Types of Pattern Matching with Fabric
(Just a note: if you are on a tight budget, pick a plain or allover pattern that doesn't need to be matched)
Upholstery fabrics come in a variety of patterns and designs, such as plain, all over designs, stripes, plaids, bouquet designs, geometric, random, continuous stems, or even a mixture of several of these. Many upholstery materials do not require any matching, while others won't look good if they aren't matched. Still other fabric patterns can look good matched or unmatched. Whether the upholsterer matches those fabrics will depend upon the client's preferences. The amount of matching done by the upholsterer will depend upon the upholsterer's skill level (For more information about upholsterer types, click here ), the size and type of the actual pattern, the shape and dimensions of the furniture, the client's preferences, and the costs involved. In some cases, pattern matching can add considerable yardage and extra labor costs to the upholstery job.
Levels of Pattern Matching: Some Upholsterers only match those areas that show from the front. Other upholsterers may do various levels of matching, some may match all seams and joints all around the sofa. Upholsterers generally do the level of matching that they are comfortable with, or proficient with. When getting estimates and comparing prices, ask what type and level of matching they do. Keep in mind that the higher level of pattern matching an upholsterer does, the more planning and work it takes and the higher the price. Also consider, what are your expectations and desires about pattern matching? What is your budget? Are your expectations within what you are willing to pay? If you have any concerns about the quality or level of matching you expect, ask to see some of the upholsterer's work or to see some pictures.
Pros and Cons of Matching Techniques: Before we describe fhe various types of matching, let us first realize that when we choose one type of matching, we don't get the other types of matching. For instance, when we do a center match, the seams are not matched as when we do a waterfall match. Conversely, when we do a waterfall match, the pattern is usually not centered in each piece (i.e. the pattern is not centered in the middle some of the of the cushions, arms, inside back, etc.) It's not possible to have everything centered, to have all the seams match, and to have a waterfall match all on the same fabric.
Unmatched. specify using fabrics than don't require any matching of fabric patterns. These include fabrics that are plain, such as tweeds, or "all-over" type of prints, or random type patterns. Only specific types of fabrics and patterns qualify for this option. Any types of fabrics that have a stripe, plain, bouquet or other types of dominate patterns MUST be matched (at additional labor and fabric)
Intentional Mismatch: Refers to putting the fabric pattern on the chair so that nothing is centered, no pattern lines up with any other pattern focus point. This is in contrast to standard pattern matching where we intentionally place the focal point of each pattern. This is charged as a pattern matching because it requires extra work and extra fabric to prevent the patterns from matching. The additional cost can vary significantly depending upon the pattern and the client's specifications. Only specific typs of fabrics and patterns qualify for this option. This option works best with randomized patterns.
Vertical Stripe: Generally refers to fabrics that have vertical bands of solid color. We match stripes vertically as much as reasonably possible. (some stripes may not be fully matched in some instances.) Welts will not be matched but can be made out of one of the stripes, or colored or floral parts of the fabric or The welts can be made out of different fabric.)
Vertical Pattern: We Match patterns vertically (keeping each pattern in the same center of pattern) as much as reasonably possible. (This is not a waterfall or flow match) (some patterns may not be fully vertically matched in some instances.) Welts will not be matched but are just made out of various parts of the pattern of the fabric or can be made out of different fabric.)
Horizontal Stripe Generally refers to fabrics that have vertical bands of solid color. We match stripes horizontally as much as reasonably possible. (some stripes may not be fully matched in some instances.) Welts will not be matched but are to be made out of one of the stripes, or colored or of the fabric or can be made out of different fabric.)
Center Pattern ..... Center patterns as much as reasonably possible. Patterns will be centered on each piece and on the runners, as much as reasonably possible, as determined by the upholsterer. (in some cases some patterns may not be fully centered.) Welts will not be matched.
Waterfall (or Flow Match) Refers to (as much as reasonably possible) to have the fabric pattern flowing continuously from the top of the sofa, down the front of the inside backrest, down to the cushions, over the front of the cushions down the skirt clear to the floor.
The picture shows a sofa where each cushioned seating area is treated as an individual waterfall match. The patterns of each section are aligned to be at the same height on each cushion, but the pattern does not flow across the cushions sided to side.
Other waterfall type matches may flow from top to bottom (as explained above) but the pattern will also flow across the cushions and seams side to side. Click on the picture of the bouquet design loveseat to see the other pictures which show how the pattern flows both from top to bottom and across the seams side to side all around the loveseat. With that said, not all seams and divisions will be matched in all directions.
When ordered, we match patterns as much as reasonably possible. (some patterns may not be fully matched in some instances.) Welts will not be matched. If requested Welts can be made out of a different fabric.
Plaids refer to patterns that have solid bands of color going both vertically and horizontally. Some other patterns can also fall in the plaid type of patterns, such as fabric having small patterns (circles, squares, diamonds, bouquets, etc.) going both ways. As an example, the loveseat used in the "Waterfall" pattern above is also a "plaid match" of a sort. The bouquets run vertically and horizontally, the same as a plaid.
During the reupholstery process, when ordered, the pattern is matched both ways as much as reasonably possible. Some of the plaid stripes may not be fully matched in some instances. Welts are not matched but should be cut on the diagonal or can be made out of different fabric.
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