Vintage African Indigo Mud Cloth Fabric Chairs
photo juxtaposition home
Vintage African Indigo, called mud cloth by many, was used to reupholster the large armchairs in the photo above. The pair are a great example of repurposing vintage fabric. I'm often asked if the vintage African indigo textiles are strong enough to use as upholstery. The answer is usually but not always yes. Repurposing any textile depends on the condition of the vintage cloth.  Some are full of holes and very thread-bare while others remain sturdy and tough through the decades. The pieces used for the chairs above are likely backed with muslin, or stabilized with fusible interlining so the fabric will last for years.

Indigo Mud Cloth/Vintage
photo Morrissey Fabric
The stack of vintage African Indigo above was in my repair bin for months. I finally pulled them out and set to mending the vintage African fabric so it would be ready for repurposing. Cleaning and deodorizing vintage fabric is the first step to giving it a new design purpose. But even with cleaning, sometimes it can take days or months for the fibers to release hidden odor it has picked up. I find that hanging vintage African indigo out in the sun is the best deodorizer. Of course two cups of white vinegar in the wash load works wonders too.
Global Textiles
Photo Thread Tooth
The square poufs above by Thread Tooth are made from several different vintage global textiles. Vintage Chinese Batik, African Baule cloth, and faded African Indigo are all one of a kind textiles that have been repurposed into interior accessories. The colorful embroidered Indigo from Mali, Africa adds to an interior design vision when hung on the wall. No formal frame required.

Interior Design Decor
Photo Yellow Prairie Interiors
The retail space above showcases a more subtle use of global textiles. Yellow Prairie Interiors skillfully displayed black and white African mud cloth accessories among neutral furnishings. The green and white foliage print gives the palette a nice bit of accent color.

Global Textiles in Living Room
The sophisticated living room above is given character through the addition of globally sourced textiles. This is a colorful example of decorating with geometrically patterned fabrics from around the world.  The rug adds playful hues that are picked up in the other textiles in the room.  The walls and sofa remained neutral keeping the space from becoming overwhelming.
Global Textiles and Rug
photo: The beach lodge
The global textiles and striking rug at The Beach lodge are welcoming and filled with character. The black and white African mud cloth on the bed balances the room nicely against the actively patterned pillows and kilim rug. This is an example of using global textiles with a more refined and limited color palette.

Please watch for part two of Global Fabric Design Inspiration.