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High-performance sewing

April 1, 2017

Choosing the right sewing machine saves time and money. Every trade has its tools, and marine fabrication is no exception. A critically important tool of marine fabrication is the sewing machine. Regardless of the brand, a sewing machine has to be durable, reliable and easily maintained, because it is, after all, the workhorse of a …

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Carrying on traditions

December 1, 2016

William Miller is the owner, manager and fabricator of Colonville Canvas, a Clare, Mich.-based company that specializes in marine covers, enclosures, bimini tops and upholstery. Miller grew up learning about the industry in his father’s shop. He opened his own shop in 2014 and has carried on the family tradition of making quality products. Here, …

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Equipment purchasing: price and value

July 18, 2016

ROI is still an important factor in buying decisions, but qualities like reliability, durability and customer service are moving to the forefront. The return on investment (ROI) and how long it might take to achieve it is always a key consideration in most purchasing decisions, particularly during the Great Recession when pricing and ROI moved …

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The age of automation

December 1, 2015

Sewn or sealed, automation is trending as U.S. companies strive to increase efficiency and decrease costs. The art of sewing textiles is lacking in U.S. manufacturing as lower-cost labor in Asia has helped meet consumer demands for competitive retail prices. But automation technology is slowly advancing, helping companies bring production costs down while keeping quality …

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In the commercial upholstery market, is small beautiful?

September 7, 2015

Smaller shops may not always have the staff, but they’re local and they’re flexible, advantages that are still valuable in the business. With commercial furniture and upholstery becoming increasingly large-scale and increasingly technical in nature, is there still a niche for smaller shops? The answer is yes—if only by the skin of their teeth. Robert …

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Room for inspiration

August 1, 2015

The commercial upholstery market is becoming increasingly performance oriented, with noticeable growth in health care, hospitality and sports. New fabrics and coatings are in demand, and in development. When most people think of commercial upholstery, they think of offices . While that`s a big part of the market, it`s by no means where the most …

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Automatic upholstery

March 1, 2015

Giving cars a winning look. The best meals are cooked from scratch, the wildest adventures take place off the map, and some of the most impressive auto upholstery restoration projects are done without a template. Two entries in the upholstery category of the 2014 International Achievement Awards were just such projects, transforming torn, tattered and …

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First do no harm

August 1, 2014

Performance upholstery fabrics need not come with a steep environmental cost. New fabrics, blends and treatments are making sustainability an affordable option. By Sigrid Tornquist On an even playing field, when faced with a choice between an environmentally friendly upholstery fabric versus a toxic one, would anyone ever choose the toxic one? And when faced …

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Foam and flammability

The foam used in upholstered furniture can be another environmental concern if it’s treated with flame retardants. Until recently, the only way to meet the flammability requirements of the California Bureau of Home Furnishings Technical Bulletin 117 was to use flame-retardant treated foam. “The problem with that is that flame retardants are not molecularly bonded …

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Bottom line: evaluating comfort

November 1, 2013

Recall your last marathon all-day, all-night drive—and the aftermath. Remember the aching back and neck, headache, sweating torso and ice-cold feet, the feeling of other-worldliness? The symptoms of uncomfortable vehicle seats include decreased concentration and tiredness that can lead to accidents. The Hohenstein Institute, Bönnigheim, Germany, has developed test methods for assessing the physiological comfort …

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Discarded chairs molt into ‘Hybreeds’

October 1, 2013

An industrial designer in London, England, admits to having close personal relationships with chairs. “Not every chair speaks to me,” says Charlotte Kingsnorth. “There are special characters. Sometimes I will find beautiful chairs just dumped on the side of the road with a missing spindle or worn upholstery. I can’t resist bringing them back to …

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Indoor/outdoor, high-performance cushion and sling fabrics from Phifer Inc.

August 12, 2013

Featuring on-trend color combinations and designs in furniture fabrics—from solids and stripes to florals in traditional and contemporary weaves—Phifer’s chic, durable furniture fabrics can easily transition from an outdoor room to interior living spaces. GeoBella™ is Phifer’s unique line of high-end, performance indoor/outdoor cushion fabrics made of 100 percent olefin yarns recycled from post-industrial waste. …

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“Canvas” seating hits the wall

August 1, 2013

Japanese design studio YOY, a Tokyo-based studio composed of Naoki Ono, a spatial designer, and Yuki Yamamoto, a product designer, intended to “create a new story between space and objects” at the Milan Design Week 2013 exhibition. The international design event featured YOY’s “canvas” chairs. On first look, the chair appears to be a two-dimensional …

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Insectiban Thread with anti-bed bug treatment

Coats has developed threads and zips with an anti-bed bug treatment based on naturally occurring durable plant extract and oils. The treatment is harmless to humans and pets but fatal to bed bugs after extended exposure (about four days). As bed bugs use the seams and tape edges of mattresses and other furniture to hide …

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Printing home décor: generation next

July 1, 2013

Younger consumers want to live in environments that reflect their individuality and interests, and Maxwell Dickson, Los Angeles, Calif., prints canvases, pillows, clocks and coffee tables with images that grab the imagination. “We try to create an urban, colorful vibe in our products that appeals to our market demographic,” says James Freeman, who, with Bart …

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Hybrid cradle chair—an upholstered hammock?

