Covers are often an afterthought for a purchase, something you add on to prolong the life of a product, or something you realize you need when the weather becomes less than ideal. Most companies make covers that are treated as half-hearted commodities, made solely to fill the purpose of covering. They don’t speak to the value you place in your home, the unique conditions you face in your yard, nor your personal preferences. Our patio furniture covers are different. They’re more than fabric. They are unique: designed for you, your needs, and your home.
Patio furniture covers have the primary function of providing protection for your outdoor furniture. At Classic Accessories, we’ve been working on digging deeper, to create covers that keep the end user in mind while maintaining the quality that we strive, as a brand, to uphold.
We’ve delved into why you should protect your outdoor accessories, and topics like caring for your grill and selecting furniture materials for your patio. This month, we wanted to do a bit of a deeper look at some of the features that take our coverage to the next level; covers that move beyond their basic function to be more of a part of your home and lifestyle.
Every season, we strive to bring something new, interesting, and useful to the table, expanding and improving our cover selection. Selecting developments to make our covers more personalized and unique, ready to adapt to the conditions they will face in their future homes, and ready to be everything you need them to be.
A Legacy of Innovation
It Starts with Covers
Traditionally, covers have been focused on their passive performance. From materials to construction, it’s been about functionality: fitting and shielding.
Does it work? Is it really made for what I’m covering? Can this cover stand up to the elements? Does it protect the underlying materials? Will it enable the object it’s covering to last longer?
Covers, to really be covers, need to own up to those answers.
With Design in Mind
For us, design became a focus for our covers, because aesthetics is such an important factor in any home-bound purchase.
Even if this “works”, does it work for me? Do I like it in my yard or next to my home? Does this feel right? Is it my style?
We’ve spent years creating covers that look carefully at both functionality and design. Covers don’t have to be drab; They can have color, incorporate design lines, and fit into the aesthetics of your home. Our collections, from the two-tone, capable classic that is Veranda™ to the highly protective fabric in an indulgently dark color that constitutes Madrona®, our covers have personality and don’t compromise on protection.
For a quick view of our patio furniture covers and to find the right collection for you, you can consult the lovely chart heading the Patio Furniture Covers page.
For a more in-depth look at some of the design differences that make our long-standing collections unique, check out this blog post.
We’ve refined and incorporated the quality-focused features and technology that go into our covers to make covers that fit your needs. Seeking these catered improvements has led us to several lines of covers constructed with features to address specific conditions that affect your yard and home.
Condition: Nowhere is safe from the sun
Certain environments experience more sun than others, causing materials to weather and fade, losing their luster far too soon.
We wanted to create covers using fabrics that would stay vibrant longer, despite being outdoors. FadeSafe® fabrics, which are solution-dyed
(made from material spun from colored yarn, rather than materials dyed after being woven) for colors that last longer against sun exposure. FadeSafe® fabrics are used throughout our Montlake® collection, from the patio furniture covers, cushions, hammocks, umbrellas
Condition: The rain doesn’t go away
Sometimes it rains. Sometimes it pours. Sometimes, you need a little bit more in the water-resistance arena than what is available in a standard cover. Rather than break out something in the pure plastic (tarp) family, we took a hint from human rain protection and sealed our seams.
In our Madrona® and StormPro™ RainProof™ lines, we reinforce the weather- and water-resistance that most of our cover materials have with special attention to the water-repellency and durability of the fabric using taped seams. Taped seams are common in waterproof garments and tents, involving the application of a sealing tape over seam lines to prevent water from permeating the fabric through holes made in the stitching process.
Condition: Windy weather stirring things up
We want our customers to be blown away by our quality, but don’t want our covers to follow suit. Windy conditions (as well as other, non-weather-related conditions) can make wanting to secure your cover important.
We included buckles, rather than ties, to make fitting and securing covers easier. Taking the buckle a step further, we developed the WindLock® Attachment System (Patent 9155397 B2). This system allows you to secure the cover in a more versatile manner through a hem tunnel system that does not cause the bunching that comes with tying down an elastic hem. It’s a major feature of our Ravenna® collection.
These were strides forward, addressing concerns on aesthetics and weather-tolerance. We wanted to go beyond the aesthetics and begin to address the act of covering. Several of our grill cover collections released within the last year, SideSlider™, Porterhouse, and StormPro™, provided touch points to improve your interaction with the cover; covering and uncovering.
Problem: Covers can be cumbersome to put on and take off, and grill covers can see a lot of action over time
Solutions: SideSlider™ , Porterhouse™, and StormPro™
SideSlider™ provides an easy on/off process through the adoption of a full-height zipper and the use of reinforced materials that can withstand the sliding process.
Avoiding buckles all together, Porterhouse™ uses large, WrapTite™ panels with multiple points to secure the cover with hook and loop closure strips.
StormPro™ grill covers adopt a split-access skirt that provides access beneath the cover while in use as while simplifying cover installation and removal.
Along the train of thought of seeking better experiences with covers, we arrived at an interesting juncture. We had started to cover what happens when the cover’s on a product, but…what happens when it’s not?
There is a growing focus in the industry on managing the full life cycle of a product, from use to reuse and beyond. We took a step in that direction, asking how can we best help people who have covers, when the covers aren’t in use.
What do you do with a cover after you take it off?
