Stiffeners on Furniture Skirts

Should you use a Skirt Stiffener?

To answer the question of whether or not to use a stiffener, you need to look at the purpose and use of a stiffener. Whether or not you need a stiffener often is determined by the type of fabric, the method of skirt construction, and the type of furniture that has the skirt.

There are several methods for making a skirt.

  • Many upholsterers sew all the pieces of the skirts and the top welt together. This method usually involves sewing a separate lining fabric to the back of the skirt flaps. This is the way that I used to do it for many years. However, I was never quite happy with the way that skirts looked. Whenever you sew a number of pieces together that all have to hang loose, it is very typical for the pieces to hang a just little uneven. Because of the differences between the weight of the upholstery fabric
    and the lining fabric, sewing the lining on can make the skirt buckle
    just a little. Using the skirt stiffener helps to keep the skirt hang
    smoother. You can get Skirtex (Skirt stiffener) at many upholstery suppliers. In any case, having the skirt stiffener is very helpful.
  • Another method of making skirts. In recent years I have learned to staple the welt onto the furniture separately, then to put the skirt flaps on individually. Since the skirt flaps are just a piece of fabric folded over, the only seams in the skirt flaps are just at the ends. By carefully stapling the flaps on individually, it is much easier to have smoother hanging skirts, thus mostly eliminating, or minimizing the need for a skirt stiffener. However, a skirt stiffener may still be needed in some cases.

I generally haven't used skirt stiffeners because folding the fabric over serves a very similar function as the skirt stiffener. Also, because there is no seam along the bottom of the skirt, the skirt is much smoother and has less need for a stiffener to keep it straight.

I'd say, if you want to use the stiffener, go ahead. It is very helpful.

When using the stiffener, you don't need to sew it into any seams. Just put inside the skirt to hang loosely. The make the skirt long enough (or cut the skirt stiffener down) so that it doesn't get sewn in the top seam. The height of the stiffener should fill almost the whole height of the skirt, but just a bit short so that the skirt will fold over at the top.

 

Stephen

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