Do you really need a CFA?

CFA or Cutting for Approval, do you really need one?

Yes, it does take time but in the long run it saves time and money. If the dye lot comes in different from the swatch or memo then that fabric can’t be used. And never cut into a bolt of fabric until the CFA is approved because if you do, and it’s wrong, then you just bought yourself some fabric. So if you or the designer thinks that CFAs are a waste of time, think again.

Choosing the right fabric for a job is both a fun and a serious search. We all love sifting through sample books and memos to find just the right fabric, color and texture. Getting the color right is just as important as selecting the correct type of fabric.

Our assignment was to find a light gray linen blend. Not to green, not too pink, slightly on the blue side and blends with the wall color – you get the picture. We must have gone through about 50 swatches of gray linen before we found just the right one. And then -eureka! Found it!

For this master bedroom we needed 63 yards for 5 windows. Yardage was checked at the warehouse. They had 2 bolts of 11 yards and 53 yards. Now, those 2 bolts could be the same dye lot or not. So we asked for a CFA from both bolts. And wouldn’t you know it, the dye lots didn’t match. Not even close.

We requested a new bolt and the warehouse got a whole new bolt from the mill. It took an extra week but it was worth it. All of the yardage came in on one bolt and it was the perfect color. Continuous yardage is always preferred for each room over several bolts.

So requesting that CFA only took an extra week and we got all of the yardage on one bolt. Definitely worth getting the CFA and the wait!

Types of Threads

Thread – Something so small is so important to a successful sewing project. In this blog post we will share with you our favorite types of thread. This list doesn’t include every thread out there so if your favorite isn’t here please tell us what it is in the comments below.

First there is the thread work horse that we have all used forever – Coats and Clark All Purpose sewing thread. It’s great for everything from clothing to bed skirts and comes in a zillion colors.

Serger thread on cones is also another universal thread with the same uses and size as Coats and Clark.

#69 Bonded nylon upholstery thread Tex 70. Love this one! This ultra strong has a variety of uses from slipcovers to really thick drapery pleats and comes in many colors but not as many as regular sewing thread. The outdoor version has only a few basic colors. This thread works best in industrial walking foot sewing machines because it is too thick for most machines.

Gutterman Skala 200 dtex 150(1) thread blind stitch thread and Serafil 200/2 blind stitch thread are both great for blind hemmers. I also use them for hand stitching drapery panel side hems and hand sewing trim. They are very fine but also very strong.

Button thread #16 Tex 106 is an extra strong glazed cotton thread and comes in more than two dozen colors. Although it has many uses we love this one for sewing shade rings on roman shades. It holds a knot very well.

Silamide Waxed Hand Sewing thread comes in skeins and is great for hand sewing.

These are just a few of the many threads that are available to us. Each thread also has many different applications. What are your favorite threads and how do you use them? Please let us know in the comment section below.

What is Thread Weight?

Threads and fabrics are the two most common and important elements in all types of sewing. In fabricating soft furnishings for the home, it is necessary for a good finished product to use elements that are suited for the application.

Let’s talk about thread. Using the correct thread can be the difference between success and failure. We wouldn’t use upholstery thread for sheers or a fine hand sewing thread for slipcovers. Therefore, it is important to know the correct size or weight of thread to use for each item to be sewn.

What is thread weight? We all see those numbers next to the thread name. Did you ever wonder what those numbers mean? Thread is weighed or measured in 5 different ways: Weight (WT), Denier (Td or d), Tex (T), Number, and Composition.

Weight is a length measurement and is determined by measuring the length of one gram of thread. If one gram of thread is 30 meters long then it is 30 weight thread. The higher the number the finer the thread.

Denier is also a thread length measurement and is the weight of 9000 meters of thread. The larger the denier number, the heavier the thread.

Tex is the most consistent of the thread measurement systems. It measures 1000 meters of thread in grams. One thousand meters of thread that weighs one gram is 1Tex. The higher the Tex number the thicker the thread.

The Number System was developed in Japan and is called the Gunze Count system. It is used on finer thread and should not be confused with a weight measurement. It is designated as No. 50 or #50 for example. The smaller the number the heavier the thread is.

The Composition Standard was developed for cotton thread but has also been used for polyester. This can be confusing because a cotton thread and a polyester thread with the similar numbers aren’t always exactly the same. Compare cotton to cotton and polyester to polyester. Let’s look at a 30/3 thread. The first number is the same as the Number System explained above. The second number is the number of plies of thread twisted together. For our example, a 30/3 thread is a No. 30 thread with 3 plies twisted together.

So now that we know what those numbers mean, selecting the correct thread for the job is based on more than just guess work. With this knowledge we can also compare different threads for the qualities we need knowing that the job will go easier with the correct thread. Knowledge saves us time and money.

Happy sewing!