Behind the Seams: Recapping Our Textiles 101 Event at Nell Hill’s

As someone who is deeply passionate about textiles, I’m always thrilled to share my knowledge and love for fabrics with our community. Last Thursday, we hosted a fabulous after-hours Textiles 101 event at the shop, designed for anyone eager to learn more about the fascinating world of fabrics. Whether looking to create a custom piece of furniture, interested in design, or wanting to understand how to care for existing textiles, this event was perfect for our guests! Attendees savored beautifully decorated sugar cookies from our friends at Cookie Bliss KC and moved through a series of five informative stations, each hosted by our knowledgeable staff, ensuring a delightful and educational evening for all. I had so much fun, I wanted to share a little bit of the evening with you!  

Types of Fabrics and When to Use Them  

At our Textiles 101 event last week, our Types of Fabrics and When to Use Them station was a hub of knowledge and inspiration for all fabric enthusiasts. Held in one of our fabric department rooms, this station featured insightful presentations by Caitlin and Brooke, who guided guests through the intricate world of fabrics, emphasizing the differences between natural and synthetic fibers and their best applications. 

Attendees learned about the versatility of different fabrics, such as how polyester is ideal for upholstery due to its durability, while linen works wonderfully for pillows thanks to its soft, breathable nature. They also explored a variety of fabric types including embroidery, velvet, and more, each with unique characteristics and best uses. 

The station also delved into important fabric terminology. Caitlin and Brooke explained that “double rubs” measure a fabric’s resistance to wear, “hand” refers to the feel of a fabric against the skin, and “repeat” indicates the length of a pattern before it repeats. Other key terms included “upholstery weight,” which describes the heaviness of a fabric, and “railroad,” which means the pattern runs across the roll from selvage to selvage. They also discussed “pilling,” the formation of lint balls on fabric surfaces, and different “cleaning codes” that indicate the recommended cleaning method for maintaining fabric integrity. 

This station provided invaluable knowledge for anyone looking to make informed decisions about fabric selection and care, ensuring that their textile choices not only look beautiful but also stand the test of time. 

If you’re searching for the perfect fabric for your upcoming project, we’re here to help! Drop by the shop to browse fabrics and ask questions. If you’re not local, that’s a-ok – click here to explore virtual shopping options!  

Upholstery Fabrics and Cushion Care 

Guests then made their way to the wallpaper room for the second presentation of the evening. The Upholstery Fabrics and Cushion Care was a must-visit for anyone looking to deepen their understanding of fabric and cushion durability and maintenance. This station featured expert insights from our workroom manager, Lil, and designers Liz and Reese, who provided attendees with a comprehensive look at what makes upholstery fabrics stand out in terms of their performance and care. 

Guests learned that a fabric’s performance is determined by its ability to withstand everyday wear and tear, making it an ideal choice for high-traffic areas and busy households. The team explained that upholstery weight fabrics are specifically designed for durability and can support frequent use without compromising their look or feel. 

The station also covered the construction of cushions, featuring examples of CR Laine cushions to illustrate the various layers and materials that contribute to their comfort and longevity and cushions created in our very own workroom.  

In addition to performance fabrics, the speakers emphasized the importance of adhering to cleaning codes for non-performance fabrics to ensure their longevity and appearance. They offered practical cleaning tips, stressing the necessity of following the specific cleaning code—whether it be water-based solutions, solvents, or vacuum only—to maintain fabric integrity. 

To round out the session, Lil walked through an example of cushion fabric cutting to illustrate how much yardage goes into the making of a cushion. Showing the top, bottom, boxing, and bias-cut cording layout was a great visual to see how pieces of fabric come together for custom cushions. 

Pattern Mixing and Bedding 

Station three, Pattern Mixing and Bedding, was hosted in our inviting Bedding Department. Led by Designers Dianne and Jenna, this station offered attendees a wealth of information on creating a beautifully styled bed that perfectly balances comfort and aesthetics. 

The ladies began by showing guests step-by-step how to achieve that perfectly layered look. They illustrated how to mix patterns of different scales and colors, explaining that the key to successful pattern mixing lies in combining large, medium, and small prints in a harmonious way. The dynamic duo also emphasized that when done correctly, there’s no such thing as too much pattern—each layer adds depth and interest to the overall design. 

