History of Textiles: Textile Mills - A World of Their Own

The influence of textile mills in the early part of the 1900’s was far reaching, often including their own pharmacies, movie theaters, restaurants, and even houses of worship. Long before the mega-malls and strip mall stores, many rural textile mills had their own department stores which served the needs of mill workers, their families, and other members of the community. 

 Cliffside Mills Drug Store

Cliffside Mills Drug Store

An early headline in the Forest City Courier of Rutherford County in western North Carolina read "The Cliffside Mills Store is Largest--Rutherford County’s Largest Department Store, with a Top Quality Stock At Rock Bottom Prices." The article goes on to read "The store is the largest and finest department store in the entire county, carrying only the best in all lines of merchandise and catering to the whole family and the home and making an outstanding specialty of rock bottom prices." 

Rural areas like Rutherford County experienced limited means of transportation, often consisting of horse and wagon, or a rare few early automobiles. This kept travel to a minimum and driving to a neighboring county to shop for goods was unheard of. The success of the small towns surrounding the mills grew with the success of the mill itself. What was only a small crossroads some 25 years earlier had sprung into rapidly growing towns with many amenities only dreamed of a few short years before. 

Just as many of these towns flourished with the success of textiles, in more recent years they have faded into memories due to the closing of so many textile companies throughout the southern states. All that remains is a whisper from the past--empty buildings casting shadows over lonely streets. While the number of textile mills remains drastically less than the number 25 years ago, STI is one of the few companies that has continued to grow. Having a yarn supply chain within the borders of the continental United States, STI has strategically placed itself in a position to experience continued growth while offering a product truly made in America. It is often said "To forget our history, we are doomed to repeat it." We must learn from our mistakes of the past, and move forward with new knowledge.

 STI’s Yarn Supply Chain - Revolution is 100% made in the United States!

STI’s Yarn Supply Chain - Revolution is 100% made in the United States!

 Outside of the Cliff’s store

Outside of the Cliff’s store

 The Cliffside Theatre

The Cliffside Theatre

The Artisan Collection

At the December Showtime this year, STI introduced the Artisan Collection which is a new line of textures. The collection features yarns that have the look of cotton with the Revolution cleanability and performance. Not only is the cleanability perfect for active families, the fabrics are safe for your family and the environment.

 Cotton in bloom. Notice the lush leaves.

Cotton in bloom. Notice the lush leaves.

There is a great misconception that natural fibers such as cotton are “greener” than synthetic fibers such as olefin, which is the fiber used in Revolution fabrics. Olefin is the product of upcycling; a byproduct of refining petroleum which in the past had been burned off. In the middle of the 20th century, chemists found a use for this byproduct, which is olefin. Another “green” aspect of olefin is that it is dyed without water. Natural fibers like cotton require considerable natural resources such as water and land to grow and dye. With an ever increasing world population, using less of the earth’s resources like land and water for producing natural fibers, the land can be used to grow food crops.

 The defoliant and other chemicals cause the leaves to dry and fall off the plant.

The defoliant and other chemicals cause the leaves to dry and fall off the plant.

Pesticides and herbicides are used in growing cotton. As a child my house was located beside a large cotton field. Only a line of trees my dad planted as a wind break separated our yard from the field. Every Fall defoliants were applied to the field,  sometimes by airplane or helicopter. The smell of cotton defoliant can be almost suffocating... I can’t even describe the smell which lingers heavily in the air for days! Defoliants cause the leaves to fall off the plant.  Also desiccants are used to dehydrate and kill the leaves. Boll openers are applied to enhance boll openings to improve harvest efficiency. I have often wondered as an adult what these chemicals and these pesticides have done to our bodies, animals, surrounding plants, and water. 

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Coastal Decor: A Beach Vacation All Year Round

Living at the beach is a dream many of us share. While residing at the beach full time may not happen this year, you can create a casual, tranquil, beach vibe by decorating your home.

 Revolution Plus patterns Seastar Bottle, Slipcover Twill Bottle and Geometrics Citrus. Shop Revolution Plus  here .

Revolution Plus patterns Seastar Bottle, Slipcover Twill Bottle and Geometrics Citrus. Shop Revolution Plus here.

