What Does Railroaded Mean In Fabric? [FAQs]

What Does Railroaded Mean In Fabric

When it comes to fabrics, there are a lot of terms that might be confusing, especially if you’re not familiar with the industry jargon. One of these terms is “railroaded”, which you might have come across when shopping for upholstery or drapery fabrics. So what does it mean when a fabric is railroaded?

Main Content

Railroading refers to the way a fabric is woven or printed. When a fabric is railroaded, it means that the pattern runs across the width of the fabric, instead of running from top to bottom. This is different from most fabrics, which are woven or printed with the pattern running vertically, or up and down.

There are some advantages to using railroaded fabrics in certain situations. For example, if you’re upholstering a sofa or chair that has a long, straight back, using a railroaded fabric can allow you to cover the entire piece without having to seam together multiple pieces of fabric. This can create a cleaner, more seamless look.

However, railroaded fabrics aren’t always the best choice. If you’re working with a pattern that is meant to be viewed vertically, such as stripes or a floral design, using a railroaded fabric can make the pattern appear sideways or even upside down. Additionally, railroaded fabrics can be more difficult to work with if you’re trying to match a pattern at seams or corners.

How to Tell If a Fabric Is Railroaded

If you’re not sure whether a fabric is railroaded or not, there are a few ways to tell. One is to look at the selvedge, or the finished edge of the fabric. If the pattern runs parallel to the selvedge, the fabric is most likely railroaded. You can also ask the fabric supplier or manufacturer if the fabric is railroaded or not.

How to Work With Railroaded Fabrics

If you do decide to use a railroaded fabric, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, make sure to order enough fabric to cover your entire project without having to seam together multiple pieces. You should also be prepared to adjust your cutting layout and pattern placement to accommodate the way the fabric is woven.

Another tip is to mark the top and bottom of each piece of fabric with a piece of tape or a safety pin, so you don’t accidentally cut or sew the pieces upside down or sideways. Finally, be aware that railroaded fabrics can be more expensive than non-railroaded fabrics, since they require more fabric to cover a given area.

FAQ

What types of fabrics are often railroaded?

Some common types of fabrics that are often railroaded include chenille, velvet, and tapestry fabrics.

Can I use a railroaded fabric for draperies or curtains?

Yes, you can use railroaded fabrics for draperies or curtains, but keep in mind that the pattern will run from side to side instead of up and down.

What is the difference between a railroaded and non-railroaded fabric?

The main difference between a railroaded and non-railroaded fabric is the direction of the pattern. Railroaded fabrics have the pattern running horizontally, while non-railroaded fabrics have the pattern running vertically.

Can I use a railroaded fabric for a quilt?

Yes, you can use a railroaded fabric for a quilt, but keep in mind that the pattern will run from side to side instead of up and down. This might affect how you arrange your quilt blocks and how you quilt the finished quilt.

Can I use a railroaded fabric for clothing?

Yes, you can use a railroaded fabric for clothing, but keep in mind that the pattern will run horizontally instead of vertically. This might affect how you cut and sew the fabric to create the desired garment shape.

What is the best way to care for a railroaded fabric?

The care instructions for a railroaded fabric will depend on the specific fiber content and weave of the fabric. Always check the care label or consult with the fabric supplier or manufacturer for specific care instructions.

Can I use a railroaded fabric for outdoor upholstery?

Yes, you can use a railroaded fabric for outdoor upholstery, but make sure to choose a fabric that is specifically designed for outdoor use and is resistant to water, sunlight, and mildew.

Can I mix railroaded and non-railroaded fabrics in the same project?

Yes, you can mix railroaded and non-railroaded fabrics in the same project, but be aware that the direction of the pattern might not match up exactly. This can create a more eclectic, bohemian look, or it can be used intentionally to create visual interest.

Pros

Using a railroaded fabric can allow you to cover large pieces of furniture without having to seam together multiple pieces of fabric. This can create a cleaner, more seamless look in your finished project.

Tips

If you’re working with a railroaded fabric and need to match a pattern at seams or corners, try using pins or temporary fabric glue to hold the pieces in place before sewing. This can help prevent the fabric from shifting or bunching up during the sewing process.

Summary

Railroading is a term used to describe the direction of the pattern in a fabric. When a fabric is railroaded, the pattern runs horizontally instead of vertically. This can be useful in certain situations, but it can also make pattern-matching more difficult. Always be sure to check the direction of the pattern before starting a project with a railroaded fabric.

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