Greening a Favourite Old Chair – Part 2: Putting a Wrap on It


A look at fabric choices for people with a green inclination

This week I will not talk what makes an eco-fabric because I found an excellent article by Lindsey Gerrish, who blogs on Recreated. She is a hobby upholsterer and lover of all things related to furniture and furnishings located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Importantly she comes up with a list of things to look for when deciding if a fabric meets eco-friendly standards. These words of wisdom can be found at http://lgrecreated.wordpress.com/2011/05/25/eco-upholstery-fabrics/

I went to an upholsterer here in London (Ontario, for those of you not from this province) who showed me several sample books of 100% recycled content polyester upholstery fabric by J. Ennis Fabrics, out of Mississauga, Ontario.  J. Ennis provides a lengthy discussion about the green properties of this and other fabrics at https://www.jennisfabrics.com/jennis-web-core/readMoreGreen.jef

I’m not partial to the feel of polyester, overall, and since I am nervous about off gassing, even though the manufacturers say it has very low VOC’s (volatile organic compounds), so this is not be a choice I’ll be making.

What I really want to do is print my own design onto cotton canvas. I found out from Kathy Barlow on her blog, Homeworkshop, that I can create a design and then have it printed at Spoonflower.

A couple years ago I had a conversation with Jen Bulthuis, the owner of Toronto-based organic toy company, Fidoodle who lead me to a totally non-toxic printing ink called Permaset Aqua, developed by Fujifilm, and now manufactured by Australian company, Colormaker. When I say totally, I mean you could eat this stuff. Well, maybe you wouldn’t want to eat it, but if you did you wouldn’t get cancer from it or be poisoned. This stuff is so non-toxic it can be used on underwear, swimwear and clothing for children under the age of two.

Other inks that are labelled non-toxic won’t harm you if you get them on your skin and you can clean up using water. But they are only non-toxic as long as you don’t eat them. These other inks are not non-toxic to the fish and other creatures who ingest them after you’ve washed them down the sink.

Why am I waxing eloquent about Permaset Aqua? Because I will be going the route of printing my own pre-loved cotton canvas fabric using my own design. Thus I will be following the suggestion of Jackie Hernandez, who blogs at Crafting a Green World.

I’m pretty pumped about this whole re-upholstery project but I won’t be starting it until April, because I got accepted into the Toronto One-of-a-Kind Spring Show and Sale, which runs from March 28 – April 1. Whoo HHOOOoooo!!

And yes, I am now up to my eyebrows producing lovely new Spring designs for the lovely people who will be coming to the show. I’ll be sharing what I am up to weekly in March, including FREE ticket give aways, so stayed tuned…

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  1. #1 by Lindsey on February 28th, 2012

    Thank you so much for featuring my post on your blog this morning. I so appreciated the kind words. Also, I am very excited to see your upholstery project when you are finished!

  2. #2 by goodlinesdecor on February 28th, 2012

    You are welcome, Lindsey. I was grateful for the useful information and your attitude of going for it when doing a DIY project. I expect to learn a lot as I go and share the adventure here.

  3. #3 by Alison Empey on May 3rd, 2012

    Hey Lois. Question for you and your readers. I want to reupholster our 1980s steel blue love seat. Going through my stash looking for something else I re-found some upholstery fabric…multi-colour sort of bargello and stripes…goes with the rest of the house….but….not quite enough fabric to do the whole thing…

    Question…if I were to leave the steel blue on the back (that no one sees) and the under cushion areas will it look like I skimped or would it work?

  4. #4 by goodlinesdecor on May 9th, 2012

    Geez, Alison! I’m sorry to have left your question sitting here unanswered for a week.

    I think you could get away with not reupholstering the back, as long as it never shows, but don’t you want to be able to flip the cushions periodically? If so, find another fabric to complete the cushions. Perhaps something with the same colours, but less busy than the bargello/stripes, and cover the sides of the cushion all the way around. That will contrast in a funky way with the top and bottom of the cushions. Alternately, if you don’t have enough bargello fabric for top and bottom then use it for the sides and contrast it with a solid or funky pattern on top and bottom. Let me know what you decide. And send me a photo to share!

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