How to calculate fabric yardage for a chair cushion

Written by louise harding
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Chairs evolved from the simple bench as a way to sit above the ground and keep out of the elements. According to Random History, "Archaeological evidence of sculptural relics at Neolithic building sites suggest chair and bench-like areas, so it appears that chairs emerged during the Stone Age." The purchase of chairs and sofas are expensive household furniture investments. With typical wear and age, a chair eventually needs to be replaced or re-covered. Sewing chair cushions is a way to save on the expense and prolong the life of the chair. Calculating for fabric for the cushion is an easy process.

Skill level:
Challenging

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Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Chair cushion

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Measure the width of the chair cushion. As an example, we'll use a cushion that is 26 inches wide.

  2. 2

    Measure the length of the chair cushion. Multiply this measurement by two to include both sides of the chair cushion. Our example: 32 inches length multiplied by two is a measurement of 64 inches length.

  3. 3

    Measure the depth of the cushion from the top edge to the bottom edge. This will be used in the sides of the cushion called the gusset. A gusset is a rectangular piece of fabric added to the top and bottom of the cover to give depth. (If the cushion is flat, measure the thickness of the cushion.) Our example cushion has a depth of 5 inches.

  4. 4

    There are four gussets to each cushion. The right- and left-side gussets will be cut to the cushion's length by the cushion's depth. Think of the depth as being the width measurement in the rectangular shape. (The example measurements will be detailed in Step 7).

  5. 5

    The cushion's front and the back gussets will be cut to the cushion's width by the cushion's depth. This time, think of the cushion's width as the length of the rectangular gusset. And again, think of the depth as being the width measurement in the rectangular shape. (The example measurements will be detailed in Step 7).

  6. 6

    Adjust the gusset measurements to allow for seams. Add 3 inches to the depth measurement for the gusset piece with the zipper. This extra fabric will allow for a hem around the zipper so no raw fabric is visible. Add 2 inches to the depth and the length measurement of each gusset. (The example measurements will be detailed in Step 7).

  7. 7

    Calculate the yardage for the cushion top and bottom. Use the length measurement from Step 2 for how many yards you'll need for the cushion top and bottom. A standard yard is 44 inches wide and 36 inches long. The width needed is included with the fabric for the length. Using our example cushion: A chair cushion measuring 26 inches wide by 32 inches long would need 1.7 yards (64 inches) for the top and bottom of the cushion. There will be excess fabric.

  8. 8

    Figure the yardage needed for the gussets. Using our example measurements of a chair cushion measuring 26 inches wide by 32 inches long, with a depth of 5 inches, we'll need two gussets measuring 34 inches long by 7 inches wide; one gusset measuring 28 inches long by 7 inches wide; and one gusset for the zipper side measuring 28 inches long by 8 inches wide. You will need almost 1 yard to cut four gussets measuring 29 inches long when cut horizontally in four rows from the fabric. There will be excess fabric.

  9. 9

    Add the yardage. Our example cushion would require fabric measuring 44 inches wide by 93 inches long, amounting to 2.58 yards of fabric. Buy 3 yards of fabric if the fabric store will not make exact cuts.

Tips and warnings

  • Sometimes drawing the chair cushion in 3-D and labelling the parts with the measurements helps give the you a clearer idea of what fabric will go where.

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