As beautiful and cozy as upholstered furniture can be, savvy shoppers know that the quality and comfort of the piece goes beyond just its fabric. Upholstery seams also play a major role in the overall aesthetic and support of any piece. Different types of upholstery seams can be used to secure the fabric in place and even make a dramatic aesthetic statement. From hand-crafted pleats to sleek welded seams, the type of upholstery seam can drastically change the look and feel of an item. In this article we’ll explore the different types of upholstery seams, how they are made, what they are made of, and how to get them clean and keep them looking their best. Read on to learn more about upholstery seams and what to look for when shopping for upholstered furniture.
What Are Upholstery Seams?
Upholstery seams provide much of the strength and structure to upholstered furniture items, such as sofas, chairs, and ottomans. Seams are like the connective tissue of the furniture – strong, but often unseen. With the right upholstery seam styles and techniques, you can give your furniture timeless style and lasting construction, while maintaining a cohesive look. In this section, we’ll explore the different reasons you might use upholstery seams as well as the common types of seams available and how to care for them.
What Is an Upholstery Seam Made Of?
Upholstery seams are the individual pieces of fabric that hold sections of upholstered furniture and other furnishings together. The seams are usually composed of several layers, starting with the decorative fabric layer, followed by a layer of foam and batting for comfort, a liner for protection and finally a layer of fabric facing. The layers are then held together with either staples, adhesive or stitching.
The type of material used for upholstery seams varies widely depending on the type of furniture they are being used on. Furniture that needs a lot of durability and strength may opt for heavier fabrics like canvas, while furniture that is intended for looks may go for light and airy fabrics accommodating more intricate designs. The material also largely depends on the kind of weather it’s being used in. For example, furniture used outdoors will typically have a more weather resistant fabric to prevent damage from rain and sun exposure.
The process for creating upholstery seams also varies depending on the type and choice of fabric used. Professional upholsterers typically use techniques like French-seaming, which is used for elegant and intricate yet durable seams, pleating to create an additional decorative element to a seam, and edge stitching. It is important to consider the sturdiness of the seams when choosing a material, no matter the application.
When cleaning upholstery seams, it is important to consider the fabric and materials used in the upholstery and follow the instructions listed on the product. Feathers and foam are particularly vulnerable to damage from water and should only be cleaned with a vacuum or a dry brush. Heavy fabrics, like canvas, can be machine- or hand-washed with a mild detergent and water. For any fabric, it is also important to check for damage before and after cleaning, as long-term exposure to water and moisture can be damaging over time. Lastly, when cleaning upholstery seams, it is important to use a gentle motion, being careful not to tear the fabric.
The Different Purposes of Upholstery Seams
The Different Purposes of Upholstery Seams
Upholstery seams are one of the most important components of furniture. They provide structure and connection, allowing the fabric to resist tearing and protect the underlying foam. Upholstery seams also provide aesthetic value, creating visual interest and inspiring design elements. In addition, the right seam technique can even improve the overall comfort of a piece of furniture.
There are several types of seams that serve different purposes:
- Welded seams – These are the most secure and durable upholstery seam technique. By folding the fabric over twice and welding the edges together, the seam will stay in place and resist tearing.
- Pleated seams – Used mostly on loose cushions, the fabric is pleated over the batting before being secured to the foam underneath. This creates a secure seam and adds a decorative accent to the piece.
- Whipped seams – These seams have a long-lasting finish and are typically used on upholstered surfaces. The whipping technique binds the fabric together and makes it easier to lift or remove the piece of furniture in one piece.
- Edge-stitched seams – This technique involves tightly stitching the fabric around the batting to create a decorative edge. It provides extra security when the fabric is under tension, and contributes to the overall aesthetic of the piece.
These are some of the most popular types of upholstery seams. However, many upholsterers will also use a combination of techniques to create a seam that is both structurally sound and visually appealing. Upholstery seams are an essential part of the furniture-making process, and the different techniques serve different purposes depending on the type of furniture in question.
