Get insider information about our sales and special events.

Upholstery Material • Measuring Upholstery Material • Upholstery Fabric


Upholstery Fabric

From Easy Upholstery Step - by- Step

Measuring Upholstery Material
& Estimating Yardage

Measuring material for upholstery must be done before starting work on the furniture, since the dimensions of the frame after stripping off the old materials are significantly less than those of the finished article.

Write down the measurements of each surface of the chair in both directions, as shown in the diagram, taking the widest point of that surface. For example, in the chair shown, the widest part of the arm is around the scroll at the front of the arm, while that of the inner back is just above the arms. Measure round the frame and down inside the chair where appropriate. For example, for the inside back piece, measure from the back of the frame at the top to the base of the frame at the bottom.

The next step is to plan the cutting layout. Note that upholstery fabrics are usually between 54 inches (137 cm) and 60 inches (152 cm) wide. It is sometimes impossible to cut the fabric for two surfaces of a chair from one width of fabric, e.g. the two inside arms may be cut side by side, so the length measurement for the two surfaces need only be written down once. Similarly, the inside and outside back pieces can sometimes be cut side by side if you have a small chair, so just add into the total longer the two back measurements. Small pieces, such as the fronts of arms, can usually be cut from fabric left over after the seat has been cut out.

Extra fabric is needed for matching up patterns. As a rough guide, add 1 yard (1 meter) for matching up a chair and 2-3 yards (2-3 meters) for matching the pattern on a sofa. Make a pattern on graph paper before you cut any pieces out. The chair in the diagram takes 4-1/3 yards (3.93 meters) or 4-1/2 yards (4 meters) rounded up to the nearest half yard (meter). As a rough guide, add 1 yard (1 meter) to this if there is a pattern which will need to be matched on the chair pieces. Piping takes another 1 yard (1 meter) for the chair plus 1/2 yard (0.5 metre) for every additional seat cushion, using either the same fabric as the chair or a contrast fabric. All the measurements shown in the cutting layout opposite have a 2 inch (5 cm) seam allowance added.

Cut out all pieces as rectangles of fabric at this stage as shown in the cutting layout. They will not be cut to shape until they are being fitted to the chair. Always mark the center top and bottom of each piece after you have cut it out. Clip it with scissors - do not use pins, which could fall out.