B

Barkcloth fabric — 155 designs from 6 companies available today + vintage, of course!

tropical barkclothBarkcloth is a wonderful fabric for making curtains and pillows for midcentury homes and tropical home tiki bars too. In this update to my original 2011 story, I scanned anew for companies still making barkcloth today. Since 2011, we lost one beloved maker (Full Swing Textiles). Even so, today there seems to be more designs of barkcloth available than I can ever remember. In all, I count more than 150 different barkcloth fabrics on the market, from six companies, with mid century, contemporary, tropical and even googie designs. All things tropical — including tiki — are hot in the design world, and these rooms needs their barkcloth curtains and pillows! 

  • What distinguishes “barkcloth” from other fabrics: As I understand it, the colors are typically printed onto ‘slubby’ or ‘nubbly’ cotton fabric that is typically fairly heavy weight (too heavy weight for apparel, for example). Even given the heavier weight, check manufacturers’ specifications regarding any given fabric’s applicability for upholstery vs. accessory uses like drapery and pillows.
  • And note, in the list that follows, I am pretty liberal about what is allowed to be called “barkcloth.” As always, it’s best to get a sample before you commit and as noted above, check with the manufacturer about recommended uses for the fabric.

#1 Trendtex (Barkcloth Hawaii) — 106 barkcloth designs!

To be sure, Trendtex Fabrics out of Hawaii is the big manufacturer of tropical design barkcloth. As I write this story, they show 106 different barkcloth designs (available in various fabric constructions/weights). That’s a mighty selection! See all the Trendtex barkcloth options on their website HawaiiBarkcloth.com here.

Update and as also now now noted in the intro: As one reader pointed out, there are different weights — some may not have the heavy barkcloth nubbly feel you want. Order samples and/or talk to the retailer first before going big.

Above: Here’s how Trendtex describes their different fabric types — but again, order samples first to ensure you know what you are getting is what you are expecting.

#2 — Hoffman Fabrics — 12 barkcloth designs 

retro tropical barkcloth from hoffman fabrics in robin egg blue

8 retro barkcloth designs

Added to the list in March 2019: 11 screenprinted barkcloth designs by Hoffman California-International Fabrics. This includes eight tropical patterns and three retro googie patterns. These look very promising — I am going to contact the company to get samples to check them out first-hand. Wow: Hoffman Fabrics has been in business since 1924 — run by the same family. They are based in Mission Viejo, Calif. 

#3 — Stylemaker Fabrics

vintage style barkcloth with metallic ink new at stylemaker
This Outback Geometric barkcloth — made new, in limited supplies from Stylemaker Fabrics — has metallic ink! What a beautiful field color and pattern — wonderful!

Here’s a new addition to the list — Stylemaker Fabrics currently shows three barkcloth designs. Check out some of their other fabrics, too — they have a changing selection — and as I write this, I see quite a few retro-patterned fabrics that could do quite nicely for kitchen curtains. The company mostly focuses on apparel fabrics, but some apparel fabrics also can be used for light upholstery — check with them personally for specifications.

#4 — Island Paradise Barkcloth by Sevenberry / Robert Kaufman — 22 barkcloth designs 

tropical barkclothUpdating this story I discovered this new line of  Island Paradise Barkcloth by Sevenberry from Robert Kaufman Sevenberry — 22 designs in all, some available now and some coming to stores in April 2019. While I am not quire sure of the fabric composition — that is: Is it slubby enough to qualify as “barkcloth,” the patterns look quite nice.

#5 — Cloud 9 Fabrics barkcloth — 8 designs currently 

barkcloth modern designFor more modern (rather than tropical) barkcloth designs, Cloud 9 Fabrics is the maker to watch. It seems like every year, one of their designers comes out with a new batch of designs. These collections are time-limited, so if you want ’em, nab ’em. Right now, it’s Homestyle by Eloise Renouf

#6 — Birch Fabric — 10 Charley Harper barkcloth patterns coming September 2019

charley harper barkcloth by birch fabricUpdate April 19 — I see that Birch Fabric will have 10 barkcloth designs featuring Charley Harper prints available in September 2019. These are all mid century modern motifs. I like the idea of a few of them for woodsy paneled rooms, or maybe kitchen valences.