Reclining in a hammock is the ultimate in summer comfort, while sitting in an upholstered chair is a routine feature of home or work life. Benjamin Hubert, a London-based industrial designer, partnered with Italian furniture company Moroso SpA to create the cradle chair, which combines features of hammocks and upholstered chairs to create a new …

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Custom RVs: homes on the road

June 1, 2013

As sales of RVs trend upward year after year, so do the opportunities for fabricators in custom shops. By Carla Waldemar The news for custom shops that tap into the RV market just seems to get better. Shops that connect with this group of ardent road enthusiasts could enjoy a comfortable niche—and a boost in …

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Smart Printing with E.Volution

E.Volution, a new platform for textile printing, combines the latest technologies with artistic creativity and environmental responsibility. Latest-generation printers produce exceptionally clean images; specially formulated inks offer high quality and color fastness, using less water than traditional processes; the system results in up to 90 percent reduction of CO2 emissions and 57 percent less energy …

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Fire-blocker first for aircraft seating

National Nonwovens has created the aircraft industry’s first fire blocker for all aircraft seating dress covers, by upgrading from aramid to high-performance fiber made from SABIC’s inherently flame-retardant ULTEM™ resin. Sold under the Ultra-Protechtor™ fire blocker brand, the new product can be used with leather, synthetic leather and woven fabrics. The Ultem resin produces higher …

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Comfortable, functional wood-framed marketing

As summer approaches and outdoor bars, restaurants, pools and beaches gear up for fun in the sun, nothing gets attention like a comfortable chair made of fabric printed with color custom advertising. Tex Visions, Carlisle, Pa., manufacturer of display hardware and custom textile printing, recently introduced a line of comfortable natural beechwood collapsible chairs with …

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O’Sullivan Films resistant fabrics

May 1, 2013

O’Sea® offers press polished sheets ideally suited for applications requiring exceptional optical clarity and durability, such as marine windows, awnings, tents and restaurant enclosures. This thermoplastic vinyl has excellent scratch resistance, UV durability, superior stain and chemical resistance and flexibility. skai® Sovellino is a premium synthetic leather with a trendy rust and shale look. With …

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Odyssey Collection offers vibrant colors

The Odyssey Collection of upholstery fabrics from Johnston Textiles offers 12 vibrant colors for each pattern: Apollo in bright, lively colors for high-fashion hospitality; Kratos in earth tones for commercial seating; Zeus in a bright mix for an upscale look; and Athena in modern earth tones for office seating. Developed for commercial customers needing dependable …

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Low static with TENCEL

For the first time, TENCEL® fibers are being used in upholstery fabric for a distinctive sheen and intense colors. But it’s not just the beautiful appearance of TENCEL Botanic Lounge that is important. A moisture level of 13 percent, compared to polyester that may have just 1 percent, prevents static electricity and, with good dimensional …

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Crypton 2.0 fabrics are GREENGUARD SelectSM certified

Soft, luxurious and beautiful, Crypton 2.0 contract upholstery fabrics offer pliability, loft recovery and repel-and-release cleanability to protect against ground-in stains. The fabric also includes bio-based materials and is GREENGUARD SelectSM certified. Crypton 2.0 also requires less energy and results in lower greenhouse gas emissions. SOURCE Crypton Inc.

