Upholstery is defined as the material which is used to provide stuffings, paddings and covers for seats, couches, chairs, and other different types of furniture, including the mattresses used in beds. Upholstered furniture provides lots of cushions with foam, enclosed in fabric or leather altogether. Prior to the arrangement of cushions or other materials for padding, springs are attached on the top of the steel or wooden framework of the furniture. Upholstery is not just a term associated with domestic furniture, but with automobile, air plane and boat furniture as well.
People in the trade
A person deft in the art of upholstery is known as an upholsterer while an apprentice upholsterer is often called an ‘outsider’ or ‘trimmer’. Upholstery being a skilled work, there are many factories which hire upholsterers to work on leather, fabric, wooden frames and steel designs. Carpenters are also in high demand for the upholstery industry because they are the ones who design the furniture and give a perfect shape to it.
Fabrics used for upholstering
The types of fabric used for the purpose of upholstery can be divided into two categories – natural fabrics and synthetic fabrics. Cotton and wool are the best among natural fabrics used for upholstery. Other natural fabric materials include animal hair, straw, hessians and linen scrims, which are typically used in traditional upholstery. Polyester, acetate, rayon, nylon and acrylic are the synthetic fabric materials, more commonly used in contemporary upholstery. Besides these, suede is most durable and flexible fabric fibre, having a soft velvety and smooth appearance, and is produced out of hides of cows, horses and donkeys.
Marine upholstery is different from the other forms of upholstery in the aspect that the material used should be able to withstand the harsh elements found near or in fresh or salt water. Vinyl made using fungus resistant chemicals and other materials that can tolerate UV rays from the sun and dampness, are ideal to be used for marine upholstery in Northern Beaches. The foam used for stuffing and padding the seats is usually closed-cell, with small cushions placed under it. Threads of dacron, a string and wrinkle-resistant polyester textile fibre, are used for stitching and sewing up the fabric around the frame. After enclosing the furniture in the fabric, the entire structure is covered with a thin film of plastic so as to make them waterproof.