|Are you exploring the world of reupholstering
because you want to reupholster a treasured piece of furniture
but remain confused by the industry jargon? Part of the successful
restoration of a valuable antique or family heirloom lies
with the customer knowing exactly what he or she wants regarding
the finished product. The other part, of course, rests with
the expertise of the company you choose to reupholster your
Here are definitions of terms frequently heard within the
upholstery business that may help you in deciding how you
want your furniture reupholstered:
When you hear someone talking about ground,
they are referring to the background color (not always the
main color) of a piece of printed material. Therefore, if
an upholsterer states that the "ground" of a fabric
is red, he means that any patterns or prints decorating the
fabric are placed in contrast to the color red.
Railroading means avoiding
unsightly seams in larger pieces of upholstery pieces by trimming
the material on the cross grain. Railroaded indicates fabric
exhibiting patterns running off the bolt in a horizontal rather
than vertical manner. Material such as velvet, which contains
directional pile or patters, should never be railroaded. Professional
New York City upholsterers like Premier Decorators would never
railroad certain fabrics because it creates visible seams
on the back of sofas.
A cord sewn into a seam and covered with fabric is called
a welting. Edges that have
been welted contour a piece of furniture's silhouette, in
addition to strengthening seams. Patterned material is usually
cut just for welting. Reupholstered furniture exhibiting flowing,
smooth welted seams indicates that a professional, experienced
upholstery company has performed the work.
Color combinations or range of color variety for designated
fabrics is called the colorway.
Discussing the colorways about a specific fabric is important
because a print's style may be altered dramatically when applied
to assorted colorways.
Chenille is often applied as another layer for fabrics during
the reupholstering process. The term fabric backing indicates
any fabric used as an extra layer that is often necessary
because certain upholstery fabrics will sag and stretch unless
supported by fabric backing.
If you prefer fabrics that do not need fabric backing, search
for fabrics marked "all-purpose" or "upholstery
When a fabric is cut from one corner to the diagonally opposite
corner, upholsterers refer to this as a bias-cut.
Checkered material is bias-cut just to energize the appearance
of the fabric on furniture pieces. In addition, cutting certain
fabrics in this manner will cause them to drape untraditionally,
which may require the reupholsterer to employ substantially
Professional reupholstery technicians will often use a gimp
to hide unsightly tacks that are visible where wood frames
meet the fabric. Gimps are
trims resembling tightly woven, braided ribbons that enhance
the appearance of antique chairs and sofas.
Many more terms define the reupholstery industry, such as
interlining, pattern match, selvage and tight-back. Although
the general public considers reupholstering to consist of
just placing new fabric over old fabric, this is definitely
not the case. Often, antique furniture needs repairs that
involve replacement or refurbishing of delicate parts. Only
a reupholstery expert should be trusted with handling heirloom
furniture because these types of antiques will lose value
if not properly renovated.
Customize your furniture to match your interior design needs.
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