Where to buy affordable fabrics online
There are a lot of people who are obsessed with shoes, artwork or the perfect lamp. And then there are those of us who can't get enough beautiful fabrics - whether they're patterned, printed, silk, cotton, linen or lace, we're all in for buying a yard here and a panel there, either for a project we have in mind or just to hoard away until the perfect opportunity to use it arises. In Canada, though, it's sometimes hard to fulfill this passion, as many of the beautiful materials you see in magazines are available only to designers, and ordering from international sites can include prohibitive shipping and customs charges. But there is help. In the past few years there has been a surge of online fabric shops opening up across the country, full of affordable, practical and whimsical delights. Here, we've chosen a few of our favourite sources to satisfy that textile craving.
Where to buy affordable fabrics online
Double Decker Fabric, doubledeckerfabric.com
Dorienne Fairbanks, the owner of calgary's Double Decker Fabric, credits her children with providing the motivation to start her online shop. "I had all these projects to create but couldn't find the fabrics I wanted," she says. Drawn to prints with both retro and modern whimsical appeal, this lover of textiles fittingly sells collections from Michael Miller Fabrics and Riley Blake Designs.
Fabric Spot, myfabricspot.com
"I'm an all or nothing kind of person," says Markham, Ont.'s Karen Chan, owner of Fabric Spot. Selecting whole collections from designers like MoMo and Heather Ross, Karen believes in giving customers the choice of colour- ways and coordinates to personalize their projects. Organic fabrics are a priority for Karen. "Fabric is what's against our skin," she says. "Given the option, how could I not choose to sell organic?"
Fridays Off Fabric Shop, fridaysoff.ca
"I call myself a fabric curator," says Toronto-based Alanna Banks, owner of the year-old Fridays Off Fabric Shop. "I don't buy full collections - only the prints that jump out at me first, even if they're outside my comfort zone." So far, so good for Alanna, whose inventory always includes stock from modern designer favourites like Lotta Jansdotter and Tula Pink, among others.
Tonic Living, tonicliving.com
Sometimes the fabric just finds you. For Janine Morrison, founder of Tonic Living, the light bulb moment came nearly 15 years ago, when she acquired a lot of vintage fabric for her home collectibles eBay store. Now Tonic Living is one of the heavy hitters in Toronto, with an amazing array of accessible geometrics, florals, solids and prints from the likes of Waverly and Dwellstudio for the decorating market.
Warp & Weft, warpandweft.ca
Owner and former designer Esmari Taylor approaches purchasing wares for Toronto's Warp & Weft the same way she buys new furniture or shops for shoes: "I look for things that are timeless and have integrity." she's succeeded with her inventory from lines as diverse as Cloud9 Fabrics, Design Team and the Victoria and Albert museum. A devoted sewer, Esmari also sells notions from Merchant & Mills and Sajou.
Pictured fabric prints (above)
1 Anna Maria Horner Field Study cotton Fine Feathered in Ghost, Fridays Off Fabric Shop, $9/metre.
2 Braemore linen Sakura in White Tea, Tonic Living, $30/yard.
3 Joel Dewberry Bungalow Cotton Hive in Pink, Warp & Weft, $11/metre.
4 Carina Gardner Evening Blooms cotton Evening Wallpaper in Gray, Double Decker Fabric, $14/yard.
5 Lotta Jansdotter Glimma cotton Flowers in Rosy, Warp & Weft, $12/metre.
6 Waverly Chinoise Chic cotton Peaceful Temple in Porcelain, Tonic Living, $20/yard.
7 Leah Duncan Tule cotton Natie Fringe in Celeste, Warp & Weft, $14/metre.
8 Charley Harper certified organic cotton Upside Downside, Fabric Spot, $17/yard.
9 Valori Wells Designs WIsh cotton Treasure in Patience, Fabric Spot, $11/yard.
10 Natalie Lymer Enchant cotton Birds in Green, Fridays Off Fabric Shop, $10/metre.
11 Michael Miller Fabrics Retro cotton Lunch Box in Red, Double Decker Fabric, $13/yard.
Toss cushion fabric patterns
1 Tula Pink Acacia cotton Raccoon in Sky, Fridays Off Fabric Shop, $9 per metre.
2 Carolyn Friedlander Botanics cotton 14258 in Charcoal, Warp & Weft, $15 per metre.
3 Patty Sloniger Les Amis cotton Socks the Fox in Dusk, Double Decker Fabric, $13 per yard.
4 Dwellstudio Vreeland cotton in Aquatint, Tonic Living, $23 per yard.
5 Leslie Shewring Palos Verdes II certified organic cotton voile in La Venta, Fabric Spot, $17 per yard.
DIY project: Paint chip wreath
Whitewashed living room features a charming mix of furniture styles.
