Quality Made Sofas

How do you determine whether  furniture is of good quality?

When shopping for new furniture most people check out the current ads to see where they should look. Almost every furniture ad says that the furniture it is advertising is a quality product. This is standard advertising but often misleading to the general public. The ads want you to believe that the stores are indeed selling quality products when in fact they may not be. They advertise different prices but still advertise quality for all. Maybe good advertising sells products but good quality keeps customers.

So how does one determine if a sofa is truly built with quality in mind?

The old adages that “you get what you pay for” and “if its too good to be true it generally is” is a good start. But let’s look deeper into what goes into making a quality sofa or chair.

The Frame:

all hardwood frame, glued and double dowelled at stress joints

Let us first start with the main structure of the piece – the frame. Frames should be made of properly dried hardwoods. They should be engineered with strong joints that will withstand years of use. Using wood dowels and lots of wood glue to hold the joints together is very important. The size of the rails, the large piece of wood on the front of the sofa, and supporting side pieces, together with proper spacing is critical for long term performance. Perhaps most important is the time and care taken assembling and gluing the frame pieces together. The frame builder must make sure the wood joints are flush and glue is oozing out of the wood to make sure the frame will withstand the abuse of consumers for years to come.

I have seen plywood , OSB(wood chips glued together) and pine used in inexpensive furniture. I have also seen plywood used in very expensive furniture. Plywood is not necessarily bad in certain situations, such as on curves, but care must be taken to properly engineer all stress joints. Plywood is composed of layers of wood that can be used in radius (curved) pieces without concern of the wood splitting with the grain. CNC machine (computer generated cutting) of plywood is very precise and with careful assembly can perform properly. Call me old fashioned but I want my frames to be made with hardwoods , want them glued, double doweled at stress joints and most importantly I want the wood assembled with care taken so that all wood joints are flush . The process is time consuming and not easy to accomplish in large production line environments. When shopping for a sofa you can often determine how well the frame is made by trying to wiggle the arms to see if they move. If they do the joints are probably not put together properly.

Dried Hardwoods:

Dowels used at stress points:

Spring System:

Now let’s talk about the spring system. The most important part about the spring system is that, whatever type is used, it must be properly spaced and the frames properly engineered to work together with the springs for years of service. No-sag springs (snake looking wire from front to back) and webbing are the least expensive and their productive life is usually limited to the life of the fabric. Coil springs are considered the most expensive and with maintenance will last for many years. You can find eight-way hand tied springs or machine-tied springs. Both will last you for years to come.

Eight-way Hand Tie:

No- Sag Springs (snake looking spring system):


Cushion stuffing can be foam, dacron , feathers and down, springs or a combination of any of these. There are many different qualities and firmnesses of foam that are typically used for standard sized cushions. Soft overstuffed cushions can be a mixture of springs (small coils wrapped in muslin) or foam in the middle with a combination of feathers , down or dacron on the outside (the envelope). This is then covered with a cushion covering. Whatever type of cushion stuffing you choose should be combined with a spring system that gives proper support. A general rule is that soft overstuffed cushions work best with a good firm spring system such as coil springs which will give a good ride while sinking into that wonderful sofa. For a firmer feel denser foam cushions on a good spring system will give better support. Often when shopping one finds really hard sofas that feel like you are sitting on a board. This usually indicates a no sag spring system or webbing with a combination of cheap foam cushions.





Cutting the Fabric and Tailoring:

nailheads on an upholstered arm

The tailoring of a sofa is what determines how visually beautiful it is. It is the most time consuming part of building a quality sofa. Each fabric stretches differently. When cushion covers are cut allowance must be taken into account for anticipated stretch. Most factories cut all the fabrics alike not taking into account this stretch. Factories test fabrics before putting them in their furniture lines. Many large factories marry certain fabrics to certain frames because of the difficulty in matching/tailoring.