Simple color palettes release your inner beachcomber. Use tranquil hues of light blue to navy to evoke the ocean and sky. Shades of beige, white, and khaki bring back the experience of sand dunes. If you need a bit of color, choose one, such as coral, and use a variety of shades vs introducing several different colors. Considered aged or sun-bleached paint surfaces for furnishings. Imagine furnishing with a reclaimed appearance or pieces that appear like you rescued that has washed up on shore.

 Beach décor demands durable furniture and casual fabrics. The beach invites us to come as we are with wet hair and sand covered bodies. You would never put sandy feet on a velvet sofa. Think instead of durable, washable fabrics. A slipcover may be a great solution for a carefree lifestyle. Floaty sheer curtains that catch the breeze and let in light add to the seashore experience. Use a solid color for most of your upholstered furniture. Tailored stripes also look amazing. As for furniture choose pieces that seem like they can weather any storm. Wicker is also a nice accent to any room and gives an instant weathered look. Toss a couple of nautical theme accent pillows on the couch or upholster an accent chair with a whale pattern. 

Introduce organic materials. Natural light will remind you of lounging in a beach chair listening to the ocean on a sunny day. A sweetgrass woven basket or a cotton rug would add texture any room. Add your shell collection or a piece of driftwood to complete the look.

I believe the important thing in while decorating your house is to create the mood of the beach with color, comfort, and simplicity. 

 New Revolution Plus pattern, Melville

New Revolution Plus pattern, Melville

 Revolution Plus pattern, Sponge

Revolution Plus pattern, Sponge

 Revolution Plus patterns Seastar and Sponge

Revolution Plus patterns Seastar and Sponge

Man's Best Friend

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Americans love their pets! Last year an estimated $69.4 billion was spent on our pets which includes veterinary care, food, medicine, grooming, and toys. In 2010 we spent $220 million for pet costumes at Halloween. That number has more than doubled this year to $480 million to adorn our little pumpkins, hot dogs, and bumblebees (top 3 pet Halloween costumes). There are close to 90 million dogs in the United States which have homes in 60.2 million households.  Although there are slightly more cats in the country, however, more households have dogs. 

Dogs may be considered mankind’s best friend because they were the first animal to be domesticated over 15,000 years ago. It was a symbiotic relationship for man and dog (originally a wolf). Man benefited from the dog as a hunting companion and a means of warmth; the dog ate scraps from the hunt and perhaps gained some protection.

 Biscuit with his Revolution bed and pillow. Revolution has another dog pattern, Woof, available  here .

Biscuit with his Revolution bed and pillow. Revolution has another dog pattern, Woof, available here.

What do dogs have to do with fabric? Because of our love for dogs, we offered a dog pattern in our line at Showtime in High Point this week… it was a hit! The fabric is a traditional paisley with dogs. We offered the paisley with and without the dog pattern so the fabrics can be alternated on sofa pillows. The name of the fabric is Biscuit after my dog. Biscuit was rescued from an animal shelter as an adult dog and has been a faithful companion to our family for 11 years.

 Revolution pattern,   Biscuit

Revolution pattern, Biscuit

How to Choose Upholstery Fabric for Your Sofa!

It’s time to change the look of your sofa. You’ve made the decision to reupholster your couch, but what should you consider when selecting a fabric?

Here are a few things to consider:


When choosing a fabric, it is beneficial to consider how much use your sofa gets. Will the sofa be used everyday? Will your kids practice wrestling moves on your sofa? Will Fido try do dig a hole to the center of the cushion? If the answer is “yes,” then you need a durable fabric. A few things to check for to ensure durability:

  • Look for the number of rubs competed on the abrasion test. A fabric should be 15,000 or higher for residential use.

  • Woven fabrics last longer than prints.

  • Look for fabrics with tight weaves

  • Fabrics made of olefin (like Revolution is!) are generally very durable

 A neutral sofa with pops of color in the pillows and rugs. Fabric: Revolution pattern, Barkcloth Linen. Shop it  here !

A neutral sofa with pops of color in the pillows and rugs. Fabric: Revolution pattern, Barkcloth Linen. Shop it here!


