(pronounced like the initials: see-eff-ay)
Those in the business world recognize this as an acronym for Certified Financial Analyst, but we designers know that it really stands for Cutting For Approval, a vital tool in our crazy biz. Since dye lots on textiles can (and will) vary, you never know exactly what you are going to get when you purchase or specify one (especially if it’s composed primarily of natural fiber). So, when a particular color or textile is the nexus of a design, the safest thing to do is request a CFA when the yardage is ordered. When the amount is reserved, then the mill will send the person who placed the order a cutting. You then compare that cutting to the sample that you had originally, which you probably procured from a showroom or a friendly local manufacturer’s rep. Hopefully, that original sample was current (and had not been fading in the sun or made with different dyes), and the dye lots will be close enough to satisfy all parties. You will then sign off on the cutting, the order will proceed, and the fabric will ship to wherever it needs to go next: the furniture manufacturer, the workroom, the showroom, or you directly. Oh, and the side effect of requesting a CFA is that the product at the mill will be reserved as “yours” (i.e., no one else can steal it out from under you) because the manufacturer will need to know how much quantity you will need before they will even send you a cutting. Why? Because why send you a cutting of a dye lot containing only 554 yards when your project requires 835, silly?