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January 23, 2012

Testing Out Retro and Atomic Print Barkcloth from Melinamade

By RetroRuth

I don’t know about you guys, but ever since I glimpsed the barkcloth prints over at Melinamade, I have just been dying to get my hands on them.

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I mean, come on! Look at some of those prints! Abstract shapes, starbursts, slubs, leaves, amoebas, boomerangs, atoms – they are all here. And the colors on the website looked great. So, when my fabric sample pack arrived, I was pretty excited.

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Wow, huh?? Gorgeous. There was only one really small drawback to the awesome prints and colors: the fabric weight.

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This is an example of a piece of gray fabric with a teal and pink print. The front is gray, while the back is white. This is because Melinamade fabrics aren’t dyed, they are painted. Which is fine, except that that means there is an extra layer of paint that is used for fabric with background colors that makes those fabrics stiffer than the fabrics with white backgrounds. Which is kind of a drawback.

Why is this a drawback? Well, if you are using the fabric for upholstery, I don’t think the extra weight matters one bit. However, for draperies, this might put some people off. The solid-backed fabrics may not make the best curtains in terms of the drape. They might be too stiff. But – there are two things that you need to keep in mind:

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1. There are some really awesome fabrics patterns that have white backgrounds.  If you think the colored background fabrics might be a bit on the heavy side, the white backgrounds give enough variety that you still have some great choices.

2. You can wash and dry these fabrics in your machine!  That’s right, the fabrics are machine wash cold, gentle and tumble dry on low. I did a test run and washed and dried my barkcloth samples to check on the texture after a good wash. I am happy to report that all of the samples came out looking great, and the fabrics with the colored backgrounds came out significantly more pliable after washing than before.

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So, what does this mean?  Well, if you are serious about these barkcloths, I would recommend ordering their swatch set ($17) and testing out the fabrics for yourself. I think you can get a few samples for free if you contact the company, but I really was glad I ended up getting the whole set . The colors across the palette really varied between patterns, which means that the pink in one sample didn’t match the one in another sample. I was glad I got to see every one in person to make the best choice for my color scheme.  Also, for those of you interested in drapery fabric, I would recommend washing and drying your samples to see if the fabrics with the colored backgrounds would be pliable enough for the window treatment you planned.

Overall, though, we are pretty excited. In the last picture, you can see the two choices we made for our house.  The Atomicburst White is going to go in our bedroom (left) as curtains, and the Carefree Original (right) is exactly what we want for our basement valances and pillows. I am pretty excited!

*Note – Melinamade DID NOT sponsor this post nor have I received any compensation for this review.  I bought the swatches myself for testing, so this is an independent review!

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13 Responses to Testing Out Retro and Atomic Print Barkcloth from Melinamade

  1. Sara In AZ Reply

    January 23, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    OMG!!! They are ALL so cool I don’t know how you picked just two! I love your choices though, esp. the starburst one! Thanks for the lo-down on the fabric, I have always been curious about the quality. Now I know it is a must have when we find our dream house!

    • RetroRuth Reply

      January 23, 2012 at 5:36 pm

      It was so hard to just pick two! Glad you like the choices and the info on the fabric texture. I knew you love these!

  2. Eartha Kitsch Reply

    January 23, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    That’s a shame about the colors. Sooooooo pretty! I love the ones you chose. Please let us know how the drapes turn out.

    • RetroRuth Reply

      January 23, 2012 at 5:38 pm

      I know, Eartha, but I think after you wash them they aren’t really that bad. I think they are too heavy for me, but I am not very good at sewing, so maybe someone with more experience could get them to work! 🙂 I will totally keep you updated on the drapes!

  3. Charlotte Reply

    January 23, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    In the words of Deee-Lite, that is deee-gorgeous!

    • RetroRuth Reply

      January 23, 2012 at 5:38 pm

      Aren’t they?? I love them!

  4. Jitterbug65 Reply

    January 23, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    Sooo Fabulous! And I need to cover the cushions on my sofa, pity I can’t anything so nice from the UK. Yet.

    • RetroRuth Reply

      January 23, 2012 at 5:39 pm

      Oh man! Well, I will keep an eye out for something for you, Jitterbug65!

  5. sablemable Reply

    January 23, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    OMG! Luv them! Ruth, are you going to sew the drapes yourself?

    • RetroRuth Reply

      January 23, 2012 at 5:40 pm

      Yep, Sable! I am going to try to do it myself. The good news is if I totally screw it up, then I can take them to my mom and she will help me. 🙂

  6. Betty Crafter Reply

    January 24, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    That’s really good to know about the fabric texture and weight! I’ve been eyeballing some barkcloth over at Full Swing Textiles – I wonder if it’s made the same way?

  7. Jack Reisbeck Reply

    September 23, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    Are these still available? I can not find them anywhere.

  8. Valerie Morsette, Alberta, Canada Reply

    February 8, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    I used Barkcloth I purchased in a Calgary vintage store for 300.00. Beautiful shape, and lots of it.
    for a bedspread, pillows, and wall to wall drapes. I took out the pleats, and put the drapes on hooks, on a bar. Works great.

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