At Fabrics and Frames we make each piece individually and study all fabrics thoroughly making allowance for stretch, pattern matching etc. before cutting it. It can take us 8 hours or more to properly cut the fabric for a sofa. A mass produced factory generally gang cuts their fabrics (many fabrics are cut at the same time, one on top of the other) thus all are cut alike without regard to stretching or patterns. This is definitely more efficient but does not produce a beautiful sofa. For us cutting fabrics is akin to an artist doing a painting. Many decisions are made as to where the pattern is centered or continued. We always try to match the pattern in a fabric all over the piece. The pattern will match from the back to the seat. The seat will match from the seat to the apron, the apron will match to the skirt, etc. We not only match the pattern vertically but also horizontally when we can.

Pattern Match Chairs:(follows lines in the base from the seat cushion)

Discriminating shoppers can always tell when a sofa has been upholstered with care. The fabric has been pulled tight during the upholstery process so that there are no wrinkles or loose fabric on the arms, apron, in back or outside back. When shopping for a sofa feel the arms to make sure you don’t feel the wood. We use three layers between the wood and the final fabric – cotton, dacron, and a base fabric. Also feel the back. It should be pulled tight and not feel floppy when pushed in. Saggy backs are just not attractive. The back and seat cushions should fit the frame nicely. There should not be lots of space between the cushions nor should they be too tightly squished together. At Fabrics and Frames we know that great upholsterers produce beautiful furniture that you can be happy to have in your home.

If you are the type that likes things done right ask lot of questions when shopping for furniture. To make sure you are buying from a reputable store you can also check the Better Business Bureau for complaints and resolutions the store has dealt with. Fabrics and Frames is and has been a member of the BBB for over 30 years and we have not even had a single complaint to address. This is because our craftsmen care and our owners care that we do it right. We are human and nothing is perfect but our goal is to do the best job we can – and it shows in both the new furniture we build and the furniture we reupholster. That’s why 70% of our business is from previous customers and referrals. Our goal is to make our customers “customers for life” by giving them the best product they can buy for a price they can afford!

Jim The Sofa Man

For more information about designing or where to get custom looks like these please visit our website:


We are currently located at 5322 Alpha Rd, Dallas, Texas 75240. 972-385-4097.  Please contact us if you have any questions about this blog at andy@fabricsandframes.com, and or follow us on Facebook!http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fabrics-and-Frames-Furniture/156825517684205


How Does the Pantone Color of the Season Affect the Design Industry?

How does the Pantone color affect the design industry?

What does the Pantone color system mean? The Pantone Color Matching System is largely a standardized color reproduction system that changes yearly. By standardizing the colors, many manufacturers in different locations can all refer to the Pantone system to make sure their colors match without direct contact with one another. Using the Pantone system is the standard for the design industry.

Each year the company Pantone, comes out with an array of colours, that will be most trendy for each season.  The colour of the year, is usually picked depending on the mood of the social, economic, and cultural standards.  Although there are other considerations that may be involved with choosing the color of the year.  These standards will sway the judge’s decision.

Last year, Spring 2011, the “Color of the Year” was Honeysuckle:

The question is… What color is the “Color of the Year” for 2012?

Over the summer of 2011, we learned that “Ice Cream Colors” were going to be real trendy for 2011…”Ice Cream Colors” consisted of vibrant, intense colors that varied from cool colors to warm colors.  Some examples of these tones are viewed below.

Many fabric designers put out lines that consisted of these colors this year.  Some examples were Duralee’s Line of Fabrics by designer  Eileen Kathryn Boyd, Kravet’s Weaves Collection, which featured books such as Sorbet, and Greehouse Fabrics put out a book called Eclectic Essentials, which feature some of the trendiest pattern styles (such as IKATS, and geometrics) in vibrant colors.  To understand the intensity of the look for summer season 2011, I have provided pictures below:

Eileen Kathryn Boyd Fabrics for Duralee:

Kravet: Weaves collection Sorbet Edition

Greenhouse Fabrics: Eclectic Elements

Since 2012 has not come yet, we are unsure what colours are upcoming for 2012. But we have predictions!  We still have bright colors that will be introduced in this upcoming season’s line, but we see that they have a little twist…

2012 Predicted Pantone Colours:

Comparing the colors that were chosen for 2011 to the new ones coming for 2012, we see that the vibrant pastel colors of 2011 are being replaced with more vibrant warm colors, deep rich “sodalite” blue, and vibrant cool tones . Throughout 2011  we as designers have seen gray become the new neutral…meaning that it will either coincide with  or replace beige in the home.

