This term is best described as the orientation of the threads or patterns in a fabric. In other words we refer to this as how the design is directed on the roll from edge to edge, that is, the width of the fabric.
So if you have a striped upholstery fabric, these will go from edge to edge and not all the way to the end of the roll.
Having a railroaded textile allows you to cover the entire width of a sofa or armchair in one horizontal, seamless piece of fabric.
In the case of smooth fabrics, they can be turned to any side and no matter which direction it is, it will look the same. However, when it comes to Jacquard fabrics or prints with a specific design, the direction in which it is placed is extremely important, since the repetition can vary, it can be vertical, horizontal, larger or smaller.
Whether a pattern is linear or not can make a big difference in its application capabilities and how the fabric can tie into a product.
For example, there are times when the common fabric width of 54" is not enough to cover the space of a piece of furniture. In the case of having a very long cushion that exceeds the width of the fabric, instead of placing one or two seams you could try to find the pattern or with this type of direction and be able to cross it without seams. The same would happen with the backs of the sofas.
Sometimes it is more efficient to cut fabric that is railroaded, even if it does not have a large extent because the pattern may be unusual and difficult to match.
Author | Jimena Chavez