Waverly – it’s 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? 

Below is not only a bit about this interesting company,  you’ll also get a step-by-step fabric care tutorial that shows how flexible the Waverly outdoor fabrics really are.

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 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 outdoor 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.

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

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)

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