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How to Calculate Upholstery Fabric for Cushions

Updated February 21, 2017

Upholstering cushions can be an easy and quick way to update a couch or an entire room. When purchasing fabric for an upholstering project, it is important to know how much you will need. If you overestimate the amount needed, you could end up spending way too much money. However, if you underestimate the amount needed, you run the risk of not being able to finish your project. If you have to return to the store to purchase more fabric, it is an additional cost and your fabric may not still there.

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  1. Sketch a rough draft of the shape of the cushion that you are going to cover. If you are covering multiple cushions, sketch one of each size and shape.

  2. Use the tape measure to measure the length and width of each side of the cushion. For cushions that are not square or rectangle, measure from the widest and longest points. Add about 6 inches to the measurement to cover seam allowances.

  3. Multiply the length measurements by the width measurements for each surface. Add all of these together and divide by 36 or 54, depending on the width of your chosen fabric, to find the total length needed. Always round up the length to the next highest half yard. This will give you some extra in case extra length is needed for piping, mistakes and sewing.

  4. Use the tape measure to mark the underside of the fabric where it needs to be cut. Fold the fabric into this size and wrap it around the cushion to check the fit. If your fabric does not cover the cushion, repeat the measurements adding the additional 6 inches to cover for seams.

  5. Add an additional 10 to 20 per cent to the total length of measurements for fabric with repeats or patterns like plaid and stripes.

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Things You'll Need

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Measuring tape

About the Author

Danielle Odom is a freelance writer and ghostwriter with more than 12 years experience. She is a certified medical transcriptionist and is working on a degree as a medical office assistant. As a writer she enjoys learning new things daily and is committed to entertaining and informing everyone that reads her work.

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