Paisley…you think you know what it is…fabric with those amoeba shaped thingies…or a pattern on a man’s tie…but are you really sure? I confess that I was a bit in the dark about the exact origins of paisley before researching this post. So, for today’s blog, let’s discover paisley together.
My Greenhouse Fabrics vendor (https://www.greenhousefabrics.com/) says the following about paisley:
Wikipedia (in my book, the fount of all knowledge achieved with just a few keystrokes) gives an excellent definition:
Given the expanse of the British Empire 1700’s and 1800’s I guess that it makes perfect sense that the British brought the design from the East to the mills in Scotland and popularized this very interesting and universally liked motif.
Paisley patterns can be either asymmetrical or symmetrical as shown by the beautiful selections from Greenhouse Fabrics below. The motif is indisputably botanical in form, and is thought to have derived from a palm, pine, or cypress tree. I think all that you really need is the little squiggle to classify it as a paisley.
It seems like both women and men like paisley since paisley fabric is used widely in both apparel and home décor. For example, Here’s a paisley tie that is available from Amazon (like everything else in the world these days….)
Paisley works extremely well on upholstery, as shown on the chairs in my client’s recently redone living room:
And of course, paisley is terrific on draperies, valances, bedding, and other soft fashions. Here is a Milan valance I did for a client.
You’ll see the paisley motif in rugs too since it can really bring color and a splash of flair to a room. Paisley rugs in more formal spaces are usually a symmetric arrangement since it really raises the formality factor. In more informal rooms, paisley, in a non-symmetrical form, can bring out a bohemian look.
Well that’s all for our brief paisley overview…a timeless fabric that delights with its curving form, like a versatile acrobat. It pairs exceptionally well with geometrics. Please consider it for your next design project! Now that you’ve read this you’ll recognize this curved form everywhere…you’ll see……
From 22 September through 22 October I will be having a special 20% off sale from one of my favorite vendors; Greenhouse Fabrics.
Greenhouse Fabrics features an unsurpassed inventory of over 10,000 beautiful fabrics, and they never stop searching for magnificent new additions for their collection. Whether you're looking for leading colors, stunning patterns, or intriguing new styles, you'll never be short of inspiration at Greenhouse. From deep berry-red to the ghost of last year's lavender, you'll find every imaginable hue and style in their fabrics which have an endless array of solids, patterns and textures — you'll be sure to find some new glimpse of possibility.
Although Greenhouse only sells to designers, you can take a look at their website to see all of their beautiful fabrics. I especially like the "Open up the color spectrum" feature on their home page since it allows you to click on a color to see all of the solids, patterns and textures in that hue. Their website is located at:
This is a fabulous sale on some stunning fabrics, so call Barbara to get all the information.
As a designer, one of my responsibilities is to recommend suitable fabrics that will stand up to the task at hand. For example, if you need a new custom cushion for your mudroom bench, I would probably recommend a Sunbrella®, Crypton, or other indoor/outdoor-rated and spot-washable fabric that could stand a little mud, snow, rain, and “backpack who-knows-what residue.” Think school bus floor…well, scratch that mental image for now! So,what are these super durable fabrics that are now engineered for softness and a good “hand” for indoor use, and how do you clean them when spots and stains happen?
Most of you have already heard about the fabulous Sunbrella® fabric that originated for outdoor use, but has become popular for indoor use too. This brand was developed by textile innovator Glen Raven in the 1960’s to create an awning canvas with a longer lifespan than traditional cotton. Their solution-dyed acrylic paired with high-style designs, caught on and today Sunbrella is considered one of the top marine-grade fabrics in the world. It has many applications, for boat canvas, upholstery, awnings, sling chairs and more. The fact that Sunbrella is acrylic and the color is in the actual fiber strands, not just printed on, makes it cleanable with bleach. In humid and wet areas, this means you can use bleach on Sunbrella to combat the dreaded mildew.
My favorite Sunbrella supplier has generously posted instructions for cleaning of this fabric (in downloadable PDF files):
Sunbrella Outdoor PDF Sunbrella Indoor PDF Sunbrella Stain Cleaning PDF
Several of my vendors offer Crypton fabric, which is great for seat cushions in kitchens, mudrooms, and dining rooms. It started with hospitality use (commercial spaces like restaurants, offices, hospitals, etc), and has new hit the home décor market with great success, and many patterns. Here is a blurb from the Crypton site:
Cleaning Codes for Home Décor Fabrics
Just like the care tag sewn into apparel items, each home décor fabric comes with a cleaning code. When you receive fabric samples from Center Stage’s fabric vendors, look for this information on the label—typically DC, S, W, WS, or X, as described below.
General Guidance on Cleaning:
Draperies, valances, and upholstered items should be lightly vacuumed every few months for longevity and dust control. If you should get a stain on a home décor fabric, the following details on the cleaning codes (courtesy of Greenhouse Fabrics) will help.
Cleaning Code: DC
Before attempting to clean the actual fabric in your décor, we suggest you test the cleaning method (above) on the fabric swatch Barbara gave you when you ordered or received your draperies or upholstered item. It’s always good to be cautious.
Clean spots or stains from the outside to the middle of the affected area, to prevent circling. Cushion covers should not be removed for laundering or dry cleaning. Hot water extraction or steam cleaning is not a recommended method of cleaning. Pile fabrics may require brushing with a nonmetallic, stiff bristle brush to restore appearance. To prevent overall soiling, frequent vacuuming or light brushing with a non-metallic, stiff brush to remove dust and grime is recommended. Overall cleaning by a professional furniture cleaning service only is recommended.
Barbara Phillips, interior designer and owner of Center Stage Interior Designs, has delivered impeccable window treatments and design services to both residential and commercial clients in Massachusetts since 2001.