#7 — Buy vintage barkcloth

Paul Frankl pretzel chair
Margie used vintage fabric from Florida Bungalow to upholster the delicious Paul Frankl pretzel chair in her Buffalo home tiki lounge

Of course, when it comes to draperies… or for fabric for pillows… you also can put your vibes out there and wait for the retro decorating gods to send some vintage your way. Watch ebay, etsy, and of course my favorite: estate sales. I have, many a time, bought draperies still hanging from the windows.  

Florida Bungalow(affiliate link) is a well-known collector of vintage barkcloth and has an amazing collection, for example. 

Know, though, that vintage barkcloth is super collectible these days. Pristine sets of vintage barkcloth curtains can cost a pretty penny!

This story was updated from the original published in January 2011. 

  1. Lynn Dudacek says:

    I am trying to locate the barkcloth print that is the same as the #1 Full Swing Textiles shown above; however, the background is grey. We have a chair that is upholstered in this fabric; however, our cat has damaged it. I was hoping to locate this fabric as a gift to my husband for his birthday, as this is a special print on a special chair. From the comments above, it looks like this will be an uphill battle, since Full Swing Textiles is out of business. Do you have any suggestion. Thank you

  2. Becky says:

    Also hawaiifabricmart.com!

    What you’ll find at Diamondhead and Hawaii Barkcloth plus lots more! My bedroom drapes are from DF1535

    1. Pam Kueber says:

      Yes, I think that’s an aggregator rather than a source-manufacturer, although I’m not 100% sure. I have been trying to focus on source companies that are actually the manufacturers so that with this list, readers can really see all the possibilities. There’s actually one more I need to contact and may add to the list.

  3. Dan ODay says:

    I had thought true barkcloth was not quite sturdy enough for upholstery, especially for furniture in daily use – any thoughts?

    1. Pam Kueber says:

      Check manufacturers’ specifications. In general, I had always thought ‘not’ but after considering the pros/cons you may choose to use it that way…

  4. Nigel says:

    I too would like to source barkcloth in solid colours. I think it would be ideal for slipcovers and tablecloths. As it so happens, I already have too many patterns going on, yet love the texture and hand of these fabrics.

    1. Pam Kueber says:

      I think I saw a few solids in there… Trendtex has a solid black and a solid ivory, for example. But… I don’t think those are the “colors” you had in mind 🙂

  5. BEVERLY WILLIAMS says:

    Absolutely infatuated with the “Moonlight in the Pines” pattern (ivory background especially). Is it allowable for a company like Spoonflower to duplicate that design on cotton or twill?? Unfortunately, I think I know the answer to that; just thought I would ask!

    Thanks much.

  6. K. Tobias says:

    Can you use the Cloud 9 fabric as “wall paper”? I’ve never priced wallpaper so maybe fabric is too expensive as wallpaper?

    1. Pam Kueber says:

      Hi K., there are methods to use fabric as wallpaper, but I would tend to think that, yes, it would/could be more expensive than just buying wallpaper. Wallpapers vary in costs, of course.

      P.S. I stapled animal print fabric, a sort of heavy faux velveteen, directly to the walls in my Mahalo Lounge. The fabric was thick enough that it laide down quite nice and flat; also it required no matching of seams since it was Krazee to begin with: https://retrorenovation.com/2017/05/31/leopard-print-fabric-used-wall-covering/

  7. Terri says:

    I love barkcloth and buy vintage whenever I can afford it – not as often as I like. I have even bought barkcloth on padded window boards at garage sales and taken it apart to find something salvageable. I mix the patterns too – some are just valances, some are curtains, some are pillows etc. even though the are mixed I keep them all in the same theme like tropical for instance. My daughter-in-law has made me two purses out of my found barkcloth and they draw lots of comments.

  8. Helen Snell says:

    I would recommend ordering samples of any of these fabrics first. I ordered the Diamondhead ‘Daddy-O’ and it is not Barkcloth. They describe it as ‘Cotton Crepe’ If you are hoping for the real deal you might be disappointed. The Cloud 9 is closer to the real thing but not as sturdy as good old MelinaMade (RIP).

    1. Pam Kueber says:

      There are different types of fabric: crepe, kahala, kapalua and cotton twill. I took the Daddy-O off the page because it’s crepe, like you said.

      Yes: Order samples first!

Leave a Reply

Commenting: Information

All comments are moderated, generally within 24 hours. By using this website you are agreeing to the site's >> Terms of Service, << which include commenting policies, and our >> Privacy Notice. << Before participating, read them in full.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.