upholstery shop fabric options

wish2okcSeptember 2, 2014

Hi everyone! I'm considering having several chairs and a love seat reupholstered and I'm wondering whether I'd be better off price-wise to supply my own fabric or if selection and prices are good or better through the upholsterer. I've had a couple of chairs done long ago but just bought my fabric from a local shop and then contacted the upholsterer. I'd love to hear your experiences. Thanks!

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My past experience, and in your area it may differ, was that I brought my own fabric once, and the woman did the loveseat in my fabric. She was a classmate from grade school through high school graduation. But she told me that the next time, I'd have to choose a fabric from her books, or have an up charge to use my own fabric.

Her fabric choices were limited, and very pricey, and she made money using them. That extra would be transferred to me if I brought my own fabric. Now I do my own upholstery! :-)

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 8:50AM
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Like almost everything, it depends on your particular service provider and how they make their money. Get a quote for labor only. Ask if he/she gives a discount if you purchase fabrics from them. Check the prices of the upholsterer's fabrics versus similar fabrics available in the marketplace. Do you have a discount fabric place? Even if your upholsterer charges an upcharge for using your fabric, you might still come out better with discounted fabric.

My upholsterer only works using customer-purchased fabric. He doesn't carry any fabric himself. I was able to find upholstery weight fabrics for under $20/yard at the discount house and one fabric was only $1/yard. Of course, these fabrics aren't from any designer's latest collection, but I use neutrals with minimal patterns so the fabrics are somewhat timeless.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 11:32AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

My upholsterer uses my fabrics...much cheaper that way.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 4:31PM
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Thanks for your replies. It hadn't occurred to me that there might be an up-charge for using my fabric. Now I'll know to discuss that. I've gotten some upholsterer names from a local fabric store. Guess I'll give some of them a call tomorrow and talk.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 7:26PM
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I think the up charge must be pretty standard practice. When we moved into this house, we needed all new flooring. I had considered ordering carpet online and having a local company install it. Sure enough, there was that extra charge tacked on by the installer I contacted because I wasn't buying the carpet through them, which negated any savings I would have by buying the carpet myself.... So I shopped around and just ended up buying carpet locally and our engineered wood floor I bought online and put down myself. I've also done my own upholstery-fabrics with no pattern and furniture with clean lines is easy enough to do if you can sew and use a staple gun. I'm always on a super tight budget for my own home, so I've had build quite a DIY repertoire out of necessity.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 7:38PM
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Sometimes upholsterers prefer to supply the fabric because they can get more if they need it--in case there is a problem or accident. If they order it from their supplier they are able to check on Lots and make sure there is additional available.

A lot of times if you are supplying your own fabric from an online source and it's discounted, it may be the end of a run or what's left of a lot, or discontinued (even though there may be lots of stock left).

I have had two experiences with this. I wanted to get a sofa upholstered COM (this was a new sofa) and the upcharge was pretty high, so I chose something from their stock. There was a problem with shipping and one edge of one arm of the sofa pulled free from the seam, and they had to take the sofa back and replace that panel. If it had been COM, depending, they may have had to recover the entire sofa at their expense.

When I was using a private upholsterer I often did COM but it was full price fabric from a showroom. On one piece I wanted to use something I had gotten online and there was a wrinkle in it or something that couldn't be pressed out, and if that piece wasn't used there would not be enough for the chair and there was no more available by that time. So I had to choose something completely different. (And I went with a showroom again).

When I did COL (leather) I had to buy a full hide because a half hide may or may not have been enough given the size variation of hides. As it turned out I got a huge hide and half would've been enough. Had I used a standard leather they carried, I would have paid only for the leather used, Instead I paid more than twice the amount (although I still have more than half a large hide.)

If you are supplying the fabric, they have much less control over it than if they order it themselves, so they charge you for the increased risk. It's the same reasoning why many sofas while come in a few fabrics and while you can often get it in Any fabric the manufacturer carries, you will pay more for it because it requires special handling.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 7:45PM
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