A DIY-inclined couple turns an 800-square-foot two-bedroom bungalow into the perfect home for their young family.
Homeowner Amanda Robinson transformed the secondhand piano by covering it in grey paint, casually accessorizing it like the rest of the living room and softening its bench with a faux-sheepskin throw.
The whitewashed living room features a charming mix of furniture styles. “I brought softness into the space with the upholstered pieces, while keeping a farmhouse vibe with the antique rocking chairs,” says Amanda.
Homeowners Jason and Amanda Robinson hang out in the bright living room with their sons, Ethan (left) and Aidan.
While blue hues rock this farmhouse, Amanda also popped in some pink tones as contrast.
A fun DIY project or easily picked up at a gardening centre, terrariums are a great way to keep your home green in small ways.
Durable slate tiles define the entryway in this open-concept space. Practical items in natural tones like the bench, mirror and coat rack are artfully arranged so everything looks pulled together.
The kitchen epitomizes Amanda’s love of pale backdrops punctuated with colour and natural tones. “I made the shelves out of wooden boards from our barn and left them unpainted to contrast all the white and to complement the butcher block counters,” she says. Mismatched hardware picks up on the hits of blue throughout the home.
With their young sons and pets (Weimaraner Tessie and cat Nimble) in mind, Amanda chose tongue-and-groove pine planks for the floors, ceilings and walls. “I didn’t want new drywall with two little boys and pets running around,” she says. “It was the best design decision I ever made.”
Amanda knew she wanted a light and bright space and conceived the decor with colour in mind. “This is still a really small house, so I stuck to a neutral palette for the base: white and cream with natural wood tones throughout,” she says.
Amanda and Jason knocked down walls to create an eat-in area that features a free-standing stove surrounded by stone-veneered walls and a thrift-store dining table and chairs proudly bearing a mismatched paint job. “I painted everything grey and then decided to paint all the chairs blue but got sidetracked after one,” says Amanda. “It’s fun and quirky as is, and the boys take turns sitting in the blue chair at dinnertime.”
“The walls in Aidan’s bedroom were in good shape, so we painted them and added pine planks to the ceiling,” says Amanda. “I like the masculine look of the unpainted wood.” The new blue dressers share the space with a thrift-store wicker chair, a yellow-painted hand-me-down stool and rope-hung shelves Amanda crafted from barnboard.
“Ethan wanted everything in his room swimming pool turquoise.” They settled on a seafoam blue that’s more soothing for a bedroom and then incorporated coordinating accents in every room – even on the front door. “If you keep the big things neutral and then add accents in a single shade, it makes everything seem effortlessly connected,” says Amanda.
A bright screen door frame hints at the pops of blue to be found inside the house. Amanda refinished a hand-me-down pine table in grey paint and repurposed it as an easy-to-access storage unit for firewood. Antique Canadian Pacific Railway lanterns found in the barn and on Kijiji layer in more colour and reference the surrounding rustic landscape.
After a fresh coat of paint and some carefully placed furniture, the Robinsons are set to make this newly decorated farmhouse their home.
Homeowner Amanda Robinson used blue paint throughout her home to liven up the soothing neutral palette and provide a link from room to room. Here are her three favourite shades.
How to: Paint outdoor furniture
When undertaking a DIY project, there are usually a few things to consider. Add tempermental weather to the list and suddenly that little list has multiplied. How do you prepare your furniture for painting? What type of paint do you use? How does it differ for different types of material?
Though the process of painting outdoor furniture may seem daunting now, the best way to go about a DIY job is to be prepared. We talked to an expert at Canadian Tire to do just that. Michael Bache, Category Business Manager at Canadian Tire, shares his prepping and painting how tos to help put your DIY nerves at ease.
