What is the difference between Railroad and Standard position fabrics
Have you ever spoken with someone in a profession who seems to be talking over your head on purpose? Many times I feel this way when talking to the mechanic. I don't know where my ball joints are... much less what can go wrong with them. For all I know they could have arthritis.
In every profession there are terms that the general public wouldn't have a clue what the professional was talking about. Today we will tackle one of those issues in the upholstery world. The terms I want to deal with are "railroad" and "standard" position. I want to explain what they mean technically, and explain what they mean for your project.
Lets speak technically for a moment. The term "standard" means that the up position of your fabric is correct from the cut edge toward the roll. Imagine a fabric with a definite picture in the print, like our very own Mandarin Pewter. The little people are facing "up" toward the roll.
Railroad means that the pattern is "up" when you turn the roll sideways. Think about a fancy fabric like Onyx Stripe. Here the stripe are up and down when you turn the fabric roll up on its ends. So from the selvage edge to the other selvage edge is "up"
See the example below for more clarification.
Example of Standard position fabric and Railroad fabric
What exactly does this mean for you though? I mean who really cares? Well it means two things. One, consider the length and width of your project. Let's say you wanted a fabric with little people on it for your drapes, but it was printed in the railroad position. If you ran the fabric up the length of the window, the little people would all look like they were lying down.
Or let's think about a long couch. If you had a standard position fabric, you would have to seam the fabric together to make it wide enough to cover the long pieces, like the back. This can cost you extra fabric, and could change the look of your project. If you chose a fabric with a railroaded print you might be able to purchase a smaller length.
Railroad and standard position make a difference in how much fabric you will need for your project and the over all ascetic when you are done. Remember, we are always happy to help you choose the perfect pattern for your project!