Bold colors are exciting. Trendy colors are fashionable. But should you upholster your couch in either of these colors? You are free to do as you wish, but consider a neutral fabric instead. You can quickly change a look of a room with splashes of color on curtains, rugs, and pillows. It is much more difficult to change the color of your entire sofa if that trending color starts to look dated.

Colors can also create a mood or solve a problem. A solid lighter color of fabric seem inviting and airy. A darker color may hide dirt.


Consider the style of your sofa frame before selecting a fabric. For example, a traditional sofa frame will automatically look good with a traditional fabric.

Textiles come in thousands of styles. Fabrics can look casual, ornate, formal, or fun. Consider whether your choice will fit into your current decor.

If you choose a fabric with a pattern, pay attention to the scale. A large scale pattern may be overpowering in a small room or may not center on your sofa in a pleasing manner. The opposite may be true with a small pattern in a large room.

 Revolution and Revolution Plus has 500+ hours of lightfastness, making it the perfect choice for a sunny spot in your home! This chair is Revolution Plus pattern Slipcover Twill in color, bottle. Shop it  here !

Revolution and Revolution Plus has 500+ hours of lightfastness, making it the perfect choice for a sunny spot in your home! This chair is Revolution Plus pattern Slipcover Twill in color, bottle. Shop it here!

Other things to consider:

  • Fade resistance: This would be important if your couch is in a room that gets a lot of sun.

  •  Mildew: Look for mildew resistant fabric in areas that have high humidity.

  •  Allergies: Microfiber is beneficial for some allergies because it is lint free and doesn’t attract dust.

These are just things to think about. In the end, your home is an expression of you. Relax and trust yourself. You will make the best decision for you and your family.

An Enduring Classic – Chinoiserie

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The term Chinoiserie, derived from the French word Chinois or Chinese, is the European interpretation of Chinese or Asian culture into decorative arts. This can be architecture, landscape design, furniture, wallpaper, textiles, porcelains, etc. It is first related to the Rococo style which began in France during the reign of Louis XV and is highly ornamental with a theatrical style of decoration.

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 Chinoiserie became popular during the 18th century because Europeans had a fascination with the exotic Far East. Few Europeans had traveled to Eastern Asia which lead to the mystique although trade with China and East Asia was increasing. Imports of Chinese porcelain, lacquer, and textiles along with the perception of what typical life was like in Asia inspired artisans throughout Europe to created products with Chinoiserie motifs. 

Like many styles, Chinoiserie popularity has and ebb and flow. It seems the classic style is in fashion as traditional blue and white porcelain was important at the furniture market this fall and was featured in almost every showroom. Chinoiserie works well in traditional décor as well  as contemporary if use sparingly. At Showtime in December we will introduce a few Chinoiserie inspired patterns.

 Revolution Plus pattern,  Ginger Jars

Revolution Plus pattern, Ginger Jars

Happy Veterans Day from STI!

At STI and Revolution Performance Fabrics, we value the American hustle, the American spirit, and determination to get it done ourselves; to have the utmost care, work, and enjoyment out of everyday living. As an American manufacturer of upholstery fabric, we are proud to stand behind our veterans that allow for the freedom of enterprise and collaborations between our workers and textile facility. Today I want to honor those veterans that make a direct impact every day.

 We would like to honor (left to right) :   Matt Maples  – US Airforce Electrical and Environmental Systems B - served 4 years   Greg Hinson  – US Air Force Sergeant served - 4 years   Mike Johnsonbaugh  - US Army Signal Corp Antennae Maintenance - served 2 years   Donald Garret  – Army -1972-1974   Thomas Berryann  – US Navy Plane Captain - 1992-1996

We would like to honor (left to right) :

Matt Maples – US Airforce Electrical and Environmental Systems B - served 4 years

Greg Hinson – US Air Force Sergeant served - 4 years

Mike Johnsonbaugh - US Army Signal Corp Antennae Maintenance - served 2 years

Donald Garret – Army -1972-1974

Thomas Berryann – US Navy Plane Captain - 1992-1996

  Van Smith  – Army Military Policeman 1971-1974

Van Smith – Army Military Policeman 1971-1974

  Keith Hamrick  – US Army Sergeant - served 14 years

Keith Hamrick – US Army Sergeant - served 14 years

Francis Coleman – 505th Kings Mountain National Guard Engineer - 6 years of service

