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Custom Upholstery Basics

Posted by on 21 Nov 2017

RFP is committed to provide  you are our customers with accurate and detailed information in order to make the best decision on custom upholstery and reupholstery pieces. Starting today RFP, will provide you with the information you need or may not have considered when specifying or when purchasing Upholstery.


Detail #1- Stitching Types

Almost daily we ask our customers the same question, “So what type of stitching do you want to use”. A typical answer is just use thread, unfortunately that does not answer our question and  there many detail/design options available that have a major impact in the overall design and appearance of your piece.

We will discuss and introduce to you 3 common stitch styles followed by photos of each one. There is no ‘best option’, its rather all personal preference as it relates to the overall design.


The Top Stitch

Topstitching,  is usually sewn along a seam, or edge. Sometimes topstitching is purely decorative and other times it is part of the construction process, such as stitching that secures in place.

Upholstery Top Stitch

Top Stiched Seam


Double Top Stitch

There can also be a double top stitch… which is sometimes called (incorrectly called) a double top stitch –

Double Top Stitched Seam

Upholstery Double Top Stitched Seam


Plain Seam or a Knife Edge Seam

This is exactly what is sounds like, two pieces of material are joined with a single stitch which is then flipped over to reveal no stitching. It is plain. We use this for our custom pillows, or thicker materials such as wools and felts to give a more contemporary look.

Plain Seam

Upholstery Plain Seam


French Seam

By definition this type of stitching is a seam where the raw edges are enclosed…. however it has come to be a more decorative stitch detail. A French seam is often used when the fabric is too delicate to overcast the seam allowance to prevent ravelling. The construction of a French seam provides a clean, finished, professional look to the inside of the piece.

French Seam

Upholstery French Seam


This should paint a better picture for the specifier and client as to what seams to allocate and where. I would say that 75% of the projects we work on require a clean contemporary look, therefore the option we suggest is the top stitch. By having this information available, this will help you buy, as opposed to being pushed in the direction the manufacturer wants. RFP is a true custom studio, so we want you to know what you are buying, and be involved the entire way!

Keep your eyes out for more of our education series!

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