The generic name for any hardwearing, inexpensive twill or plain weave, dyed or loomstate cloth used to hide the workings of upholstery. Platform linings are is tacked to the underside of all chairs, sofas and to the backs of headboards for a tidy finish, and also to protect from dust, spiders and rodents. There are many and varied types of fabric under this umbrella, so much so that in fact any fabric used to do the covering-up job can be called platform. In our workroom we would keep 3-4 different ‘platform’ fabrics in stock – a light weight black twill weave, a heavy weight black twill, an off white canvas and a loom state linen. Any of these could be used on their own, as fabrics in their own right, once they’ve been fully washed both to shrink and soften them.
A good quality platform lining is often used on the upholstered seats of chairs and sofas which will be covered by loose cushions. This can be for economic reason, to save the cost of expensive upholstery fabric in an area that is not normally seen. However, it is essential when the main fabric has a pile or nap, because the two fabrics will otherwise work against each other: the bottom of the cushion will ‘walk’ and constantly slip forwards off the seat, which is very annoying.
When the upholstery fabric is very expensive, limited or rare, platform cloth can be used for most of the unseen areas – at the bottoms and backs of inside backs and arms for example, and for seat, leaving just a border at the front where it will be seen in the main fabric.
We’ve often used the heaviest black twill sandwiched between the interlining and the lining to make properly blackout curtaining – very effective and without the need for plastic coated linings, which are far less friendly.