In its almost 40-year-history, Needle Nicely has used two pillow finishers. One was in Hickory, NC. The most recent was in St Louis. But, horror of horrors, all of the St Louis finishers (under one business name) decided to retire. They did give me several months warning so I could scrutinize the work of available finishers. I made my selection 2 1/2 months ago. Finishers and shops have different ways to deal with what fabric will be used in the finishing. Some always provide the fabric; others offer only velveteens. In North Carolina, I would drive to the finisher and select fabrics from her inventory or NN would provide special fabrics. In dealing with a finisher so far removed from us in Mo, Trubey and I decided to provide all fabrics other than velveteens. Velveteens are difficult to find in Florida and are primarily used for Christmas stockings. In Florida, customers rarely want velveteen as the backing of a pillow unless it will be used "up North". Another reason for providing the fabric, and perhaps the most important, is to control the color match. Trubey and I both have a good eye for color, much better than the average. I'd rather take the responsibility for the color match, rather than rely on someone else. As a result, over the years I would go to fabric stores and purchase yardage of various colors. I would cut a 3"x 6" piece of the fabric to keep at Needle Nicely and send the remainder of the fabric to St Louis. NN's customers would select fabric from our pieces and we would clip 2 small samples--one for our work order and one to be attached to the needlepoint. The system worked marvelously for years. UNTIL they retired and had to ship the unused fabric back to NN. And we had to scramble to find space for it.
The fabric takes up 5 bookcases in NN's back room. Now when we send needlepoint to the finisher, we select the fabric, clip a small sample to attach to the work order, and fold the needlepoint around the fabric for shipment to the finisher. Here are our bookcases of fabric: