How much fabric for your upholstery project?

How much fabric for your upholstery project?

One of the most common questions first time upholsterers have, is how much fabric to buy for their project. This doesn't have to be complicated, if you systematically measure each panel of fabric and plot onto a cutting plan. Here are some helpful tips:

  • The best time to calculate fabric meterage is while the old fabric is still on.
  • The height and width of each panel needs to be measured. Push your tape measure right down the back of the chair and sides of the arms to reach the stapled edge. Write this panel measurement down.
  • If the panel has a sewn edge, add an additional 1.5cm to that sewn edge. This is to account for the seam allowance.
  • If a panell as a stapled edge, add an additional 5cm to each stapled edge. This is to account for holding and stapling allowance.

When each panel has been measured, it’s helpful to plot these sections onto a cutting plan:

  • Use grid paper, like the kind we used in maths class.
  • Draw a large rectangle on the graph, with each square representing a 10cm block of fabric. The width of the grid should match the width of your fabric, say, 1.4m wide.
  • Start to plot the panel pieces onto your grid like a game of Tetris. Ensure you keep the pattern pieces all facing in the correct direction.
  • When you have worked out the amount of fabric your project needs, add a little extra fabric for mistakes, flaws, patterns, or if using napped fabrics. Don’t forget to account for the fabric for piping.
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