A soft furnishings makeover with The Yorkshire Fabric Shop

[AD] Like many of us at the moment, I’ve had a little more time to do some projects around the home in the last few months. Things that I’ve barely noticed for years (faded cushions, outdated curtains) have suddenly become a matter of urgent importance. That’s why I was pleased when The Yorkshire Fabric Shop got in touch to ask if I’d like to try some of their signature Freedom range material, a heavy-duty velvet-style finish that’s suitable for a range of uses including upholstery.

I quickly identified a suitable candidate – the blind in the cloakroom, which I first made when we moved into the house 12 years ago. I liked it at the time, but it had started to look old-fashioned. Fortunately re-making a blind is simpler than making one from scratch, so it wasn’t a huge project.

The original blind

Original fabric

I started by taking the old blind down and stripping it. I unpicked the main fabric from the lining, removed the blind rods, cords and Velcro and washed and ironed the lining, which I’d be re-using. (TIP – when you remove the acorn or blind pull from the cords, put it somewhere safe! I’ve spent so long over the years searching for the darned things I ended up buying an emergency pack of five. If we move house I’ll probably find the place is littered with them).

Stag’s head design from the Freedom range by The Yorkshire Fabric Shop

From the dozens and dozens of patterns available in the Freedom range, I chose the Stag’s Head pattern in simple black and grey. I thought it would be appropriate for a room in which all my outdoor coats live, and I liked the simplicity of the pattern. The material is very good quality, heavy with the feel almost of suede. Typically, I’d already discarded the original fabric of the blind when it occurred to me that I needed it to use as a pattern, so I had to re-measure the window! The new fabric cut very well, and has a sort of rubberised-style backing so that it doesn’t fray much.

Unpicking the original blind

What I was left with after unpicking

I laid the new fabric over the old lining, pinned it into place and hand sewed round both sides and the bottom. Then, I machined across the rod pockets to attach the lining to the new fabric, and then machined the Velcro into place. Finally, I replaced the rods in the pockets and re-sewed them. I retied the cords, making sure I put them back in the correct order (long cord furthest from the blind pull), and re-hung it. The fabric was ideal for this project, being heavy enough to fold nicely but not too heavy to go through a sewing machine, and I was pleased with the finished result. The whole thing took me about two hours, of which an hour was spent unpicking the original blind to reuse the components.

The finished new blind

As The Yorkshire Fabric Shop had sent me more material than I needed, I used the extra to recover my piano stool (some day I’ll tell you the story of my piano, which involves my other half, a glass of wine, an online auction site and a very bored evening…)

The Yorkshire Fabric Shop is open online and delivering a full range of fabric. The Freedom printed velvet upholstery fabric in Stag’s Head costs £17.99 a metre.

(Disclosure: Fabric kindly supplied by The Yorkshire Fabric Shop, but all views and opinions our own). 

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