As a designer, my predictions are that the average consumer will use these tones as a pop of color in the room, following more of a block coloring system within the interior make up.  Most of these colors are very vibrant, and will not give you a soothing, calming experience. This is not to say that there are not some combinations within the chosen colors that can create a more tranquil experience.  Remember at the beginning of this blog, I stated that colors are chosen for the season based on the economic, cultural state of the average consumer.  Whichever color you choose to use in your home should make you feel happy.  This will vary depending on your personal tastes.

To find out more about Pantone Colors, you can visit:



If you have any questions, or want to find the best solution for one of your furniture problems you can contact us at:


We are currently located at 5322 Alpha Rd, Dallas, Texas 75240. 972-385-4097.  Please contact us if you have any questions about this blog at andy@fabricsandframes.com, and or follow us on Facebook!http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fabrics-and-Frames-Furniture/156825517684205

 Written By: Erica Guajard
Edited By: Linda Decuir

My dog ate the sofa…”What do I do?”

Have you ever come home to something similar to this???

Well, we may have the solution!!!  Did you know that dogs chew on furniture, because of boredom, teething, or enjoyment (remember that they see it as “it’s fun to tear stuff up”).  We all dread the “puppy stage”, mainly because we all know that they will eventually destroy something of ours that we value.

Dogs are mostly attracted to the foam that is inside the sofa or piece of furniture. This is one reason they attack upholstered furniture so often.  Dogs are not the only animals that like to do this.  Have you ever had outdoor furniture, and squirrels and birds attack it?  The reason for this is because they use the foam for nesting purposes.  Regardless of the reason, once the damage has taken place, you are left with the question: “What should I do?”.  Most people would naturally look for a new sofa.  We have a better solution, if the damage is not too bad. Repairing the damaged area is often the better solution.  Occasionally, animals will attack fabric sofas with clawing or nibbling, but when they are left alone with a good smelling leather sofa they want to tear it to pieces.

Don’t worry, here at Fabrics and Frames Furniture we see this on a regular basis and know exactly how to repair it.  We can usually find a similar grain and color leather or vinyl that matches the leather piece as close as possible to repair the damaged area.  If for some reason we can not get a close enough match, then we will try to recycle a piece of leather from the existing piece that may not be seen or touched too often. This will often come from the back of the sofa. If the damage is done on a fabric sofa, we can either take extra fabric from the back or we might be able to get the fabric from the deck (under the cushions) on self-decked sofas.

Grabbing leather or fabric from the sofa ensures that you should not be able to tell that there was a repair made to the sofa. If we can not match the color or textures exactly to the original material, then  you may be able to see that a repair was done but we always try to make the repair as inconspicuous as possible.

As a manufacturer of custom furniture, we are able to guide you to the most economical solution to the damaged sofa or piece of furniture.  We understand that repairing a sofa doesn’t come cheap, and that depending on the value of your particular piece may not always be the best solution.  We usually recommend repairs for individuals that have a uniquely styled piece of furniture, heirloom, or well constructed piece. As long as the base structure of the sofa is in good condition, then we can find a solution for you.

So…What if I don’t have a dog but have kids, friends or spouses who left a stain on my sofa?

Answer:  We can use the same process… Once again, as long as the base structure of the sofa is in good condition, we can alomst always find coordinating fabrics (pattern, textures, or solids) to fix the problem area.  Below are some examples of looks that you can achieve regardless if you are contemporary or traditional using a combination of different fabrics. If you have a problem we usually have a solution!!!