  Yannis Helms  – North Caroline Army National Guard – Specialist Carpentry Masonry – served 6 years

Yannis Helms – North Caroline Army National Guard – Specialist Carpentry Masonry – served 6 years

  Brian Todd  – Combat Aircraft Bomb and Missile Loader/Supervisor – 1992-2012

Brian Todd – Combat Aircraft Bomb and Missile Loader/Supervisor – 1992-2012

We want to thank all veterans for protecting freedom and serving our country. Without you, we wouldn’t be where we are today. From all of us at STI, THANK YOU!!

Revolution Design Ambassador: The True House

Revolution is excited to welcome Alyce Lopez to the Design Ambassador team! Alyce was first introduced to Revolution through Bassett Furniture, who is a preferred furniture vendor of hers and a longstanding valued customer of STI, the makers of Revolution. Alyce would post beautifully designed rooms on Instagram that frequently featured Basset sofas in Revolution and after learning about our trade program, Alyce started using Revolution even more! Her fun personality, relaxed and “real” approach to design made her a great fit as a Revolution ambassador. “Alyce designs for people who live in and love their home and we really appreciate that about her,” says Jill Harrill, Marketing Manager at Revolution Fabrics.

Alyce Lopez owns and operates The True House, a full-service interior design firm that specializes in designing for the busy, young family. Alyce began her career in interior design after purchasing a fixer upper with her husband. The two navigated through renovations on a 1950's rambler maximizing their creativity and pocket change. The True House came about organically after documenting their home renovations on social media.

 Alyce Lopez, owner of The True House

Alyce Lopez, owner of The True House

Alyce always incorporates durable and low maintenance materials in her designs to accommodate the lifestyle of her clients, which is what ultimately led her to Revolution Performance Fabrics. “I was drawn to Revolution because of their sustainability. My clients no longer have to worry about wine spills, pet stains or active young children. They’re free to entertain and enjoy their spaces, even with a white couch!  Revolution has delivered an excellent PFC chemical-free product with extraordinary and unrivaled customer service.”

The True House is the top reviewed interior designer in south San Diego. She has been featured as a style spotter for industry shows and published by SD Voyager. She is widely recognized by her involvement in the community. When Alyce isn't designing, you can see her enjoying time with her family by the beach or at the happiest place on Earth, Disneyland! 

Check out the photos below of some of The True House’s recent projects that include Revolution Fabrics! To see more of Alyce’s designs, follow her on Instagram @TheTrueHouse!


The One Room Challenge by 9Ten Design

 Lenora DeMars, owner of 9Ten Design

Lenora DeMars, owner of 9Ten Design

Week 1 - One Room Challenge, Healthy Master Bedroom by 9Ten Design

Hello, I’m Lenora, this is my blog and I’m an interior designer based in Orange County, California. My firm is 9 Ten Design, I design in and around Orange County and Los Angeles. I’m passionate about creating beautiful spaces and incorporating healthy materials when possible. Healthy materials are materials that are not harmful to human health.

It’s been several years that I have known about the One Room Challenge.  I’ve admired others that have participated in the past. Finishing a room in 6 weeks seemed crazy to me! I mean seriously! My process, I “MARINATE” on ideas before pulling the trigger. Especially when it comes to my own home. Unfortunately, the marinating process sometimes becomes my paralysis.

Today, I’m officially throwing my hat into the mix. I will be featured as a Guest Participant and will complete our Master Bedroom makeover in 6 weeks! Eek! Not only that, I have also given myself another challenge… to create a room that is NON TOXIC. Meaning I will only be using materials that are not harmful to human health. Hence, the “Healthy Bedroom Makeover.” I will get into the specifics of what that means as the project evolves. Stay tuned! I have a feeling your jaw will drop when you find out how many harmful chemicals we surround ourselves without knowing.

In late 2009, my husband Steve, son Emmett, and our dog and cat moved into our “FOREVER” home. I was also 6 months pregnant with our youngest son Wyatt at the time. Like most others, we brought over what we had from our old house, regardless if it went or not. Our budget was spent on getting into the house and furnishing 2 rooms that had nothing. Now almost 10 years later, we have done NOTHING to our Master Bedroom!

