Upholstery Tip – How to Measure For Fabric Requirements

The first step to any successful reupholstery project is to choose some great fabric. But how much to purchase? Good upholstery fabric can be pricey, so you don’t want to buy more than you have to, but it’s even worse to buy not enough!

20130508-073827.jpgLet’s measure an average chair. This one has a seat and back cushion. I am removing the skirt, so it will not be included.

20130508-074235.jpgBegin with the inside back. Measure from side to side first (always!) and then up and down. Allow an extra 2 to 3 inches for extra padding and folding under.

20130508-074518.jpgNext, measure the arms. The fabric runs down the arm, so measure along the top for your first measurement. When measuring at the bottom, you need only allow for what is visible. A “pull” (scrap of fabric) will be sewn to the bottom to allow for pulling and stapling.

20130508-074943.jpgNext comes the outside back measurement and then the outside arms.

20130508-075046.jpgThe seat edge measurement is quite wide on this chair, because of the “T front”.

20130508-075223.jpgThe cushions are wide also for this reason. Always measure at the widest point! On a seat cushion, you will have to measure the border as well, and take into account the piping.

20130508-075425.jpgThis back cushion has no border, just piping. Piping is cut 1 1/2″ wide.

My cut list looks like this:

IB – 36 X 32
IA – 32 X 27
OB – 30 X 30
OA – 27 X 18
ST ED – 47 X 18
ST CUSH – 31 X 29
BORDER + PP – 108 X 8
BK CUSH – 36 X 24
DECK – 27 X 27 *since the deck is not seen, it can be cut out of the off cuts and sewn together to save fabric.

Now that we have our cut list, we have to make a rough layout on paper. Be sure to account for two arms, and two cushion panels per cushion!

20130508-081713.jpgThe next step is to add up all your measurements. Mine adds up to 274″.

20130508-082034.jpgYou’ll divide that number by 36 (inches in a yard) to get 7.6. Round up to 8 yards. There is quite a bit of scrap here, because of the large measurements. It can be used for armcaps or toss pillows. Please note **if you choose a large scale pattern always purchase 25% more to take into account the matching!

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