If you have any questions, or want to find the best solution for one of your furniture problems you can contact us at:


We are currently located at 5322 Alpha Rd, Dallas, Texas 75240. 972-385-4097.  Please contact us if you have any questions about this blog at andy@fabricsandframes.com, and or follow us on Facebook!http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fabrics-and-Frames-Furniture/156825517684205

Written By: Erica Guajardo

Edited By: Linda Decuir

How is the quality of your sofa determined by the spring system?

We are often asked how to determine whether a sofa or chair is a good piece of furniture that is worthy of being reupholstered. One of the best ways is to inspect the spring system. When we reupholster furniture we see the insides of sofas made by other furniture manufacturers. The spring systems vary widely depending on the original manufacturer. At Fabrics and Frames Furniture most of our furniture has coil springs that are either machine tied or eight-way hand tied.

There are many different spring systems used in sofas today. Some utilize metal springs while others use flexible webbing. What is the difference in each of these systems?

 Metal Spring System:(machine tied coil unit)

Flexible Webbing System:

The oldest and considered possibly the best spring system is the eight-way hand tied coil springs system. All of the coil springs are tied together in eight different ways and thus when you sit at one end of the sofa it is actually getting support from the entire spring system. In addition the coils may be up to 8″ tall and when you sit on them you have a nice ride up and down that is very comfortable. This system does require maintenance over the years. The nylon or jute twine that is used to tie the springs together will eventually stretch or break over years of use. The eight-way system when done right using nylon twine should last many years. Actual knots rather than loops between the springs is important to ensure the springs will remain tight. Many furniture factories pay what is called piece work to their furniture builders. Since workers get paid based on how many sofas that they tie in one day some attention to detail is lost and loops rather than knots sometimes is done. When we reupholster existing sofas we often see coil springs that are loose and need to be retied because of use of loops rather than knots together with age. When we retie them we do it with knots not loops. A sofa for example will take us about 8 hours to tie properly while others made by many massed produced North Carolina companies take about an hour and half. Why the big difference ? We take the time to do it right.

Eight-Way hand tie spring system:

Another coil spring system we use is the machine tied coil unit. Since the coils are tied by metal wire there are no strings that stretch or break. We support the coil unit by hardwood braces which will hold the springs in place . Maintenance of this system is almost non existent since metal does not break or stretch like string. We use this system when making most of our furniture. The most prevalent metal spring system used by other manufacturers is a sinuous wire that is clipped to the front and the back of the sofa. It is shaped like a long snake. This is the most cost effective (cheapest) metal spring system available. Spring spacing is critical. This system can bottom out and loose it resilience with heavy usage. A lot of the less expensive sofas will have this spring system. When this system no longer supports properly it must be replaced. We have had clients that sank in their furniture (too soft and hard to get out of) and thought firmer cushions would cure the problem when it was actually the springs. When a client has a sofa that does not need to be reupholstered we have a remedy for this – we fill the bottom of the sofa (under the springs) with foam to prevent the spring from bottoming out.

Examples of Different Types of Inexpensive Spring Systems:

Sinuous Wire Spring System:

Many of the newer leather manufacturers use webbing as their support system. This system cost a lot less than coils and the “ride” is limited and obviously not long term. Spacing and proper installation are critical.

Whatever spring system is used can give years of service if it is done properly . Softer seat cushions perform better on coil springs that ride up and down for support. Webbing suspension has a limited ride and the senuous wire tends to bottom out and these are better matched with firmer cushions. Whatever system your sofa has now can be changed or reworked when it is being reupholstered but limited options are available if you do not want to reupholster.

Comfort in seating is the result of cushions, springs, pitch and depth . At Fabrics and Frames we have showroom samples that combine all of these options to achieve what we believe are comfortable high-quality made sofas by craftsmen who care. If you have any questions about your sofa or ours contact us – we would love to hear from you and answer any questions you may have.

Jim The Sofa Man

  For more information about designing or where to get custom looks like these please visit our website:


We are currently located at 5322 Alpha Rd, Dallas, Texas 75240. 972-385-4097.  Please contact us if you have any questions about this blog at andy@fabricsandframes.com, and or follow us on Facebook!http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fabrics-and-Frames-Furniture/156825517684205

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