Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

February 17, 2012

Pillow Fabric Picking Fail

Sugar.  I'm super jealous one of you will be winning a fabulous pillow next week (have you entered the giveaway?) because I picked my own fabric to make some cushions and my plan totally bombed.

Remember how I was so gleeful about the Marimekko fabric I bought at Finn Style?  Well, after forgetting it in Thunder Bay and finally getting it here to the townhouse I realized that the white background of the fabric is whiter than any white in my house.  Much whiter.


My thinking was this:  I wanted to mix up the pillow assortment a bit, keep things from getting too matchy-matchy, and I also thought a black & white pattern would help tie together the white/light elements (new lighter sofa, white walls) with the dark (dark ottoman, dining room chairs, etc).  I draped the fabric over a pillow form for a trial run and realized the fabric looks . . . odd.  It makes the other whites (walls, sheers, etc.) look dirty.  It also draws the eye away from everything, so all you see is the fabric.  If I lined it with a creamy neutral it softens the white a bit, but I think even the scale is wrong.



Meh, they're just pillows.  I know my mistakes (too bright of a background, too large a scale of print) so round two of fabric picking, I know I'll get it right.  Plus, I think not shopping with photos of the space, or even scraps of the other textiles, was a no-no.  I just kind of got swept up in the beauty of the store.

I'm back to the drawing board, but I wanted to share this little disappointment so you don't think it's all sunshine and rainbows over here.  As I search, here are a few inspiring photos of pillows mixed perfectly:

The Nest; Modern Jane; Emily A. Clark; Houzz
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19 comments

  1. this is probably why I haven't picked any cushions for my sofa yet...I'm too afraid to make a mistake and try again...hahaha...

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  2. Maybe not a pillow for that room but... aren't you working on the basement? You could stretch the fabric onto a canvas for easy art, or I also think that pattern would make a killer tote bag!!

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    1. This would be perfect as stretched "art". My mom took it and she's going to whip up some amazing aprons! A better home for this fabric. Although maybe I should get it back . . . lol

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  3. If you want to use the fabric in some other part of the townhouse, you could try soaking a small piece in tea to see if it takes some of the brightness out of the white.

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    1. I thought about tea-staining, but adding a layer of yellow fabric behind had a similar effect. I found the pattern still too giant. But I will definitely find another use!

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  4. Wow! That is some really bright fabric! If it isn't going to work in the living room, I would just stash it for a while until you find the right place & project for this particular fabric, because it is quite lovely.. just not the right fit for this room :)

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  5. Love the fabric. I can definitely see how you'd get swept up.

    Pillows can be surprisingly difficult. There are just so many options. Love all of the other pillows you have going on though!

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  6. Love your aqua and green dotted cushion.....and I want your lamp! Please?
    Have a great weekend!

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  7. I totally see what you mean about it being SO bright that it makes the other lovely whites look not so good.

    Like Pinecone Camp, I ADORE that aqua and green dotted cushion!

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    1. Thanks ladies!!

      The lamp is a vintage lotte lamp with a new shade, and the polka dot pillows are DIY. The fabric came from a really un-hip quiting shop - a new to me treasure trove of great, affordable fabrics.

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  8. I have purchased a couple fabrics that I thought would be perfect in the store then got them home and realized they wouldn't work. It is tough and background colors can throw the whole thing off. I got some fabrics for the bedroom without realizing they all had an off-white background and looked awful against all the white in there. Ah well, always nice to have extra fabric around. Can't wait to see what you choose next!

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  9. awww. thanks for including my pillows! I know what you mean. I've had that problem too. Crisp white doesn't work in my place either. But I love it so much!

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  10. Love that fabric...it would look great in a bedroom if you do crisp white linen on your bed.xx

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  11. Tanya, Maybe the trick is to choose two after two patterns. First a pattern and its another, after another double and so on. The smaller size is in front of all (color=focal point...),and the largest behind them all (main color, never the color of backgrounds of another pillows). When the background color is the same for each couple, also facilitates everything...Try, I always do so and it works.

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  12. I like your pillows but I think one of them should be a solid colour - and not white. I would say orange, like your lamp - and smaller and rectangle (or even round...)! Just a suggestion, go with what you want though!

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  13. I've totally done this too! Quite recently with some throw pillows in our bedroom. Don't worry - you'll find the right fabric and in the meantime, you should use that fabulous black and white elsewhere...

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  14. Oh, the emotional rollercoaster of decorating! I've had a lot of re-do's too, but you live and learn. p/s: just saw the newer post and the new choice is fantastic!

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    1. I knew you'd understand! Yep, sure am happy with the new choice. I think my issue stemmed from buying the Marimekko fabric on a trip, in a shopping frenzy and kind of on impulse. Bad Tanya!

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