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America’s Original Source For Home Goods Bringing Our Best To You Since 1842!

Established in 1842 Hildreth’s is America’s first and the Hamptons largest in interior and exterior home furnishings and accessories.
Including the largest selection of indoor furniture Hildreth’s carries luxurious bedding, top of the line bath towels, spa essentials, housewares, candles and hostess gifts, table linens, baby cribs, children’s clothing, gifts and toys, area rugs, lamps & lamp shades and even sewing supplies.
With over 80,000 square feet in 3 convenient locations including East Hampton and Southampton Hildreth’s celebrates its 13th generation on the East End of Long Island and being in business since 1842.
Hildreth’s experienced sales staff, designers and decorators offer the best in customer service, the finest in quality products, all for an outstanding value…

Hildreth’s bringing our best to you since 1842.

Our Blog

Established in 1842 Hildreth's Home Goods is America's oldest and the Hampton's Largest in interior and exterior home furnishings and accessories. You will find everything for any room in and around your house. In our Blog you can read about Home Decor & Design tips, and so much more. add your comments we would love to hear from you!

Filtering by Tag: furniture

Upholstery pilling

Hildreth's

A pill is a small ball of fibers that form on the face of a piece of fabric.  It is caused by abrasion on the surface of the fabric, and is considered an unsightly occurrence on furniture.

What causes pilling?

Loose fibers have a natural tendency to move to the surface of a piece of fabric, where they are subject to friction, which causes them to twist together into small balls.  Fibers that are still secured to the fabric are also twisted into the ball, so that the pill is secured to the surface of the material.

Friction is caused in the normal course of people using the furniture, rubbing against the surface of the fabric.  Laundering also causes friction – washing machines agitate fabric, causing the surfaces to rub together.

Pilling is more noticeable on man-made fibers.  This is mainly because natural fabrics shed loose fibers easily and less noticeably, while man-made fibers are notoriously strong, so the pills are anchored strongly to the fabric.

Should I send the fabric back?

It is important to note that pilling is not a fabric defect or fault, and is not covered under warranty.  It can be compared to the shedding experienced when purchasing new carpet – think about the way carpet behaves when newly installed, as there are constantly new loose fibers coming to the surface over the first few months of use.  This is completely normal and will reduce once the excess fibers are gone.

Consumers are sometimes concerned that pilling means that the fabric is wearing away and disintegrating – this is not the case.  Pilling is a normal occurrence caused by wear and tear, and does not affect the durability or functionality of the fabric.  It is easily removable.

How do I remove pilling?

The quickest and most cost effective approach is to use a battery operated pill shaver to remedy the situation.  These small, cheap appliances are available in most sewing stores or online.  A pill comb is also effective, and performs the same task manually.

If pilling reoccurs, it can simply be shaved off again.  This may occur several times, but the pilling will diminish and eventually cease once the excess fibers are removed.

 Can I buy fabric that doesn’t pill?

Since all fabrics will pill to some extent, the possibility of it happening should not be a main concern when choosing an upholstery fabric.

However, there are fabrics that are less likely to pill.  Some are treated or coated during the manufacturing process to adhere excess fiber to the surface of the fabric.  Some are also put through a singeing process, which quickly burns the excess surface fibers away.

Above: Closeup of fabric before and after singeing

Smooth, tightly woven fabrics and fabrics made from tightly twisted yarns are less likely to pill, because the fibers are held tightly in the cloth.

When a fabric is made from more than one fiber type, where one fiber is strong and one is weak (for example, poly cotton) pilling will be more noticeable, because the weaker fiber wears and breaks, while the stronger fiber holds the pills to the cloth.

 Ultimately, if you notice that your furniture is developing pills, don’t be alarmed.  It is easily remedied and does not mean your furniture is made of poor quality fabric.

Buying a Sofa

Hildreth's

You may have an idea of what you like when you begin to shop for a sofa.  There are many things to consider however before making that purchase, as many options exist as well as many price ranges.

Cushions may come in foam, down, down wrap/down blend, there are also alternatives to down, cushions may have coils/springs.  Back pillows can be attached, semi-attached, scattered.  construction can be drop in coil units, or 8 to 10 way hand tied.  Softer cushions may seat you closer to the ground causing you to have to pull yourself up and out of a sofa, where firmer cushions tend to seat you higher.  Depths (seat from front to back) vary with sofas, taller people are usually comfortable in deeper seating.  There are slipcovers you can choose, skirted sofas, non -skirted, upholstered sofas, even collage sofas.  Order a contrast welt for a different look, or 5" fringe for a more traditional dramatic effect. 

