yardage for upholstery

Marian ParsonsSewing, Tutorials, upholstery

When I share upholstery projects here on the blog, I’m often asked about yardage, so I thought I would share how many yards of fabric you need for certain upholstery projects.

Before I give those estimates, I’ll say that there are ways you can save on yardage.  Every detail added means more fabric.  Piping, pleating, tufting, and ruffles all add yardage, so you can cut those out if you’re on a tighter budget or tuft and pleat everything if you scored a huge bolt of fabric!

You can also save yardage through little cheats, like using a complimentary, but less expensive for the back side of a piece, like I did with the tufted sofa.  And, even though it’s not the “proper way”, you can cut fabric to cover custom piping straight instead of on the bias.  It is definitely better to cut it on the bias, but it does waste a lot of fabric, so I wanted to present it as an option.

In addition to your primary fabric, you need fabric for the decking (what goes under the cushions).  You don’t want to use nice fabric for that!  I usually use a canvas or cotton duck fabric.


You generally need 15-22 yards – the lower end if there aren’t any cushions or tufts and the higher end if there are six cushions and/or lots of tufts, like a chesterfield.



A chair with an exposed wood frame and a single cushion requires about 6 yards and a club chair with a seat cushion, back cushion, and rolled arms will need about 12.


And arm chair without any cushions only needs about two yards.



If you’re just venturing into the world of upholstery, this is definitely the best project to start with.  It’s very much akin to wrapping a present and it only requires about 1/2 yard for each seat.



I would suggest about 8 yards for a wing chair.  I honestly prefer to slipcover those, though, because of all of the tack strips!  I just avoid them when I can.


A simple ottoman, like the one pictured above, needs about two yards.  For a larger, tufted ottoman, five yards would be in order.


When you’re selecting fabric for upholstery, the weight of it really does matter.  If the fabric is too thin and delicate, it might tear as you’re pulling it tight and then it won’t stand up to the stretch that happens when people sit on it.

I know that upholstering with drop cloths was and still is popular.  I’ve even done it in the past.  But, I would strongly suggest using those for slipcovers and opting for a sturdier fabric for upholstery.  There are a lot of cost-saving options out there, if you are patient.  I’ve bought a few bolts of beautiful heavy-weight linen at a flea market for $5/yard.  I’ve also found some nice deals online, at yard sales, thrift stores, and in the sale bins at fabric stores.  Just look around, be patient, and keep an open mind.

I have two new upholstery projects coming up and I’ll share the details as those unfold…

Until then, you can check out my upholstery posts HERE.

yardage for upholstery

Related Posts

how to fix “sticky” drawers

double-welting tutorial

patience pays off

farmhouse-style dog bed cover