ZJ Humbach

Decorator Fabric Tips and Tricks

ZJ Humbach
Sign in
Duration:   17  mins

Decorator fabrics come in a variety of colors, prints and weights and are perfect for home decor projects. ZJ Humbach shares some of her tips for working with decorator fabrics including explaining fabric markings, showing how to measure the proper width, how to align pattern repeats and more.


Most fabrics, whether they are decorator fabrics found on a roll or fabric on a standard bolt, will have some kind of marking on the selvage. ZJ explains which marks are generally for a manufacturer, like a colored circle with a number, and which marks can be beneficial to a consumer. One of the first marks ZJ looks for on a fabric selvage is a mark telling whether the fabric is a direction print or not. Some fabrics will be easy to tell whether they are directional, for example if a fabric has something like a flower or a tree it’s easy to see if it’s right side up. However, a fabric like the one ZJ is working with in the video is more complicated to tell whether it is a directional print.

Pattern repeat markings are another marking found on the selvage of decorator fabrics. This marking tells you the distance between pattern repeats in the fabric. This is important to know if you are making a larger project, like ZJ’s example of curtains. Because curtain panels are fairly long, not having a pattern repeat lined up can be more apparent than on a smaller home decor project.

Decorator fabric is often used for home decor projects like curtains, whether they are large curtain panels, lined curtains or even a valence. ZJ explains not only how to measure for curtains but how to ensure you have enough fabric to account for pattern repeats.
When making large curtain panels you may need almost an extra yard of fabric in order to make sure everything is properly lined up.

Share tips, start a discussion or ask one of our experts or other students a question.

Make a comment:
characters remaining

2 Responses to “Decorator Fabric Tips and Tricks”

  1. Karen

    How did you go from 86 inches to 100, with a 25 inch repeat why are you only adding 14 inches and not the 25?

  2. Jeannine

    Very helpful tips for matching and working with repeats. I've sewn home dec for years, but never knew about the + mark!

Get exclusive premium content! Sign up for a membership now!