Common Upholstery Seam Styles and Techniques
Upholstery seams give modern furniture character, unique detail and beauty. They can also enhance the durability and lifespan of your furniture, making them an invaluable addition to any piece. There are various types of seams available, each with their own purposes and aesthetics. Here, we will look at the commonly used upholstery seam styles and techniques and how you can use them to make your furniture look its best.
Welded seams are an increasingly popular choice among upholstery professionals, as they create an undetectable and extremely durable seam. Welded seams are created by using heat and pressure to fuse vinyl fabrics together. As the fabrics are heated, they melt and form a single, sturdy bond that can withstand even the toughest wear and tear. Plus, this type of seam allows for a sleek and modern look, without compromising on the strength of the seam.
For upholstery projects that require more delicate fabric options, welded seams are also a great choice. When covered with a trim, the seam is almost invisible, providing a seamless and uninterrupted look. This makes it an ideal choice for sections of furniture that may face high amounts of stress or frequent use.
Due to the sheer strength of welded seams, they can be used to create elaborate and intricate upholstery designs with varying patterns or textures. From rings, to circles, to squares, welded seams can produce a variety of shapes to give upholstery a unique and modern look. Plus, welded seams are also great for creating lines, ridges, or other far more complex silhouettes.
Overall, welded seams are a great choice when looking for an upholstery seam that is both durable and aesthetically pleasing. The strength of the welded seam is perfectly balanced with the elegant look it can create, making it an ideal choice for any upholstery project.
Pleated seams are one of the most recognizable upholstery features, often seen on furniture such as sofas, chairs, and ottomans. The classic, tailored look of pleated seams is created when the seamstress sews two pieces of fabric together, creating a pleated look. These seams are incredibly versatile and can be used in a variety of ways, depending on the type of fabric used and the desired look. Pleated seams have the ability to add texture and interest to an upholstery project – from using a classic single pleat, adding an interesting pattern or a double pleat to add a more formal look.
Pleating is a popular choice for upholstery seams as it not only looks good but can also give added stability to hold fabric in place and ensure the furniture stays comfortable. Depending on the fabric chosen and the effect wished to be achieved, the pleat can be tacked down for added stability, though not always necessary. When it comes to selecting fabric for a pleated seam, lighter fabrics tend to be the best choice as the pleating helps create a more tailored look on the furniture.
To clean pleated seams, using a gentle, upholstery-approved cleaning solution is essential. Spot clean the fabric as soon as possible to prevent any further staining and scrubbing should be avoided to prevent any damage or discoloration to the fabric. Upholstery seams are often the first thing noticed when you enter a room and so making sure they’re in tip-top condition will help ensure the overall look and feel of your furniture is the best it can be.
Whipped seams are created by whipping the loose edge of the material and then sewing a line of stitches around it to keep it in place. This technique is used to secure piping and trims, to give a neat, finished look to the upholstery. It is best to use a strong and durable thread for this type of seam, as it needs to stand up to heavy use.
The preferred method for creating a whipped seam is to thread bundles of the material together at one end, then wrap and whip the strands around the piping or trim. This will create a secure bond that will hold together the two pieces of fabric. Once the whipping is securely in place, the loose ends of the thread are secured with a line of stitches. This technique is usually used when attaching pieces of fabric that, due to their size and shape, cannot be sewn together.
Whipped seams can be used in a variety of applications, such as drapery, bedding, furniture and pillows. Since the whipped seam is relatively small, it does not add bulk or stiffness to the upholstery, making it a great option for projects that require a sleek, finished look. Additionally, the design of the whipped seam is appealing and can be used to add a decorative element to the project.
Edge-stitched seams, also known as futon stitching, are an upholstery seam technique often used for heavier upholstery. It is a double-needle machine sewn stitching with two lines of machine-sewn “futon” threads that form an X as they cross, providing a stronger and more durable seam. This type of stitching is used to keep seams in place, as the lines of stitching act like anchor points to secure the upholstery material.
Edge-stitched seams are great for heavier fabrics such as leather and water-resistant fabrics. This type of stitching works well for upholstered furniture that commonly receives heavier wear and tear and needs more support, making it a great option for heavier and higher quality furniture.
