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Welcome to Waverly Week: Cool Projects, A Designer Tour, Plus Fabric Care Facts

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We're excited to announce a brand new sponsor at Sew4Home: Waverly. Yes, the Waverly. The lifestyle brand you recognize from your favorite home store; encompassing window treatments, wall coverings, bedding, bath and table linens, storage accessories, and more. But did you also know you can buy gorgeous Waverly fabric by the yard to create your own home décor? To celebrate their unique heritage among American décor fabric companies, and to show off some of their latest outdoor fabrics, we're declaring May 12th - 19th Waverly Week on Sew4Home.

Today you'll learn a bit about the company and get a step-by-step fabric care tutorial that shows how flexible the Waverly Sun N Shade fabrics really are. Tomorrow, we'll feature a set of easy outdoor chair cushions. Wednesday has a weighted outdoor tablecloth project to match Tuesday's chair cushions. Thursday brings you a behind-the-scenes look at how Waverly creates all those stunning fabric designs. And Friday, learn to make a beautiful shower curtain. Be sure to check back all week.

The Waverly story

The Waverly fabric line was created in 1923 by F. Schumacher & Co. If you're familiar with professional interior design resources, you know Schumacher has been making some of America's finest high-end fabrics since the late 1800s. Their goal with Waverly was to create a line of fine home décor fabrics that would be affordable for customers seeking a sense of style but on a stricter budget. 

The first collection consisted of eight patterns by American designer Cy Clark and its instant popularity led to a rapid expansion of the line. The company registered the Waverly name in 1926 and hired the famous J. Walter Thompson advertising firm to develop its first ad campaign.

As Waverly continued to grow, the company added coordinated wall papers and upholstery fabrics. The "Waverly Signature Look," which included their famous Glosheen chintzes, florals, stripes, and plaids, became synonymous with American décor. Their designs enjoy a unique legacy, representing quality and timelessness.

Today Waverly is an all encompassing lifestyle brand and one of the most recognized names in home furnishings. Their fabrics are available in thousands of designs and colors. To help you with this dizzying array of choices, they've grouped them by design motifs and color family, so even when you choose something that's a bold contrast, you won't end up clashing. 

In addition to home décor, Waverly makes a wide range of accessories with the same designs. They've brought their signature look into countless classic styles in home furnishing products; including fabrics, wall coverings, bedding, window treatments, bath and table linens, decorative accessories and other key products. So your coffee mug, iPad® case, even your luggage and gardening shears, can all be part of your Waverly World.

Waverly's family of brands now includes Waverly Home Classics, Waverly Baby, and Waverly Sun N Shade. You can find them at a variety of retailers, including your favorite fabric stores. Their key partners include PK Lifestyles, Ellery Homestyles, and Lowes. 

Our focus this week: Waverly Sun N Shade Outdoor Fabric

Outdoor décor is a favorite subject here at Sew4Home. A few pillows and lounge cushions can do wonders to beautify your outdoor living space. But you'd be crazy to take the good sofa pillows outside. They'd last about ten minutes before somebody spilled salsa on them, and they'd likely begin to sun fade in just a few days.

Waverly has developed a line of outdoor fabrics that look stylish and can stand up to the rigors of outdoor living.

The Sun N Shade fabric collection has been designed to be antimicrobial, mold/mildew resistant, and resistant to sunlight fading for up to 1,500 hours. And best of all, it resists soiling. Made from a breathable, spun polyester, the fabric is created with a diamond weave that incorporates its protective properties right into the structure of the cloth. So even if things like wine or BBQ sauce get rubbed in past the surface, they don't actually penetrate the fibers. As a result, Sun N Shade fabrics are very easy to spot clean. You can even launder them, if you carefully read the section below.

How to clean and care for Waverly Sun N Shade fabric

A "dry clean only" notice makes many sewing enthusiasts reluctant to work with outdoor fabrics, like Sun N Shade, because they're afraid it will be too expensive to care for. However, the recommendation to "dry clean only" is often listed because consumers don't/won't follow instructions carefully. Manufacturers fall back on this professional cleaning warning in an attempt to avoid problems attributed to improper care. Here's the inside scoop: although dry cleaning is certainly an option, it isn't your only choice. These fabrics can be spot cleaned and even laundered if you closely follow a few simple rules. 

First of all, read the care instructions that come with the fabric. Waverly recommends you use only mild soap and water to clean off your Sun N Shade fabric. This will safely remove soils and stains without damaging the protective barrier. Then simply air dry. Otherwise you can have your items dry cleaned.

