How To Estimate Upholstery Fabric Yardage
The time has come. You've decided that your couch or chair's old fabric needs an urgent refresh. You hop online to shop for new upholstery. After browsing for a while, you come across the perfect fit and go to hit the order button. But then you pause, having remembered something important.
"Wait—how much of this do I need?"
Before you can place your order, you need to determine precisely how much fabric you need to cover the furniture’s cushions and backing. Getting the right measurements for your project can be a tricky, finicky process. To make it less complex and frustrating, we've put together a guide on how to estimate upholstery fabric yardage. Read on to learn how to measure your furniture's cushions and frame correctly.
What Do You Need To Measure Your Furniture?
Not much! In fact, you probably already have the tools you need tucked away in a drawer somewhere. You'll need a sturdy tape measure to take your measurements and paper and a pen to jot down these measurements.
You'll also need a calculator to add your measurements and convert them to yards.
You may also want to clear off a smooth, solid surface (like your dining or coffee table) so that you can place your cushions there while you measure them.
How Much Fabric Do I Need?
Accurately calculating how much fabric you need is important. The last thing you want is to overorder and waste money or under-order and risk running out of material mid-project. The amount of fabric you need for your project can vary dramatically based on the type of furniture you're working with and the fabric that you are planning to use.
Fortunately, measuring your furniture to determine yardage isn't rocket science. It's easier than it sounds, even if you're not a whiz at math! We explain how to estimate upholstery fabric yardage step-by-step below.
Measure the Cushions
To start, you need to get your cushions' measurements. Pick up an individual cushion, place it on a stable surface, and use your tape measure to measure its length and width in inches. Then, multiply the length by two. This ensures you'll have enough fabric for both the top and bottom faces of the cushion. Next, add an inch to both the length and width to account for the seams. If your cushion has prominent sides, you’ll need to measure those as well. Take the length and width of one side and multiply by two. Then, add these measurements to your original ones.
You’re almost done with the cushions! Add two inches to your final measurement to account for the seams, then convert your measurements to yards. To do this, add the length and width, then divide by 36. The resulting number is the amount of yardage you'll need to upholster one cushion. If your furniture has two cushions, double your measurement; if it has three, triple it, and so on and so forth.
If your furniture has no backside, you're done! You can purchase your fabric and get your project underway once it arrives. But if your furniture does have a backside, there's one last step you need to complete.
Measure the Frame
If your furniture has a backside that you want to cover, you also need to measure the item’s frame. Measuring the frame is slightly more complicated than measuring the cushions, so take your time and follow these next instructions closely.
From end to end, measure the length and width of the outside of the back, adding an inch to each measurement to account for the seams. Then, convert these measurements into yards by adding them together and dividing by 36. Repeat for the inside of the back. You'll need to reference these two numbers again later, but you can set them aside for now.
Now you need to measure the rest of the frame. Start by measuring the width of your armrests, adding a few inches to the measurement to ensure you have enough fabric to drape across their front faces. To measure the length of your armrest, place the tip of your tape measure at the armrest’s starting point and wrap it around to the bottom of the outer edge. After obtaining your measurements for one armrest, double your numbers to get the total needed for both.
The last thing you need to measure is the small section of frame beneath the cushions, commonly called the front rail. Note the length and width of this rail.
Once you have all your frame measurements, add an inch to each to account for the seams. Then, add your front rail and armrest measurements. Convert this measurement to yards, then add it to the backing measurements (the two numbers you set aside earlier) to get the total yardage for your backing. Note print fabric will require additional fabric, depending on the scale of the print and how you want to match the print across the furniture. For smaller repeats (patterns) you can multiply your calculation by 1.5. A larger pattern might require as much as 2x as a plain fabric to enable you to lay out the pattern on the furniture in the most advantaged way.
With that, you're done! When your measurements are all ready to go, you can place your order feeling confident you'll have enough fabric to cover the entire piece. Determining yardage takes a bit of time and calculation, but with a trusty tape measure and calculator in hand, you can get the job done. We hope these instructions have helped you figure out the necessary math to start your project off on the right foot.
If you need to purchase high-quality fabric by the yard for your next upholstery endeavor, the Fabric Outlet can lend a hand. We're an upholstery fabric outlet that carries over 300,000 yards of fabrics in different materials, colors, patterns, and textures. Whether you need a shiny and luxurious velvet for your chaise longue or a durable canvas that will hold its own against your kids' and pets' messes, we've got you covered. Explore your options today! With so many beautiful and affordable choices, shopping for fabric has never been more fun.