion, too.

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