Stop in, play musical chairs, let us assess your needs and help you find what suits you best. 

What Is the Difference Between Bonded & Top Grain Leather Sofas?

Hildreth's

Just because the tag in the furniture store has the word "leather" on it does not mean a sofa's upholstery is a quality, all-natural material. Not all grades of leather, or terms with "leather" in the title, are created equally, which is why a bonded leather sofa is often far less expensive than top-grain leather.

Top Grain

Top-grain leather means leather that has been made from the top or outermost layer of cowhide. Full-grain leather is a top-grain leather that shows all its natural grain and is the most natural. If labeled as top-grain but not full-grain, the leather may be sanded or buffed out to reduce blemishes. It is not as processed as some other forms of leather, however. Top-grain leather is soft and shows natural character. A slightly lower quality top-grain leather is called corrected leather, which may be chemically treated or textured for a more uniform appearance. Corrected leather is durable but not as soft as standard top-grain leather.

Bonded Leather

"Bonded leather" indicates the material contains a small amount of leather in the material. This would be akin to using the term "wood" for pressed wood, which is made from sawdust and wood scraps combined with binding agents. Bonded leather is actually polyurethane on the exposed surface, followed by a thin layer of fabric with bits of leather scraps fused onto it. The inner fabric holds the structure together. Bonded leather is not as strong or as durable as true leather.

What Type Of Fabric Should I Use?

Hildreth's

The best fabric to use for your project depends on the look and feel you want the final product to have, however we've listed some common fabric choices for a range of projects below.

Natural Fabrics

Linen: Linen is best suited for formal living rooms or adult areas because it soils and wrinkles easily. And, it won't withstand heavy wear. However, linen does resist pilling and fading. Soiled linen upholstery must be professionally cleaned to avoid shrinkage.

Leather: This tough material can be gently vacuumed, damp-wiped as needed, and cleaned with leather conditioner or saddle soap.

Cotton: This natural fiber provides good resistance to wear, fading, and pilling. It is less resistant to soil, wrinkling, and fire. Surface treatments and blending with other fibers often atone for these weaknesses. Durability and use depend on the weave and finish. Damask weaves are formal; canvas (duck and sailcloth) is more casual and more durable.

Wool: Sturdy and durable, wool and wool blends offer good resistance to pilling, fading, wrinkling, and soil. Generally, wool is blended with a synthetic fiber to make it easier to clean and to reduce the possibility of felting the fibers (causing them to bond together until they resemble felt). Blends can be spot-cleaned when necessary.

Cotton Blend: Depending on the weave, cotton blends can be sturdy, family-friendly fabrics. A stain-resistant finish should be applied for everyday use.

Vinyl: Easy-care and less expensive than leather, vinyls are ideal for busy family living and dining rooms. Durability depends on quality.

Silk: This delicate fabric is only suitable for adult areas, such as formal living rooms. It must be professionally cleaned if soiled.

Synthetic Fabrics

Acetate: Developed as imitation silk, acetate can withstand mildew, pilling, and shrinking. However, it offers only fair resistance to soil and tends to wear, wrinkle, and fade in the sun. It's not a good choice for furniture that will get tough everyday use.

Acrylic: This synthetic fiber was developed as imitation wool. It resists wear, wrinkling, soiling, and fading. Low-quality acrylic may pill excessively in areas that receive high degrees of abrasion. High-quality acrylics are manufactured to pill significantly less.

Nylon: Rarely used alone, nylon is usually blended with other fibers to make it one of the strongest upholstery fabrics. Nylon is very resilient; in a blend, it helps eliminate the crushing of napped fabrics such as velvet. It doesn't readily soil or wrinkle, but it does tend to fade and pill.

Olefin: This is a good choice for furniture that will receive heavy wear. It has no pronounced weaknesses.

Polyester: Rarely used alone in upholstery, polyester is blended with other fibers to add wrinkle resistance, eliminate crushing of napped fabrics, and reduce fading. When blended with wool, polyester aggravates pilling problems.

Rayon: Developed as an imitation silk, linen, and cotton, rayon is durable. However, it wrinkles. Recent developments have made high-quality rayon very practical.