Tricks of the Trade for Upholsterers and Canvas Workers

hands using professional industrial sewing machine for upholstery

Intro to Sewing

Whether you’re sewing upholstery fabric or working with marine canvas or vinyl, the thick fabrics require a unique and flexible skillset, as well as a slew of specific tools. With over 9,000 products available and nationwide distribution, Trivantage has everything upholsterers and canvas workers need, all in one place. Still, we realize that having what you need to do a project doesn’t cover everything you need to know to do it well.

That’s why we’ve compiled a list of both common and lesser known sewing tips for seasoned upholsterers and beginners alike. Whether you’re new to upholstering, or you routinely design and craft bimini tops, and reupholster ottomans, you’ll find plenty here that’s useful.

For additional video guidance, check out our full Sewing Machine Series featuring key tips & tricks in partnership with Bill’s Sewing Machine Company.

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Starting with the Right Tools

masculine hands threading white juki industrial sewing machine
  • 1. Use the Right Sewing Machine
  • 2. Use the Right Thread
  • 3. Use the Right Needle
  • 4. Use Clips, Not Pins
  • Cutting Tools and Hotknives

    masculine hands demonstrating a professional hotknife cutting blue fabric
  • 5. Use the Right Cutting Tool
  • 6. Stay Safe Around Hotknifed Edges
  • Measuring, Cutting, & Sewing

    feminine hands next to shears using industrial sewing machine for marine fabric upholstery
  • 7. Measure Twice, Cut Once
  • 8. Avoid Needle Pucker
  • 9. Create Better Seams and Hems
  • 10. Layer Up for Fasteners
  • 11. How to Sew in Straight Lines
  • Tips for Working with Binding

    close up textured view of different colors of binding for professional upholstery and industrial sewing
  • 12. Plan Ahead When Working with Binding
  • 13. Prevent Needle Gumming when Using Basting Tape
  • Choosing the Right Fabric

    Different applications require different fabrics, just like certain materials need special tools in order to fabricate a high-quality product. Learn more about heavy vinyl fabric, double rub ratings, and recycling excess fabric below.

  • 14. Sewing with Heavy Vinyl Fabric
  • 15. Why is a Double Rub Rating Important?
  • 16. Recycle Excess Fabric
  • Maintaining Your Machine

    From a Singer heavy duty sewing machine to a serger, all sewing machines perform at their best when regularly maintained and cleaned. What does it mean to clean and maintain your machine regularly? Here are some standard maintenance and cleaning tips that apply to all sewing machine types:

  • 16. Always Clean and Maintain Your Machine
  • More Trivantage Resources

    So there you have it: A treasure trove of advice that should make sewing upholstery and working with heavy fabric and canvas easier and more predictable. If you’d like more tips and tricks, check out the many tutorials and explainers in our Video Library today.

    Final Note

    The purpose of this guide is to give fabricators some general guidelines and product information. Read all our Product Guides.

    This guide should not be considered as the sole source of information on sewing. This guide is strictly informational.

    Please reach out to your local customer care team for more guidance.