To read the full Week 1 blog, click here

 The Master Bedroom PRE - challenge

The Master Bedroom PRE - challenge

Week 2 - Healthy Bedroom Makeover, The Plan

 The Master Bedroom space plan

The Master Bedroom space plan

We are fortunate to live in warm and sunny, Southern California. To be specific, we live in Orange County, California. Both my husband and I are transplants as we both grew up in cold climates, at least in the winter time. Que up “California Dreamin” by the Mamas and the Papas. I’m originally from N.J and my husband is from Minnesota. We both enjoy all that California has to offer. We can visit the beach, dessert and the mountains all in one day! Each of these beautiful landscapes will be the backdrop for our Healthy Master Bedroom Makeover.

Californians are also known to be health conscious. With that in mind, I will be incorporating some healthy material choices to use. Our master bedroom is the best place to start. A sanctuary with the intention to rejuvenate, regenerate, and recharge.  When making selections I will be mindful of selecting furniture and building materials that do not contain harmful chemicals. Such as Formaldehyde, Acetone, Flame Retardants, Antimicrobials, Fluorinated stain treatments, and PVC… whew, that was a lot! Sadly, there are more then what I have listed. Since the 1970’s there have been 80,000 chemicals that have been invented. 15,000 chemicals are in high use one way or another. Some of which are harmful to humans. Okay, enough of the scare tactic.  This is a light-hearted design challenge that I’m thrilled to be a part of.  I’m ready to create a killer room without the killer chemicals.

 Revolution Fabrics pattern, Bopper. Shop it  here !

Revolution Fabrics pattern, Bopper. Shop it here!

For the Master bed, I knew LONG ago I wanted to go with an upholstered bed. Not the best thing for my environment since I have asthma and bad allergies, but I’m OVER hitting my shin on the corner of the bed. I have a permanent scar from all the times I’ve hit the corner... IT HURTS! Our new upholstered bed will be much more kind to my shins. 

I’ve selected my fabric for the bed and it’s from one of my favorite vendors, Revolution Fabrics. They are amazing!  The fabric is 100% upcycled, made in the U.S, stain resistant without harmful fluorinated stain treatments. Added bonus, they are Green Guard certified! They are definitely my go-to fabric for families with kiddos and or dogs. Check out their video and see how easy it is to clean. Even permanent marker stains are cleanable! Their fabric meets both my eco story and my non-toxic story. Once again another win! Did I mention the selections are off the charts amazing? If not, they are off the charts amazing! So many prints and textures to feed all of my desires. Since I wanted to bring more light into the space I decided to go with Bopper Natural. I LOVE the texture! The bed will look and feel luxurious. Don’t you think?

To read the full Week 2 blog, click here

 Revolution Bopper has arrived!

Revolution Bopper has arrived!

Week 3 - What is it made of?

The design plan “California Dreamin” vibe was born last week, but the plan to create a Healthy Master Bedroom was from the get-go. This week is about planning yep, MORE planning! Yeah, it’s great I’ve got all the design elements picked out, but NOW the REAL work starts. I need to place orders, confirm shipping dates, expedite materials, and coordinate all of my trades. All the while, coordinating in the order that makes sense for this room to come together without a hitch. It would be SUPER silly of me to have my brand new custom drapes hung before getting my walls primed and skim coated for the wallpaper. In all interior design projects, there is an order to the process.

In this world of Eco-Friendly, Non-Toxic, and Green design there is a lot of crossover and misinformation out there. There is also this thought process that if it’s green or non-toxic it will cost more. I’m here to say it’s NOT always the case. In my quest to better inform others, I will be building a good, better, best option when it comes to green and eco-friendly. In most cases, there is not one material that checks off all of these needs or wants. But there is a way to create a good, better, best and reach our goal. Whether it’s to be green or create a healthy home.  It’s possible to have a killer room without the killer chemicals.

To read the full Week 3 blog, click here

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Week 4 - One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

There was some progress and without fail some hiccups that came up along the way. One was out of my control and the other completely within my control (changed my mind). Yes, that happens!