We thought we should try this for ourselves. So we tested a swatch of our Sun N Shade by putting yellow mustard on the fabric. 

We smeared it in (just like cousin Donny does every year at the family barbecue), then let it set for a while. 

We then hand washed the stained portions of the fabric with mild soap and lukewarm water. After air drying, the fabric looked like this. 

We couldn't see any trace of the stains. Amazing.

Adding even more protection

Here's a little secret for boosting the fabric's stain-resistance. Get a can of spray-on fabric protector at the fabric store. You can also find it at a marine supply shop where it's sold for protecting canvas sails. At the beginning of the outdoor season, spray a light coating on your outdoor fabric. It won't change the color and you'll get even more resilient protection. Liquids simply bead up and dirt can be brushed off.

What if I'm dead set on machine washing my Sun N Shade?

We do not recommend this unless you will be using your Sun N Shade fabric indoors, such as in our upcoming shower curtain project. 

We asked Waverly, "What if we really need to launder an indoor item made with Sun N Shade?"

They said we could machine wash the fabric if we were very careful and took the following steps:

  1. Set your washing machine to a Hand Wash, Delicate, or Gentle setting.
  2. Select Cold Wash/Cold Rinse.
  3. Use a very mild detergent, like one designed to keep dark colors from running. (For our test we used Woolite®.)
  4. After the fabric is washed, hang it out to drip dry. Do not dry in the dryer!
  5. If you need to iron, use a cool setting with steam. Iron from the back side, and use a pressing cloth.

We tested this method and the Sun N Shade fabric came through looking just like it did before washing. The only way you can really tell the difference is the faint fold line visible in the before photo. 

Before Laundering (left), After Laundering (right)

We hope this week inspires you to enhance your outdoor season with the distinctive look of Waverly. And be sure to check back for new projects and more from the world of Waverly. 

We also invite you to follow Waverly (and all their beautiful photos) on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.



Comments (12)

Sally McLaughlin said:
Sally McLaughlin's picture

I love Waverly fabric - and especially for this reason:  Back in the late 50's and into the 60's and early 70's, my father worked as a print setter for a company called Arnold Print Works.  My father was one of many workers who would literally set the colors in fabrics and make the final product.  When you see the numbers in circles on the side of the fabrics, 1, 2, 3, etc. those are the key they used as to which color was set next in the fabric.  You'll notice they run light to dark.  Well, that's what my father did.  He passed away in 86 but I remember him bringing home some fabric remenants (flaws) ever so often and my mother and grandmother would make our dresses for school or maybe some curtains for the windows.  Whenever I see the famous flower (swirls) in Waverly fabric, it always reminds me of my father.  Hope you don't mind I shared this little childhood memory with you.

Pati Akers said:
Pati Akers's picture

Hi Sally: THANK YOU for sharing your wonderful story about your father and the history he had with Waverly Fabrics. I Love the fact that your Dad was a part of "The Early Years" story of such a prestigious product. I personally have always viewed Waverly as a Tier One Fabric and my feelings are it's the people like your father, with his abilities, as well as his co-workers that made this produced such a  high end product. The designers are amazing and talented but it takes a team to produce a quality product,  Thanks again for sharing your story :) 

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Sally McLaughlin - Thanks for sharing this. It's wonderful to hear behind-the-scenes stories.

Sally McLaughlin said:
Sally McLaughlin's picture

I'm sorry, I meant to add to my story - the shop my father worked in made a lot of "Waverly" fabric.  

Claudiahelga said:
Claudiahelga's picture

Looking forward to the outdoor cushions tutorial. Do you requires heavier needle to different foot when sewing outdoor fabric?

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Claudiahelga - You will likely not need anything special. As always, remember to change your needle after about every 10 hours or sewing - or better still, at the start of each new project. Unless your layers become very thick, a new Universal needle should be fine. Regarding presser feet, the fabric itself doesn't require a special foot, but specific techniques with it may require specialty feet just like other fabrics, such as a Zipper foot for piping. 

Sewandsewon said:
Sewandsewon's picture

Waverly, Sew4Home is a great combo. I am eager for the tablecloth and seat cushions.  

cathymichels said:
cathymichels's picture

How awesome that Waverly is a new sponsor - I love their fabrics! 

JPS said:
JPS's picture

I love this site and can't wait to get instructions on the tablecloth and seat cushions. Waverly fabrics are beautiful.

Shirlsew said:
Shirlsew's picture

Can't wait to learn how to make cushions for my patio chairsď. What a difference my outdoor living space will look!