Any Lee Industry Fabric Experts???

backsweatMarch 31, 2009

Looking to get a sofa and several chairs. Lee's the top end of our budget, so not looking for other "better quality" makers unless they are comparably priced.

We've gotten numerous fabric swatches from Lee and have also looked at Crate and Barrel. (most the swatches at CB aren't available unless ordered through CB and their prices are much higher).

Looking for a light colored, neutral velvet sofa and some accent chairs in different fabric. The closest we've found to what we're looking for in the sofa is called "Bristol Cement". The concern/question is that the fabric is "railroaded". It's difficult to tell on a 3x3 swatch, is the railroading going to make this look "modern"? We're looking for something that's not super trendy that will have some staying power.

We've looked at Lee's site for coordinated recommendations and nothing stands out.

Any suggestions/comments would be appreciated. I guess the next step is professional designer, but looking to keep the cost down within our budget.


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I suggest to have the retailer order you a larger swatch. Railroading can be that the swatch is show railroaded or that the fabric is cut railroaded and not up-the-bolt. On a sofa that the fabric is railroaded will not have seams on the seat/inside and outside back. But the nap on the velvet should smooth to the front of the sofa.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 10:32AM
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Railroading has nothing to do with whether the fabric looks "modern." The term railroading is in reference to the layout of a fabric on a piece of furniture in relation to the way it is woven at the fabric mill.

A regular fabric has the pattern running up the roll and that is the normal way fabric is milled. The pattern, or in the case of a velvet, the grain, would run up/down. A "railroaded" fabric means that the fabric is woven so that the pattern or grain is situated so that the top would be from one side of the fabric to the other side.

So why do this? There are times when the common 54" or 60" width of fabric is not enough to run the span of a piece of furniture. For instance if you have a very long cushion that exceeds the width of the fabric,(because you orientate the top of the pattern to the back of the cushion) instead of putting in a seam or two you could just find a railroaded pattern and you could run right across with no seams. The same would apply to sofa backs etc. Sometimes it is more efficient to cut fabric that is railroaded even if you don't have a large span because the pattern may be unusual and difficult to match.

Some fabrics can be railroaded even if they are not specifically woven that way. A plain tweed, cotton, vinyl and of course leather may not have an "up" or "down". In the case of vinyl or leather it does not matter which way you use it unless it has a pattern. Even if a fabric has a pattern it may be able to be railroaded, it depends on the fabric. For instance a geometric "square" or "diamond" could be situated regular or railroaded, you have to have a look in each direction and see if the look changes in some way. Chenilles and velvet usually cannot just be turned sideways as a makeshift railroading, however a lot of chenilles and velvet do come railroaded for this very reason.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 10:33AM
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