retro fabricFinding and shopping at bona fide upholstery shops can be difficult, even intimidating. And, unless you find a place that sells at warehouse prices, it’s likely to be expensive. On the other hand, JoAnn’s Fabrics are pretty much everywhere. So, I popped over to their website to see if I could find any upholstery fabrics that would be good for vintage and retro style interiors. Indeed, I found quite a few.

upholstery for couch in a knotty pine roomNote, these are still not what I’d call “cheap” — $25 – $30 on sale half-price, as I write this story. Is there a Waverly Outlet anywhere near you? That’s where I bought a lot of my upholster and drapery fabric in the early 2000s, before they closed down their outlet in Adams, Mass.

My favorite design in this hunt: The Waverly Upstream Plaid in Coral (also comes in Moss) — this fabric reminds me of vintage camp blankets and I bet it would look great covering a sofa or a chair in a den panelled with knotty pine.

 retro upholstery fabric waverly

Above: I love the 1970s woven look of the Akira fabric line, at the right.  It looks like there are at least 11 colors for this design — from Indigo to Palm to Chestnut, and more.

1970s style upholstery fabric

Above: Some more 1970s style potential. I would like to see this in person to assess the weave — of course, you need to see all of these fabrics I’m showing in person — but I like the online look of Melody, four color ways.

green upholstery fabricAbove: And here’s another design basic with lots of potential — Pera, 10 colorways. I am seeing a lot of moss, newly added on the Waverly site. Of course, A Moss by any other name would still look like Ripe Avocado.

retro upholstery

Four color of Glitz still available online. Has potential. Need to see.

mod fabricSo when did Tommy Bahama get all 1960s mad about mod? Just recently, it seems — the design above is brand new. Drift Away in four colors.

poodle fabric

Poodles in Paric fabric in three color ways. 54″ wide. Buy two yards — trim out the sides in black polka dots, add a button hole strip of black at the top — and you have your poodle shower curtain.

fabric with scenes of paris

Tres Chic Paris novelty print, in three color ways.

impressionismThese Tuileries prints — three colors — strike me as very 1960s. Or, do you think ’80s?

patchwork quilt fabricYes, I’ve gone insane for anything crazy patchwork quilt, watch out, Holly Hobby. Two color ways, Waverly Cozy Quilt fabric.

country kitchen fabricFor those of you who want retro country, I always like my tight plaids — with roosters, too, go for it! Farmhouse Friends has 2 colorways remaining.

toile chinoiserieToile du jouy meets Chinoiserie, two colorways.

tile fabricI’m pegging this at late 1980s early 1990s style, kind of hand in hand with Provence style. Piastrelle has three color ways — including the yellow and gray that’s super popular for a heartbeat 2012.

ribbon fabricRue de Ribbon in three colorways is really basically “sweet”, but it also has a kind of mod David Hicks look especially when it includes the black.

fabric with silhouettesJust about any “novelty” print would make for great curtains in a bedroom or kitchen, or trimmed out to 72″ wide for a shower curtain. About Face, two color ways.

  1. kyle says:

    There is avocado and then there is too much of it. Moderation. Burlap is wonderful. I look at all these blasts from the past and just think keep it clean and simple with texture.

  2. Laura H. says:

    I think i am in love with About Face. I need new drapes in my pink and grey living room and this just might fit the bill!

  3. Susan C. says:

    All of his fabric is 100% cotton. I should have know that, having worked in a fabric store. Cotton is way too light!

    1. lynda says:

      Michael Miller Cream Fifties Kitchen is what I used in a laundry room with walls painted Acadia Green by Benjamin Moore. It is a very nice print.

    1. pam kueber says:

      Thanks, Susan, these are great. However, I don’t think the weight of the Michael Miller fabrics is suitable for upholstery or draperies of any heft. I believe they make what is known as “cotton sheeting” — a lighter weight fabric meant for quilting. Would be good for very lightweight cafe curtains, though….

      1. lynda says:

        I have used lots of Michael Miller fabric. It is considered quilting cotton. It would make cute lined curtains ( have used it for that in a laundry room) You can also embellish dish towels, make a quilt, or make throw pillows. There are other “designer” quilting fabrics out there too with cute retro designs.

      2. Elaine says:

        I made full length drapes for my big front windows out of good cotton sheets in the 70s. They worked very well. If you want a heavier feel, you could line them.

      3. Patty says:

        Michael Miller’s fabric is much better quality than the similar fabrics at JoAnn’s. You can also look for Michael Miller discontinued patterns on etsy and eBay. I LOVE my Michael Miller kitchen valances.

  4. Lynne says:

    Some of these would look great as wallpaper. Has anyone here ever tried to put fabric on a wall? Any success stories?

    1. Sarah g says:

      My friend did this in her childhood room. The reasoning was because it had been her older sister’s room and her mother and sister had hand stenciled the entire room and wrote little messages to each other and the family didn’t want to paint or wallpaper over it. But my friend hated it! Hated the little messages because they weren’t to her. They covered the walls in a camel colored felt. It was successful but you do see the seams, like wallpaper but more pronounced. I think they stapled it to the walls…

  5. Kathy says:

    We were just extremely lucky in finding a bunch of discarded rolls of wallpaper including the burlap/grass which I LOVE! My dilemma now is whether or not to use some of it in my rental home-or to save it all for the possibility of moving to New Orleans {my dream destination}…There is also a roll with a fish pattern that has some damage that I think I will cut into decals, basically, & hang around randomly in the tiny one bathroom, since the fish a quite large. And finally, there is a real Golden Girl’s print in coral with cream color flowers that I am going to try on one wall in my room. It’s great to be able to play with these papers because when new they were quite expensive & are of really good quality. AH-the benefits of “junking”!!

  6. lynda says:

    This is a subject I tend to know something about! I have been to the Waverly Outlets over the years. I just looked up the Interior Alternative in Newark, Delaware where I used to shop. I called, and the lady told me that Waverly no longer has outlets because that they were bought out by another company. She said the store in Newark has lots of fabrics and prices are about $12.95-$14.95 per yard and they are running a 20-30% off sale this month on all fabrics. She said they have a lot of Waverly and other brands such as Robert Allen, Premier Prints, etc. Here is the link to the store and the other stores they have around the country.
    Some JoAnn stores have nice home decorator fabric departments and some do not. The 1/2 price sale runs fairly often. Sometimes there is an extra 25% off coupon that is good for sale prices too. In fact they had a coupon that would have coincided with the fabric sale this past weekend. I used to have other fabric places I would go to, but I think a lot of them have closed over the years. I do think you made great choices from the Waverly line. Would love if others would share great fabric resources for the home. When you are buying yards and yards of fabric, it can get expensive.
    I think some of the fabrics from this line look retro too. If you do a search for Premier Prints, they are sold at other places too, sometimes at a discount.

    1. Jason says:

      Great info Lynda – I need someone here in Delaware to help me with installing and producing pinch pleats for my house!

      1. Chad D says:

        My mom has curtains made by a lady in Delaware County, PA whose prices are pretty good, if that’s any help to you.

      2. lynda says:

        When I called Interior Alternative, they did say they would make slipcovers so maybe they make drapes as well. Give them a call.

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