Phyllis McGuire | View from the Village: Choosing fabric of life: Dizzying slipcover decision


WILLIAMSTOWN >> "It's good to be home, " I sighed as I collapsed on the sofa upon returning from a spontaneous shopping trip with my daughter Jennifer a week ago.

Whenever Jennifer drives from her home on Long Island to visit me, she is determined to do something good to benefit me.

I greatly appreciate everything Jennifer does for me, but I want her to only relax and have fun when we are together.

So, when she arrived at my home to begin a two-day visit in July, I immediately told her that everything in my home was in good repair, and I did not need or want anything.

Jennifer reminded me of our phone conversation a couple of weeks earlier, "You told me you were thinking of having a new slipcover made for the sofa."

"Uh-huh, but that can wait," I said and then asked "Where would you like to eat after we see "The Rose Tattoo?"

My attempt to change the subject failed. "Why wait? I'm here now," Jennifer said.

The next morning, we started out on what my dynamic daughter deemed to be her mission this visit: Help Momma find fabric for slipcovers.

I was a fish out of water in the fabric store. I am still scarred by what my sewing teacher in junior high school said to me in front of the whole class: "You are not making a horse blanket; do that hem over again."

When Jennifer was driving me to the fabric store, I had at my feet a tote bag containing swatches of the furnishings in my living room: floral drapes, armchair slipcovers with a mauve and light blue swirl design on a sapphire blue background and a mauve rug. After I looked at dozens of fabric samples, placing them next to the swatches, I felt that my eyes would fall out from being overworked.

I knew what I wanted, but no textile designer had created it.

Disappointed, we left the store.

Jennifer came up with an idea: "For what it would cost for fabric and to hire a seamstress, you could buy a new sofa."

"But I like my sofa, it's comfortable and opens into a bed." I pointed out. Finally I yielded to Jennifer's prodding, and plodded into a furniture store.

I liked the style of one of the sofas on display, but the upholstery fabric was not to my taste. "You can choose a different fabric," the salesman said. I was back to Square 1, looking at fabrics.

Since none of the upholstery fabrics would have blended with the colors in my living room, we resumed shopping for slipcover fabric.

At the second fabric store we visited, the owner and a saleslady, as well as Jennifer, showered me with samples — geometric, jacquard, paisley, tapestry, stripe, floral and solid color. "That's it. I can't think anymore," I said wearily.

"It can be overwhelming," the saleslady said as she guided me to a chair. Physically and mentally exhausted, I wondered if I would live to ever see my sofa in new slipcovers.

"You just don't like making decisions," Jennifer said. It is true that making decisions is not one of my strong points. Who am I fooling? I hate making decisions.

After a short rest, I mustered my strength and renewed my search.

White won't clash with anything, I said to myself, when I saw a white-on-white fabric on a shelf. It was not an antiseptic or milk or eggshell white, but more of a vanilla ice cream white.

"Mission accomplished," Jennifer sang out as she carried a roll of white fabric to the car.

Hopefully, by the time the seamstress has fashioned a slipcover from the fabric, I will have recovered from the shock of discovering how much it cost to complete the project I unintentionally initiated by saying, "I'm thinking of having a new slipcover made for the sofa."

Phyllis McGuire writes from her home in Williamstown. The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of The Berkshire Eagle.


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