This is a question we hear all too frequently, so we thought we’d give you a few points to consider as you make your decision about having loose covers made for your sofa, or whether to buy a new one.
So let’s have a look at the advantages:
· you can choose whatever colour and design of fabric you want, to create a totally original piece of furniture that exactly suits your style and decor.
· you can give new life to a very comfortable piece of furniture that is still in good condition – reusing is much more friendly for the environment.
· you may not be able to find the same size of furniture or style that you like, in the shops.
· you may not be able to find the same quality of furniture elsewhere.
· your furniture may have sentimental value, such as a family heirloom. Loose covers can preserve the life of old pieces.
· they are removable and can be washed or dry-cleaned; ideal for family homes or homes with pets.
· it can be a less expensive option (but not always!!)
Points to look out for:
Unless you are very confident at sewing, loose covers are not an easy project to take on. Ideally you need to find a competent soft furnisher or upholsterer who can show you examples of their work or give you references.
They will then assess the furniture and give you a quote.
Your furniture manufacturer will have complied with the safety standards, unless your furniture is very old. Check to make sure that there are labels on the insides of the cushions and on the covers.
If you don’t have labels then your furniture does not comply with fire safety regulations and we would recommend that you don’t have loose covers made.
When buying the fabric for your covers, make sure that it is suitable for upholstery. Ask your fabric supplier to tell you whether it is or not. Or check the label for the ‘rub test’. It should be 25,000 or above.
Also check whether it needs to be treated for fire retardency – FR. Most natural fabrics have an inbuilt (inherent) fire retardency, so they are a good choice to start with. But remember, where safety is concerned, always seek expert advice about your particular piece of furniture.
Be aware that fabric often shrinks when washed first time ( up to 5% in some cases) It’s a good idea to wash a piece first at 30 degrees and compare it with a sample piece of the same, original size. Your soft furnisher will then make adjustments to the size.
When washing loose covers, use a cool wash, don’t tumble dry, then shake them out and fit back on while still slightly damp.