How to determine how much fabric is needed to recover a chair?

When that comfortable chair in the corner looks a little threadbare, but it still has some structural life in it, consider reupholstering it to give it a fresh look. Whether you plan to do the work yourself or you will be purchasing the fabric to furnish to a professional, the first step involves determining how much material you need to recover the chair. Take careful measurements to ensure that you purchase enough fabric.

Draw a simple diagram of the chair to enable you to label the different parts of it with measurements. Include the inside back, inside arms, outside back, outside arms, the scrolls (the area of the arms that face front on the chair), seat, cushion and border areas in your diagram. You will add measurement numbers on the diagram later.

Remove the cushion and measure the length, width and depth before setting it aside. Measure the point from the top of the chair straight down to the seat. Measure from this point along the area beneath the cushion toward the front of the chair, turning the corner and measuring straight down to the point where the upholstery ends. Measure the outside back edge of the chair from the top straight down to the end of the upholstery.

Measure from the point where the arm begins at the inside seat of the chair, up and around the cushion of the armrest down to the point on the outside of the arm where the cushion ends. Measure from this point on the outside edge of the armrest straight down to the point where the upholstery ends. Measure the scrolls of the chair.

Choose your fabric and note its width. Most upholstery fabric is 54 inches wide.

Draw an outline of each chair part that you measured onto the newsprint. As you measure and draw each pattern piece add one inch to each dimension for seam allowances. Cut the pattern pieces out with scissors.

Lay out the pattern pieces to determine how much fabric you will need to cut out the pieces. For example, you may be able to cut both the arm pieces side-by-side on the 54-inch fabric. Other pieces may be too wide to lay side-by-side.

Count up the length in inches of all of the pattern pieces after you lay them out. Add 36 inches to this measurement to allow for errors. Divide the inches by 36 to determine how many yards of fabric you require. For example, if your pattern pieces equal 304 inches, add 36 to equal 340 inches. Divide this by 36 to equal 9.44 yards.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Tape measure
  • Newsprint
  • Scissors
  • Calculator
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.