Fold it. Well, we do, at the least. This is especially true amongst our Design and Creative teams. It’s impressive to watch our long-tenure designers take down an RV cover and get it back to nearly the factory-fold. However, those teams spend inordinate amounts of time with the covers, draping, designing, measuring, staging, photographing, and more. The finesse we have comes from constant interaction.
Our consumers would only be dealing with covers on a seasonal or environmentally-biased basis. If folding isn’t simple or intuitive for someone, confusion and chaos generally ensue, in the form of great swaths of wadded fabric. It’s less tasking to just shove covers into a storage container for the season; we even know that some people use our cushion storage bags to this end. Stuff-to-stow is an easy answer and acceptable for some; however, the end result is rarely pretty and leaves some dissatisfied, if the quantity of inquiries we get to Customer Support regarding how to fold covers is any indication.
There are people who want to fold the covers, but it’s neither an intuitive nor simple process. Frustration with the covers, and/or spending unseemly amounts of time trying to fold the covers neatly, for storage or presentation, are not great experiences. We weren’t okay with that. Great experiences are what we strive for, and we were leaving some customers behind.
Solving the Problem
A more nuanced look at the “why” for folding covers informed our answer. For some, folding covers is part of the process of beautifying their home, ensuring that things are neat and tidy at all levels. A folded cover is smaller and easier to manage. It takes up less room while in storage and is easier to bring out of storage, especially if it’s part of a larger organizational system. Poorly folded covers do not fit in the discrete cabinets or other storage options already at home in and around the patio. Folding covers is about simplicity, neatness, and organization.
For the people who do fold, or want to fold, we determined three key puzzles to solve:
- How to fold a cover simply
- How to make the folds in such a way that the folded cover is neat and small
- How to make this easily repeatable
Creating how-to-fold tutorials was the simple answer—and is something that we might pursue moving forward, for people who love our covers, in any category, but struggle with storage neatness or fitting the covers into their current organization system. This answered the “how-to” question, potentially the “neat” question, and was repeatable. It was not, however, the most elegant solution; certain materials and cover configurations simply cannot be folded down to a small size. The cover itself prevents it. Covers are designed to fit furniture, not to be folded.
We needed a cover that was designed to be folded.
The solution took time. We wanted to design something that was able to be folded consistently and intuitively, without compromising on the quality of the fabric, the fit, or the aesthetics.
Our designers looked at cover handling, how people interacted not only with covers, but with the touch points on the covers. How someone might approach taking off a grill cover as opposed to a chair or sectional.
Once key interactions were determined, the puzzle narrowed into a game of constructing the cover in such a way that when the fabric was lifted away from the object it was covering and was subject only to gravity and the natural deformations caused by the material, folding was intuitive. Happening almost in response to being removed from the furniture.
The handle became a focal point in the process. Handles are, in name and function, what people reach towards when starting to uncover furniture. The best way to organize the steps of cover folding was the strategic placement of handles on the cover. In Storigami™, the handles were placed in locations that were easily reachable, instinctively part of lifting the cover, and naturally causing the fabric to begin to gather in an encouraging way.
“Intuitive” became our focus. We wanted to create a cover that folded naturally and used gravity for that purpose.-Delina Wells, Designer and Market Trend Analyst
An Answer in Seams
Handles would give people a first step, something to grab onto to begin their interaction with our cover. It was simple. How to intuitively drive the next step took more strategy. Most fabrics do not have a shape that they hold on their own. The form of the material is determined by its attachments and interactions with other pieces of fabric. Getting the fabric to act the way it needed to in order to be simply folded required experimenting with seams. It required discovering which constructions would cause the fabric to fold the way we desired it to fold.
Determining the seam placement and types of seam took time. Patterns our designers were familiar with could serve as templates in some cases but proved inadequate in others. The fabric had to cover the intended object completely, but the fabric panels and seam lines needed to work together so that there were even, graceful folds.
Storigami™ was a unique design experience. Each style had to be approached in a different way and each provided its own challenge.–Jose Derteano, Associate Designer
I had to figure out the best construction and seam placement to achieve the folding function in an intuitive and accessible way. Starting was always the hardest part, it wasn’t always easy to see how an item would fold, and it would take some time to find the best method of folding that was both intuitive and easy to use.
The best part of the process were the “eureka” moments, ideas would come up out of the blue and it was always exciting when I found the best way to fold a style.
Our design team spent over a year perfecting the design of the covers, ultimately creating something truly special, Storigami™.
Storigami™ is debuting as our newest patio furniture cover collection; however, it’s more than a cover. It’s an exploration, a new way of thinking about experiences in outdoor living spaces.
Storigami™ was a proof of concept that demonstrated the innovation that comes from exploring customer experiences and designing to enhance product interactions and use.
In Storigami ™, you have a collection of covers with thoughtful attention being given to your personal preferences for product storage and upkeep. It’s a collection for the neat-at-heart and tirelessly organized.
Resonating deeply with our desire to provide thoughtful solutions for our consumers, the Storigami™ collection is a milestone for Classic Accessories®.
When looking for a cover, don’t settle. Classic Accessories offers a variety of covers made for you and your furniture. Whether you want a cover that fits into your organizational style, a cover with features catered to your home’s weather conditions, or a cover that simply speaks to you aesthetically, we’ve got you covered.