Before I get into what didn’t happen let’s review some PROGRESS. My custom drapery and roman blinds were completed and installed in a week! That is unheard of. Working with multiple trades can get tricky. Aligning everyone’s schedule and getting the material on time is magical. Check out below and my facebook video

In the last 4 weeks, I’ve accomplished the following.

  1. Design (including colors and most pieces picked)

  2. Ordering all materials, plus art, and nightstands

  3. Coordinating the materials in coming and into trades hands

  4. Got my accent wall prepped for wallpaper

  5. Drapes and roman blinds produced

  6. Drapes and roman blinds installed

  7. Waiting, Waiting, and more Waiting.

What I’m patiently waiting for

  1. Art to be made and sent to me.  This should be sent on October 30th.

  2. Custom upholstered bed to be made. This should be completed October 26th and installed on October 29th.

  3. Nightstands to be made and sent. This should be on its way by October 25th and received by October 31 or November 1st.  This one is traveling from the East Coast.

  4. Wallpaper to be installed. This should be installed by October 27th or 28th.

Onto Week 5! Next up is bedding and décor. Not going to lie, I’m having a tough time nailing down organic bedding that I like. Luckily, I know someone that will be creating a bedding line SOON! For now, I may need to get something that is NOT organic at least for the shams and duvet. Wish me LUCK! Only 2 more weeks left. Eek!

To read the full Week 4 blog, click here

 Bopper at the beach!

Bopper at the beach!

Week 5 - An Unexpected Turn

Before I get into the unexpected turn, I’d like to share with you that my roll of Revolution fabric arrived and was ready for an adventure! Bopper traveled all the way from North Carolina to sunny Southern California. She had never been to Huntington Beach before and wanted to catch some surf and sand. First stop was Pacific City then head to the beach for the Airshow. A day at the beach was the perfect thing to do right before she is transformed into a non-toxic custom Upholstered bed.

Since the bed is a custom piece, I have complete control as to what materials are used. No nasty petroleum-based foam will be used. Instead, I’ve swapped it out using GOTS certified latex. Plus, Bopper is Greenguard certified so it passes my healthy room maker over. Not only is she green guard certified, she is 100% upcycled! She is a win for air quality and the green movement! I’m super happy to align with Revolution fabric and use them for my projects. Oh my goodness,  I almost forgot to mention ALL of Revolution fabric is stain resistant and easy to clean. Check out the video and see with your own eyes how amazing their product is. The BIG reveal will be Week 6!

When you think you’re cruising and all of a sudden there is an unexpected turn. Week 5 presented a sharp turn or rather a SHARP PAIN. It all started  Monday night after dinner, I started to have some stomach pain. I chalked it up to something I ate, no biggie. I had a client meeting that evening too. It started out fine, but soon after I arrived I realized I better get this meeting wrapped up quick. Thankfully I was able to wrap it up and get home. I headed straight to bed and some visits to the bathroom but NO relief. The pain persisted and the pain got worse the next day. By Wednesday I knew I needed to head to the E.R. Within a couple of hours I was diagnosed with a ruptured appendix and needed an emergency surgery. Out went with the appendix and in went the tubes, pain meds, and a constant drip of antibiotics. It all went pretty quick. Since it did rupture I was ordered to stay at the hospital for an additional 2 days. Finally, the doctor released me on Friday evening.

Onto Week six! I have some packages to open and get some bedding washed, sewn, and art hung this week. Most importantly install the custom bed and the nightstands.  Oh my goodness, I cant wait!

To read the full Week 5 blog, click here

Week 6 - The Final Deadline

Thank GOODNESS the final deadline is Sunday night. Week 6 of the one room challenge definitely presented its challenges. While resting after my appendicitis surgery, I was still in communication with my upholsterer. We planned to install the bed on Tuesday the day before the initial deadline. I was ready and excited, I also had coordinated with my photographer to take photos the next day. I would have received the photos that day and posted my blog on the same day in time to hit the initial deadline. BUT my upholster used the WRONG fabric for the bed! He used the fabric that was planned for a decorative pillow. You should have seen my face!  I was speechless. I had no words but, “what happened?!” After getting upset, I really didn’t care how this mistake happened. I texted my upholsterer and simply said the bed is in the wrong fabric.  The bed along with the RIGHT fabric is coming back to you. Fix it!

