Category Archives: linen

4 Things to Look for When Choosing Slipcover Linen

How to choose linen for slipcovers

Fabrics in photo: InstaLinen Brazil Blue #5, Brazil Off-White and Manchester Natural Brown.

The type of linen fabric used for washable slipcovers is anything but fine and fancy.

It’s nothing like a light weight linen blouse pressed smooth and then creases like crazy the minute you put it on.  And, it’s a far cry from starched-stiff, heirloom napkins and tablecloths — the “good linens” used only for special occasions.

Instead, slipcover linen is weighty, slubby, floppy and softly dimpled after washed. It’s strong and wears well. The look is imperfect and uniquely different than any other natural fiber fabric.

Linen is offered in many different weights, weaves and finishes. Here are 4 key things to look for when choosing the right one for your slipcover project:

1. Authentic Look & Feel — a 100% linen, or a linen-rich cotton blend, will give you all of the rustic character, strength and natural beauty linen has to offer.

I avoid linen blended with rayon or polyester. These fibers change the look, hand-feel and performance of linen: rayon adds a weird wrinkle and sheen and polyester may add pilling, seam puckering and a sheen.

2. Heavy Weight  — 12 to 14 oz linen, sometimes referred to as upholstery weight, works best for slipcovers that get daily use. A weighty, supple linen will drape beautifully and provide very good coverage over upholstered furniture.

3. Tight Weave — a densely woven linen in a plain, canvas or herringbone weave will be your best bet for durability. All linen fabrics have a natural ease so look for the tightest weave you can find. It will hold it’s shape better than loose weaves.

4. Washable — make sure the slipcover linen you choose can be washed and dried with good results.  When yardage is preshrunk correctly, it will not have deep set creases or sharp wrinkles.

Most linen fabrics are labeled “dry clean only” but that doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t be washed. The only way to find out is to do a machine wash and dry test on a one yard piece — hot water and hot dry.  This is very important to do before you commit to buying lots of yardage. Avoid linen that pills, fades, has flaws and extreme shrinkage.

Want to explore slipcover linen for your next project? Check out my favorite resources:

12 oz. Brazil Linen from InstaLinen. This 100% linen fabric is offered in many gorgeous colors. My favorites are Blue #5, Off-White (both shown in photo above) and White.  Read my review  and take a look how it makes up in a chair slipcover and a sofa slipcover.

13 oz. Manchester from InstaLinen, color Natural Brown (shown above). This is my go-to when I want a heavy, rustic, undyed linen. It’s got that chic European look.

Fritz Linen-Cotton Stripe by Richloom. Offered in lovely muted colors with a simple ticking stripe pattern woven in. I first spotted this fabric in a slipcover made by Sherri at August Blues. Even though this fabric is made with more cotton than linen, it still has many of the linen characteristics I love.

Hemp Canvas  color natural. This fabric is 100% hemp and won’t disappoint. It has the same look, feel and performance of a heavy weight linen. Hemp and linen are very similar in so many ways. I love the semi-bleached natural color.  Check out more of my favorite hemp fabrics here.

Slipcover Fabric Favorite: Oatmeal Linen Cotton

Linen Cotton Chair Slipcover

Many of you have asked for an oatmeal linen cotton that’s slipcover worthy. Good news! I found one I think you’re going to love. It’s called LATIN and it’s a beauty!

When I first sampled this fabric from InstaLinen I was immediately drawn to the simple rustic texture and two-tone natural color. Think hemp grain sacks and homespun linen sheets. I especially like the look & feel of this cloth for making cottage and farmhouse style slipcovers.

Oatmeal Linen Cotton Slipcover

Washable and tightly woven, this 12 oz linen cotton blend is a good choice for casual slipcovers that get moderate use.  Here’s what you can expect:

  • High shrinkage during pre-shrink (5″ on a one yard length and 3″ on the width).
  • Grainy, soft crumpled texture after wash. Be sure to follow my wash instructions to avoid deep set wrinkles.
  • Subtle stretch up the roll (on the straight of grain).
  • Easy to sew on a home sewing machine.
  • Versatile design appeal. Will make up nicely in any style of slipcover.

Oatmeal Linen Cotton Armchair Slipcover

Linen Slipcover Copy for Cisco Sofa

Sofa Slipcover Copy in Natural Linen

Natural Heavyweight Linen for SlipcoversA quality heavy weight linen makes a beautiful and long wearing slipcover. One of my favorites is Manchester Natural Brown.

This linen has a European look & feel that never goes out of style. I especially like the authentic flax color, a warm neutral that works with everything.

Manchester Linen is thick and weighty. It’s best suited for classic, washable slipcovers that have simple details — an ideal choice for my customer’s pair of Cisco sofas.