Decorator Fabric Tips and Tricks

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Duration:   17:54   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.

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3 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?

    • Customer Service


      86″ is the amount of fabric needed for each curtain panel. Since the repeat is 25″, you will need at least four pattern repeats or 100″ per panel. Three pattern repeats would only be 75″ and would not be long enough. The 14″ she is referring to is the amount that will be cut off of each 100″ length before sewing, not the amount being added.

      Hope this makes more sense!



  2. Jeannine

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

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