The next day it was fixed and the bed was installed. Like I said at the beginning of the challenge there will ALWAYS be something that goes wrong with a project. When there is a problem, there is a solution. This profession has taught me that when problems occur to roll with it and get it resolved. There is a lot that happens behind the scenes that my clients NEVER hear about. They just get to enjoy the fun process and the final outcome.

After 6 weeks of running around pulling samples, making quick decisions and coordinating with all of my trades. I can finally CHILL in my newly re-done healthy bedroom.

Now for the BIG REVEAL!

 The Final! Healthy Master Bedroom

The Final! Healthy Master Bedroom

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is the official media sponsor of the One Room Challenge

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How Do I Find An Eco-Friendly Fabric?

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When shopping for new furniture or looking for a fabric to recover a cherished old sofa, the term “eco-friendly fabrics” is likely to be seen everywhere. This is a direct result of consumers becoming more aware of the harmful effects highly-fluorinated chemicals have on our health and environment. Environmental groups, universities, and government agencies are releasing information to the public about the large amounts of earth’s resources we are using to make natural fibers into upholstery fabrics that will end up in our homes. Consumers demand fabrics that are safe for their families to live on and safe for the environment, thus what should consumers look for and what should consumers stay away from when searching for an eco-friendly fabric?

What should I look for when searching an eco-friendly fabric?

1. Did you know many eco-friendly fabrics such as linen, wool, cotton, and polypropylene are listed and ranked under the Higg Index? The Higg Index was started by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and allows brands, factories, and chemical manufacturers to score the sustainability of their products. So, if you want to know if cotton is more or less environmentally friendly than wool, the Higg Index is a great resource. Below, you can see the Higg Index and how it reports the environmental impact of materials used in home furnishings, apparel and footwear. The more sustainable the material, the higher the score.

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2. If your fabric sample is stamped as Greenguard certified then that fabric has passed the world’s most extensive standard for low emissions of volatile organic compounds, which are known as VOC’s into indoor air. This means the fabrics are acceptable to be used in environments such as schools and healthcare buildings. 

3. A fabric is eco-friendly if it has passed the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). The GOTS strives to produce only organic textiles from the harvesting of the raw materials and to use only socially and environmentally responsible manufacturing practices. To become GOTS certified, a textile product must have a minimum of 70% organic fibers.


What should I stay away from when searching an eco-friendly fabric?

 An example of water beading on a fabric containing PFC chemicals

An example of water beading on a fabric containing PFC chemicals

1. Highly-Fluorinated Chemicals, often known as PFCs, have stain and water-repellent properties. These chemicals are used in industrial applications and in consumer products because they achieve cleanability. You will see PFCs in furniture, carpets, clothing, and cosmetics. PFCs are harmful for the environment because they do not breakdown. Worldwide, PFCs are discovered in many environments, even in whales! As you and your family sit on your sofa, you are exposed to these chemicals that can cause major health concerns. A few possible harmful side effects are high levels of cholesterol, thyroid problems and testicular cancer. 

2. Antimicrobials can be found in furniture textiles and can possibly cause developmental, hormonal, and reproductive problems. These chemicals are added to products to destroy or inhibit the growth of microbes. In the home, products containing antimicrobials are typically washed down the drain, then flow into the water stream. Antimicrobials make their way into aquatic environments, which can be toxic to aquatic organisms. 

3. Flame retardants are added to fabrics in order to meet flammability standards, yet these chemicals can be harmful to our health and environment. These chemicals are meant to prevent fires, but some can cause lowered IQ and hyperactivity in children. Flame retardants can upset hormone disruption in adults. The environment is can be damaged when flame retardants are released from products and seep into the soil, rivers, and oceans. These chemicals are seen as pollutants as they can build up in the marine food chain and become a harmful health concern for the marine life.  

4. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are chemicals that come from liquids and solids, which vaporize at room temperature and then enter the atmosphere. This process is commonly known as off-gassing. VOCs can cause indoor air quality issues such as eye, nose, and throat irritation. To name a few, VOCs are found in fabric, upholstery, carpets, and furniture.