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Recycled fiber for shade products

Sunbrella® Renaissance Unity fabrics from Glen Raven contain 50 percent post-industrial recycled Sunbrella fiber, resulting in a vintage canvas look that is subtly textural with a “substantial feel,” that retains Sunbrella’s fade-resistance and sun-protection qualities. The initial launch includes five solid colors designed to coordinate with a variety of exterior building trim and fascia materials. …

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Better-than-new boat seats

April 1, 2013

[Sand Sea and Air Interiors Inc.] San Juan, Puerto Rico When the owner of a high-profile speedboat wanted a total replacement of its exterior upholstery, Sand Sea and Air Interiors used a vinyl with silver-ion technology for a striking look and durable finish. The seating area had both exposed and recessed hi-lo cushions that could …

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Driving the upholstery market

Durability and cleanability top the performance list for transit upholstery fabrics, but style, comfort and safety (and economy) aren’t far behind. By Holly O’Dell When a news organization hired a university biology lab to examine the wool-covered seats within the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system in the San Francisco, Calif., area, the results weren’t …

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Hemp creates a buzz in new Architecture for Humanity headquarters

March 25, 2013

Architecture for Humanity, a non-profit design services firm, has completed its new headquarters in San Francisco, Calif. Partnering with Gensler for the interior remodel, Architecture for Humanity wanted to provide a flexible, collaborative space for workers who are in constant global communication with their members and overseas offices. Coalesse Bob chairs were selected and upholstered …

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Dramatic power boat redo

March 1, 2013

[Marine Concepts] Osage Beach, Mo., U.S.A. A customer of Marine Concepts hired the company to completely customize his high performance power boat, giving it a distinctive look to suit the boat’s Dragon logo. To do that, the company also made carbon fiber dash panels and side panels for the boat to match the carbon fiber …

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Trends in marine style

The push and pull of tradition and fashion keep fabrics and fabricators in touch with customers. By Dara Syrkin The first quarter of each year is rife with predictions. Will the clothing color trends you see in Sunday newspaper advertisements appear in your customers’ boats? Maybe. Has technology responded to boat owners’ needs and desires? …

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A comfortable canvas for cushion art

December 1, 2012

Canadian Lesley Pennington, a computer design specialist, moved to Sweden to find love, family and a new career path. After purchasing an IKEA sofa, she launched a new business creating designer covers for IKEA sofas and armchairs, using natural, machine-washable fabrics. Bemz, based in Stockholm, Sweden, now sells a variety of fabric covers online and …

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The Custom Shop’s Cuda convertible, sporting Enduratex upholstery modifications

October 17, 2012

Enduratex, Mira Loma, Calif., and The Custom Shop have teamed up to turn out what is sure to be a show stopper at the SEMA Show, Oct. 30-Nov. 2, 2012, at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The Custom Shop will display the Pro Touring 1971 Hemi Cuda convertible, a pro-built street car with street performance, …

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Unique rug-making process combines beauty and practicality

October 1, 2012

Although Liora Manné planned a life in the theater, a textile design class at North Carolina State University changed her career path. Intrigued with the dependence of design on cutting-edge technology, Manné completed a master’s degree in both textile design and textile engineering and headed for New York City. She found her passion in home …

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“Smart Home” highlights 21st century living spaces

September 1, 2012

The Museum of Science and Industry (MSI), Chicago, Ill., invites guests into 21st century living spaces in its current exhibit, “Smart Home: Green + Wired.” MSI’s Smart Home is a real, functioning three-story modular house built in the museum’s back yard. It is fitted with sustainable materials, repurposed furnishings, energy-saving technology and high-tech gadgets. Solar …

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Beautiful, functional reupholstered chairs

July 1, 2012

[Buckminster Upholstery] Falls City, Neb. A customer of Buckminster Upholstery wanted to redo three old chairs to use in a home theater. The company set about a complete restoration by refinishing exposed wood, including the beautiful grooved and curved trim over the arms and on the front of the chairs. New springing and padding were …

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3D/2D design, prototyping for furniture

June 1, 2012

DesignConcept Furniture V2R3 from Lectra is a comprehensive 2D/3D design and virtual prototyping solution for the furniture market, helping manufacturers review development processes and combine permanent innovation, quick commercialization and optimized costs. System enables users to respond quickly to bids and requests, while providing a larger choice of styles, designs, materials and colors. DesignConcept facilitates …

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High Point outdoor fabric collection from Tri Vantage

April 1, 2012

The High Point collection has expanded to include six new fabric groups, each featuring a graphic pattern that can be complemented with coordinating stripe, textured and solid options. High quality, performance acrylic, High Point decorative fabrics are well suited for use with marine interiors, cushions, scatter pillows and indoor and outdoor furniture. SOURCE Tri Vantage

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Textured wool upholstery fabric blends old with new

January 1, 2012

Camira Fabrics Ltd., Mirfield, West Yorkshire, U.K., returned to its archive of catalogued designs and chose a former favorite to bring back to life in a re-inspired contemporary interpretation. Blending old and new, the textured wool upholstery fabric, first launched in 1985, was released in response to requests from designers for a more hand-crafted look. …

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Bonded leather becoming popular for upholstery