The speakers discussed the ideal weight of fabrics for bedding, pointing out that the right fabric weight can enhance both the visual appeal and comfort of your bed. They shared their expertise on selecting the perfect fabrics for different seasons, offering practical tips on how to refresh your bedroom decor throughout the year. 

Dianne and Jenna also demonstrated the impact of varying the number of pillows, from minimalist arrangements to more lavish setups, to suit different styles and preferences. They provided decorating tips that emphasized personal style and practicality, ensuring guests left with ideas they could easily implement at home. 

This station was a treasure trove of inspiration for anyone looking to elevate their bedroom. With the team’s expert guidance, attendees learned that mixing patterns and choosing the right fabrics can transform any bed into a serene and stylish retreat. 

Designing with Textiles 

Heading to the Design Studio, attendees found pretty textiles galore laid out on the design tables for the Designing with Textiles station. This station was presented by our talented designers Taylor, Anne, and Sabrina, who expertly guided guests through the art of combining fabrics to create a cohesive and finished room. 

Taylor, Anne, and Sabrina kicked off their presentation by explaining the fundamentals of selecting and layering textiles. They demonstrated how to start with a fabric selection for key furniture pieces, then build upon that foundation with complementary pillows, drapes, rugs, and accessories. This step-by-step approach ensures that each element works together to create a harmonious and inviting space. 

Guests were treated to live examples of fabric combinations being pulled together in real-time. The designers showcased various drapery examples, highlighting how different fabrics and styles can dramatically change the look and feel of a room. They also displayed a variety of pillow arrangements, demonstrating how texture, color, and pattern can be layered to add depth and personality to any space. 

Throughout the presentation, Taylor, Anne, and Sabrina shared practical tips and insights from their extensive experience. They emphasized the importance of considering the room’s overall color palette, the scale of patterns, and the balance of textures to achieve a well-rounded design. 

To make the session even more interactive, the designers answered frequently asked questions they receive while designing spaces for clients. This included advice on how to choose the right fabric for different purposes, such as high-traffic areas versus decorative accents, and tips for maintaining and caring for various textiles. 

This station offered a wealth of inspiration and practical knowledge, leaving attendees well-equipped to tackle their own home decor projects, either on their own or with the help of a designer. Taylor, Anne, and Sabrina’s expertise and passion for design shone through, making it clear why Nell Hill’s is the go-to destination for all your textile and design needs (forgive my not-so-humble brag!). 

Fabric Trends 

Our final station was one of the most anticipated of the evening: Fabric Trends. Held in the charming Ward Parkway Brick Room, this station where Zoe, our Fabric Manager, and I shared insider knowledge and insights gathered from our latest trip to fabric market. 

We began our presentation with photos and videos straight from the textiles market floor. This visual feast continued with swatch examples that guests could touch and feel, providing a tangible connection to the latest trends. The market experience was brought to life, allowing attendees to see firsthand the vibrant patterns, rich textures, and innovative designs that are shaping the future of interior fabrics. 

In our discussion with the audience, we demonstrated how these trends are applied in-store while remaining true to Nell Hill’s timeless aesthetic and explained the delicate balance of integrating new and trendy with classic, beloved styles that define our brand. This approach ensures that our offerings remain fresh and exciting, yet always rooted in the quality and elegance our customers expect. 

Another fascinating aspect of the presentation was the deep dive into the buying process. We shared that to stay ahead of the curve, we make purchasing decisions a year in advance. This forward-thinking strategy ensures that Nell Hill’s always has the latest and most relevant fabrics available for our discerning clientele. 

As a special treat, we offered a sneak peek at the one of our upcoming fall fabric collections. Guests were thrilled to get an early look at the rich colors, cozy textures, and autumn-inspired patterns that will soon be available in-store. This preview highlighted the thoughtful curation process that goes into every selection, emphasizing how each piece is chosen to enhance and elevate home decor. 

Our Textiles 101 event was a success, packed with insights and hands-on learning that hopefully left our guests feeling inspired and informed. I hope you enjoyed this recap and are eager to join us for our next event. If you aren’t already, follow us on Instagram and Facebook to stay up to date on events and happenings at the shop.  

And remember, there’s no better time to apply your newfound knowledge than during our upcoming 20% Off Upholstery Sale starting June 15! Whether you’re looking to refresh your space or embark on a complete redesign, our team is here to help you every step of the way. Until next time – happy decorating!