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How to use extra wide fabrics?

So far I was not able to come across any comprehensive online articles that address the usefulness of extra wide fabrics, hence I have gathered together a list that exhibits the versatility of this generous piece. Now by extra wide, I mean 150cm and more and I have to say there are so many advantages in using this extra wide material and not just for obvious things like curtains.

So, how are extra wide fabrics made?

I am sure that there are numerous marvelous machines out there that can print beautiful patterns on extra wide fabrics, but the focus of this article are going to be manufacturers such as Marimekko as well as Ink and Spindle that make their designs by screen printing onto cotton, hemp and linen substrates. For instance, the majority of Marimekko fabrics are made by the ‘flat bed’ printing process which allows for large scale designs with numerous shades of colour across the entire width of the fabric. On the other hand, Ink and Spindle fabrics are created by utilizing a mesh based stencil which contains the pattern. The ink is transferred onto the fabric through the permeable mesh surface while the ink resistant surface blocks the dye therefore creating a pattern on the desired surface. Now after that rather technical description here is a beautiful image of the printing process at the Marimekko facilities:

screen printing

So what are Extra wide fabrics are great for?

1. Tablecloths.

Extra wide fabrics are brilliant for tablecloths! The main advantage here is that you don’t need to piece the fabric – no seams! All you need to do to make this table cloth is press the edges and hem them! Easy! Moreover, you have the ability to tailor the size of the tablecloth to your table size.

2. Doona covers.

The same applies to doona covers although with these you might prefer lighter weight cotton. Again, no piecing for a standard single bed size and you simply join the patterned piece to the backing and finish the opening with buttons or Velcro. You might want to venture into making bigger sizes of bed linen but you would need to utilize your pattern matching skills-a process that I will show you in the near future!

3. Quilting.

If you are into quilting you will find wider fabrics a bonus. Many designs are suitable to use as panels for both sides of a quilt. There’s no piecing required and that makes it so easy for the final quilting to be done – no joins and ridges that can make it difficult to quilt.

4. Curtains and home décor.

Curtains are better with wide fabric particularly when the design is a large repeat. Extra width reduces the total number of ‘drops’ required. The extra width and large designs also mean that there is often no need to match up the patterns. For instance if you were to use the 147 cm wide Marimekko Fabric for a let’s say a 120cm wide pocket rod panel, you would have sufficient fabric, no need for pattern lining!

Home décor wise, extra wide fabrics can be stretched onto canvases as framed display panels making great pieces of art! For instance Marimekko Hetkiä is an insanely popular as a fabric for hanging wall art. Moreover, with extra wide fabric you can make sofa covers and play tents. What about a canopy for your birthday party on the patio?

5. Extra wide fabrics are cost effective too!

The other big advantage with extra wide fabrics is the cost saving. For example: an average, high end cushion cover would cost you about $70 Australian dollars. While a meter of 150cm fabric will allow for three 45cm x 45cm cushion cover making a whopping saving of $140!!!

6. Dress fabrics.

But hey! Why stop at cushions and doonas and curtains? Large patterns can be made into stunning clothing too. Just follow this link and have a look at this summer dress. At the end, you can see that extra wide fabrics are versatile and just plain fabulous. So the conclusion would be: “Think big – go wide!”




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