November 1, 2011

Upholstering automotive interiors and furniture with genuine leather involves paying top dollar for irregularly shaped hides that are hard to handle. Rising leather prices “have made it next to impossible to hit key opening retail price points of $799 to $999 with top-grain leather,” according to Don Hunter, senior vice president at Jackson Furniture Industry …

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Performance fabrics available in sophisticated patterns

Phifer’s Designed Fabrics Jardin de Rose Collection conjures images of Paris with a selection of cushion and coordinating sling outdoor furniture fabrics that pair deep reds like merlot with warm gray and charcoal, reminiscent of weathered stone walls and limestone wine cellars. Sophisticated patterns in stripes, solids and traditional florals, using light- and medium-weight linen-like …

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New Mitchell Group website showcases faux leather upholstery collections

October 5, 2011

The Mitchell Group, Chicago, has launched a new website to better display its brands and expanded collections of faux leathers. The site,, features the company’s leading brands: Sta-Kleen® dry-erase performance urethane, ReCast® enhanced faux leather and the Mitchell Collection of popular patterns. The faux leather upholstery collections include everything from traditional leather looks to …

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Sofa features mixed fabrics and textures

August 1, 2011

Republic of Fritz Hansen™, headquartered in Alerød, Denmark, brings Danish values of sustainability and timeless design to its furnishings. Award-winning Spanish artist-designer Jaime Hayón brings a colorful, extroverted style to his work. The collaboration of the two became an embrace—the FAVN™ (a Danish word for embrace), a curving sofa launched in April during the Salone …

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Salmon skin leather

Touted as a guilt-free luxury furnishing, salmon skin leather offers an eco-friendly upholstery suitable for the finest yacht interiors. German company Nanai sources the skins from fish raised on organic salmon farms in Ireland. The salmon hides look similar to python skin and easily pass as an exotic leather once thoroughly treated and deodorized. The …

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Polyurethane performance fabric

June 1, 2011

Sta-Kleen® is the first polyurethane performance fabric that allows for complete erasing of marks and stains that could permanently damage other upholstery materials. “Erasable Man” presents an entertaining example to designers and manufacturers, demonstrating how stains such as ballpoint pen, permanent marker and mustard are erased from his trademark Sta-Kleen jacket. The performance fabric meets …

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Purple Haze antiqued leather introduced by Texstyle

May 31, 2011

A new leather from Texstyle/Jamie Stern offers multidimensional appeal, with color, sheen and a little bit of antiquing. The challenge was to create a durable, affordable leather with surface interest that will work in any high-traffic area. Texstyle/Jamie Stern will create a custom color in Purple Haze with only a one-hide minimum, offering the versatility …

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Chic chenille for dog day afternoons

May 20, 2011

For luxury performance textiles that can stand up to visits from four-legged friends, Chella Textiles durable solution-dyed acrylics are machine washable, lightfast and tough enough for relaxing pets. Shown is Aretha in Ash Bark and Papaia, a 100 percent solution-dyed acrylic in a luxury chenille jacquard weave; it is lightfast and machine washable, resists mildew …

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Outdoor furniture fabrics

May 1, 2011

Twitchell Corp.’s outdoor furniture fabrics from Custom Cut Fabrics, including Textilene Sunsure and the Leisuretex line, withstand the wear and tear of everyday use and prolonged exposure to the elements—rain or shine, from the elegant Bellezza for the ultimate in outdoor seating, to Diversatex, a value cushion line offering fabrics made with recyclable yarns. Some …

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Eco-friendly seating fabric

SuperFabric® materials continue to advance in commercial seating applications. Bus companies recognize the benefits of transportation SuperFabric over traditional seating materials such as vinyl, and their passengers find them to be cleaner, visually appealing and comfortable. Durable, easy to maintain, stain- and UV-resistant, SuperFabric is also environmentally friendly. SOURCE Higher Dimension Materials Inc.

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Camira Fabrics to launch designer David Fox fabric collection

April 28, 2011

Textile innovator Camira Fabrics Ltd. is collaborating with award-winning British designer David Fox to create a stunning new fabric collection for launch at this year’s NeoCon, June 13-15 at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago. Fox will make a personal appearance at the Camira booth on Tuesday, June 14, to introduce the unique fabrics. The outcome …

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Hygienic upholstery on the move

April 1, 2011

One disadvantage of public transportation is the musty smells of bodies in various stages of hygiene that get trapped in the upholstery. Moisture from sweat, spills or condensation accumulates inside the upholstery, leading to growth of mold or bacteria. The Hohenstein Institute, Bönnigheim, Germany, is researching new types of upholstery that would transport or manage …