Another benefit of edge-stitched seams is that they are more aesthetically appealing. They form a more complex and interesting pattern compared to less intricate types of stitching, making them perfect for furniture with a more decorative look. Edge-stitched seams also look more formal and polished than other types of stitching, which can make your furniture look more expensive.
Edge-stitched seams are not ideal for lightweight fabrics, as the stitches can be too bulky and weigh down the fabric. Also, they are slightly more difficult to make than other types of stitching and require a certain level of expertise to do properly.
Overall, edge-stitched seams are a great option for heavier fabrics and furniture that receives more wear and tear. The added support makes upholstered furniture more reliable and comfortable. Edge-stitched seams provide an aesthetically pleasing look as well, making them perfect for furniture that is expected to look more formal or polished.
Making Your Upholstery Look its Best
Achieving the perfect look and feel for upholstery isn’t just about color coordination and cushion arrangement. Getting the right seams for your project is just as important for a clean and polished look. From whipped seams to pleated edges, this section covers the different types of seams and techniques that you can use to make your upholstery look its best.
How to Clean Upholstery Seams
Upholstery seams are the single most important feature that holds a piece of furniture together, whether it’s the seam that connects two cushions of a sofa or chair, or around the edges of a headboard. Despite being incredibly important, they are often overlooked when it comes to cleaning and maintenance. Below are some tips and advice on how to clean and maintain your upholstery seams.
- Vacuum Seams Regularly. One of the best ways to keep your upholstery seams clean is to vacuum them regularly. This helps to remove dirt and dust which can accumulate over time and lead to dirt buildup. If you have a vacuum with a hose attachment, you can get into all the crevices.
- Remove Stains Quickly. If you notice any stains on your upholstery seams, it is important to act quickly and remove them as soon as possible. Depending on the type of stain, you may be able to remove it using a soft cloth dampened with a cleaning solution that is specifically designed for upholstery.
- Steam Clean. If your upholstery has become particularly dirty, you may want to consider steam cleaning the seams. This will help to remove deep seated dirt, bacteria, and germs which may be present. Make sure to use a fabric-safe product to ensure that your upholstery remains in great condition.
- Spot Clean. Spot cleaning is a great way to remove light stains and dirt that may have accumulated on your upholstery seams. When spot cleaning, be sure to use a cleaning solution that is specifically designed for upholstery and be sure to follow all directions on the label.
- Test on a Small Area. Before applying any cleaning solution or steam cleaning, it is important to test the product on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure that the product will not damage the upholstery.
Following these tips and advice can help to keep your upholstery seams looking their best and help to extend their lifespan. Regular cleaning and maintenance not only helps to keep them looking great, but can also prevent any permanent damage. If you are ever unsure about how to clean your upholstery seams, it is best to consult a professional in order to ensure that they are properly cared for.
Upholstery Tips For Maintaining Seams
Upholstery seams are a vital part of any upholstery project and need to be maintained and cared for properly. Most upholstery seams are designed to be strong and durable, but they can become weakened over time. Proper upholstery seam care will ensure that your upholstery project looks great and is built to last for years. Here are some upholstery tips for maintaining seams:
1. Vacuum the upholstery regularly to remove dirt and debris. Vacuuming regularly is one of the most effective ways to keep your upholstery seams looking their best and to prevent premature wear.
2. Use professional upholstery cleaning products occasionally. Professional upholstery cleaning products are specifically designed for cleaning upholstery and can help maintain the appearance of your upholstery seams.
3. Protect seams from exposure to sunlight and moisture. Sunlight and moisture can both cause damage to upholstery seams, so it’s important to keep them away from these elements. Place shades or curtains over windows and make sure that your upholstered furniture is not situated too close to windows or other sources of moisture.
4. Repair any damaged seams as soon as possible. If you notice any damage to your upholstery seams, it’s important to have them repaired as soon as possible. This will help prevent any further damage and make sure that your upholstery project looks its best.
5. Use a seam sealer to protect seams from wear and tear. Seam sealers provide an additional layer of protection to upholstery seams and can help prevent wear and tear over time.
By following these tips you can help maintain the strength and appearance of upholstery seams and ensure that your upholstery project looks great and lasts for years.