Spruce Design Tip: Railroading Fabric

Hello patriots! Happy 4th of July to you all. A mid-week respite is just what the doctor ordered. Today I bring you a tip from the front of house. Clar and I spend quite a bit of time working with numbers, constantly measuring furniture and calculating the exact number of yards needed to complete each piece. When working with fabric, you can either run the fabric “up the roll” or you can “railroad” it. These terms communicate the direction of the fabric when it’s upholstered to your furniture. Check out the drawing below to see exactly what I mean.

Railroad Fabric drawing 450
Often, you’ll have a piece of furniture, like a sofa, that is just too wide to have only one width of fabric to span the overall length. Seams will then be required, and if you have a large pattern, the seams can really make the yardage requirement jump up since pattern matching is an absolute must. So, if you’re hoping to keep your yardage to a minimum, railroad the fabric! Depending on the size of your piece, railroading the fabric can be more efficient and will give you the opportunity to eliminate unwanted seams. Here are a few sofas where we railroaded the fabric.

Tyson Sofa After 450No seams in that seat! Harrison Sofa After 450

You can also choose to railroad the fabric for styling reasons. Whether it’s a stripe or other interesting pattern, the direction can play a huge part in the look of the piece. Take a peek at these beauties to see the serious impact the fabric direction can have on the end product.
butterfield chairs 450

Paup Sofa After 450

Grass Chairs 450

Blue horizon sofa 450

 So if you see a fabric in one of our sample books, turn it all different directions. You aren’t chained to the fabric direction the manufacturer has displayed in the book! We have been pleasantly surprised many times by switching things up.  Also, when you’re talking about fabric, and you say things like, “Let’s railroad the fabric,” you sound super in-the-know. 🙂 Bonus!