1 What supplies will you need for prepping and painting?
Depending on the state of the furniture (e.g. new wood, old plastic, painted metal, painted wood) and the type of paint chosen, a variety of items should be considered.
If using brush-on paint, consider using a primer before applying a new fresh coat of colour. When priming your furniture, make sure to use a good quality paintbrush and rags or drop cloths for clean-up. However, if you're using Krylon® Fusion™ no primer is required.
If repainting a metal or wood surface that has loose peeling paint, it must be removed for best adhesion. You can use sandpaper, steel wool, wire brush, scraper, or a stripper. You may require a tack cloth to clean up dust residue when sanding. If sanding a latex paint, a simple damp rag will work just fine.
2 Do these steps differ when prepping different materials, such as metal, plastic, wicker or wood?
Yes. Some products don't require primer, saving you a prep step. Using an aerosol is a benefit, too, as you also save a step in the prep. It generally dries faster and doesn't require clean-up since no paint brushes are involved. Even better, aerosols tend to give a factory style, air brush finish when applied properly, as opposed to a brush-on paint.
Bare wood generally requires a primer to seal the wood prior to painting as the surface is porous. The primer is used to provide a nice, smooth finish. Krylon Dual saves a step on both bare wood and metal since it primes and paints in one easy step. This saves time and allows people to have more time enjoying their furniture and less time prepping it!
3 What type of paint should you use for outdoor furniture?
Always follow the directions on the label for specific product use. This will ensure proper adhesion to your surface.
Plastic patio furniture should only have a paint specifically designed to adhere to plastic and hard-to-bond surfaces. Many general purpose paints can adhere to most surfaces except plastic.
For wicker or rattan, spray paints tend to make a nicer finish and easily gets into the grooves. Muskoka chairs are also easier to paint when using an aerosol as opposed to a paint brush. Now there's even an aerosol wood stain by Krylon. Spray stains make fast work of Muskoka chairs and planters - no brushes to clean up either.
5 What about rust prevention?
Paint designed especially for metal surfaces tends to add rust protection into the paint - make sure the paint says "rust proofing" or "rust inhibiting".
As our climate changes, U.V. rays are also a consideration - they're hard on our skin and our exterior patio furniture! Some paints actually have U.V. protection in their paint. This will help protect your finish to resist harsh weather conditions. We suggest storing patio furniture during the fall and winter months when not in use. If space is a problem, a variety of covers and tarps are available to help protect your investment.
6 What are the best painting methods to use?
Much of this is personal preference. However, some surfaces, like wicker and rattan, have a nicer finish when sprayed versus brushing.
7 What kind of finish, if any, should you use?
Most paint companies offer a variety of finishes to choose from - satin, gloss, textured, metallic, hammered, and more. As long as you use an appropriate paint for your exterior surface and follow the instructions, you should achieve the finish you want. The really nice thing about the variety of paints and finishes available is that people can turn "garage sale finds" into treasures. Mixing and matching old and new creates a different and personalized patio set.
8 How many coats should you use
Follow the instructions on the can, however many paints suggest two coats. When painting remember this rule of thumb: Thinner coats are better than thicker coats. Thinner coats dry faster and produce a harder finish.
9 What should you look for in a brush?
Is it the right paint brush for your paint? Oil-based paints generally have different bristles than latex paints. The brush label will specify this.
Is the paint brush the right size to do your project? If you are painting furniture, smaller brushes may be better. Ensure it fits into your paint container.
A roller can be great for large flat surfaces, like a tabletop. This can help reduce brush marks, too!
10 How does climate affect the painting process?
Weather is a big factor. For the most part, if you're getting a sunburn and sweating, it's probably too hot to paint. This will cause the paint to dry too fast. If it's too windy and you're using an aerosol paint, your paint may dissipate before it reaches the surface. Either wait for the wind to die down or use cardboard to build a spray tunnel. Humidity can affect the paint's dry time, which leaves more time for surface imperfections to take place on your finish. In general, 21ºC and about 50% humidity are ideal conditions for painting.
12 Any last tips?
Remember to protect other surfaces if working outside by using masking tape and drop cloths. Most importantly, regardless of your project, remember to always read product labels thoroughly and follow directions.