From Fabric to Custom

In this region of the world, transforming fabric into a custom piece is not too difficult to do, and can be a reasonably priced option for people living here. If you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for in the market, it’s worth considering having a piece made or a worn out piece reupholstered. This is an especially great way for people, who tend to get bored with their style choices very quickly, to freshen up or accessorize their space without having to spend money on new furniture.

When I first moved in, I woke up to horrific mint green rental curtains in every room in the house, every morning, for 5 months… I couldn’t stand looking at them, but didn’t want to rush into making a decision on a new pair of curtains. You can see a little bit of them in this picture from my “Moving to Dhahran: BEFORE & AFTER of my Living Room” post.

Mint Green Curtains

After I picked a blue-gray color scheme for my house, I was finally ready to look! I liked a few sets from Pottery Barn, but I really couldn’t get myself to spend so much money on plain curtains. I also wanted a pattern since my couches are neutral, solid colors. A pattern would add a little bit of texture and could help make the room look slightly formal since it’s a living and dining room. I definitely did not want uncomfortably formal though. You know, the kind of room where you’re too scared to touch anything? I wanted something as close to “comfortable chic,” with a pattern!

Unfortunately, I found nothing ready-made that suited my style, so I decided to be a little bit more adventurous, and try my luck at something custom made.

The Right Upholsterer

First off, I needed to find someone who could come in and actually translate my vision into an actual piece. I asked a couple of friends for names of local upholsterers and was THRILLED to find Ali Muhlhal from Al Amodi. He’s just great. He’s very professional, easy to work with, and is able to get things done in a fairly short time period. He came by my house, and after discussing the style I was interested in, gave me a good sense of how much fabric I needed and helped me think through what I really wanted.

The Right Fabric

When it was time to pick out the fabric, I again, wanted to be a little bit more adventurous and find my own. You can get fabric samples directly from upholsterers most of the time, but because I had a certain look in mind, I decided to visit a local fabric store, Al-Guthmi, to look for material. This store has a pretty large selection of fabrics for upholstery, curtains, pillows, etc., and while they have some really nice choices, you have to dig a little to find the style you want. You can find more modern choices at some of the newer stores, like Ka, but keep in mind that they will also be fairly expensive.

Fabric Choices Collage
My final pick for fabric (left)

The pattern I eventually picked out, seems to work really well with my home. The print is fairly formal and classic, but the color scheme is subtle enough that it doesn’t feel too busy or overwhelming. The fabric also ended up being a lot cheaper than I thought it was going to be because of a MASSIVE sale. No joke – the sales in this country are totally worth waiting for! I lucked out and paid SR 15 per meter. I had to wait a month for it to come from Dubai, but it was an awesome deal.

Perfectly Custom

After giving the material to Ali, he had it finished for me within a week or two. I loved everything he made me, and he was very flexible during my more indecisive moments.

Since then I’ve had him make MANY more pillows, cushion covers for my dining room chairs and a gorgeous blue ottoman!

Custom Curtains With a View_1

Curtain and pillow Collage
My living and dining room curtains & extra pillows (including the white pillows)!
Sage green pillows for my bedroom


Chair Cushions
Set of 6 dining room chair cushions
I found a picture of an ottoman on Pinterest and had Ali work his magic with it! Since he’s primarily an upholsterer, the wood work was outsourced to another company, but Ali took care of the entire process. I’m ridiculously obsessed with this piece!


Give Ali a call when you’ve decided to make the switch, and he will gladly stop by and help you! Happy shopping!!

Contact: Ali Ahmed Muhlhal from Al-Amodi, TEL: 050-494-0359


0 comments on “From Fabric to Custom”