How Much Fabric Do I Need for Re-Covering Couch Cushions?

Written by f.r.r. mallory
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How Much Fabric Do I Need for Re-Covering Couch Cushions?
A contemporary couch with typical couch cushions that can be re-covered. (Interior photography image by Bartlomiej Nowak from Fotolia.com)

Calculating the amount of fabric you need for re-covering furniture cushions can seem complicated if you haven't attempted such a large project before. But when you break the project down, it becomes easier to understand how much fabric you will need for each cushion type. The main issues that affect the amount of fabric are pattern repeats and the width of the fabric you choose.

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Repeats

A repeat is a term used to described how patterns are printed onto fabrics. The repeat is the distance of the unique pattern before the same image is printed again. Each type of fabric pattern will have a different repeat. When making cushions from a repeating pattern type of fabric, the pattern has to be matched so that the patterns are going the same direction, and line up across the couch when the cushions are sewn. This requires more fabric.

Fabric Widths

The second important factor to consider when calculating fabric for sofa cushions is the width of the fabric you are selecting. Most fabric calculators for upholstery base their calculations on 54-inch-wide fabrics. Fabrics larger and smaller than 54 inches may require more or less fabric, or you may have additional seams or more waste.

Size of the Cushions

The third consideration is the actual size of the cushions. Larger cushions usually require more fabric, and smaller cushion a bit less. However, in some cases the repeat or the fabric width will make such differences fairly small. What is very important is that you purchase all of the fabric you need from the same bolt at the same time. This is because fabric dye lots vary, and even if a fabric is identical, it can look slightly different if it was produced at a different time.

Upholstery Calculators

Locate an upholstery calculator for sofa cushions. These calculators are readily available online, and they are easy to use. Most cushions are evaluated by the thickness of the cushion. Typical small square cushions that are 2 inches thick average 1.3 to 1.8 yards of fabric per cushion. 6-inch-thick boxed cushions range from 1.5 to 2 yards of fabric per cushion. As you can see, the variation in the amount of fabric required is not large.

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