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Old 05-21-2014, 08:09 PM   #1
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Upholstery yardage

We restoring a 1964 17 ft. Bambi II. We are changing out one of the couches for a dinette with two benches. We will keep the original couch. We've found a close out fabric that we love & have to move fast. We're trying to estimate how much fabric would be need for a couch & back, two benches & back, plus four 14 x 14 inch pillows.
Any ideas? We appreciate your input. Thanks.
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Old 05-21-2014, 08:59 PM   #2
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Depends on several things:
  1. width of fabric - most upholstery fabric is 52 to 65 inches wide
  2. "hand" or grain of fabric - velvet and corduroy have to be cut with all pieces running in the same direction - even leather has a grain, if you cut one piece upside down from the rest it can look darker or lighter because the grain is different from the other pieces.
  3. pattern repeat - nothing looks worse than an unmatched pattern repeat - if you're piecing together two pieces of plad you want the same colors to meet at any seam
  4. pattern direction - polka dots generally don't have a directional pattern, a pattern that has cars on it... well you wouldn't expect to see any of the cars upside down would you.

Any of the above mean you have more wastage - matching patterns or plaids, not being able to cut one arm in one direction and the other 180 degrees out.

I feel a 10,000 word e-mail coming on trying to explain all of the technicalities - so here's what you should really do. Pay an upholsterer to measure and order the fabric. OR get Amazon.com and find a video/book/e-book on basics of slipcovering and upholstering. Download it to a big screen Ipad, e-reader or e-reader application on your computer. Find the chapter on how to select and estimate fabric yardage.

Last hint. Having a yard or two extra can seem just awful especially when you're paying $$$$ per yard for the fabric, but if you only have enough scrap to make a cover for your glasses - I guarantee your dog, cat, child or elderly parent will pee on a cushion and you won't be able to replace the panel. (of course if you DO have extra no one will defile a cushion EVER).

I'll see if I can find one of my favorite "paper" books online and paste the link onto another e-mail.

(Oh and if you've never made upholstery before, take some old sheets and make the hardest parts (the whole sofa, especially the arms) Make your mistakes on something you won't mind replacing with new!)

Paula
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Old 05-21-2014, 09:02 PM   #3
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That's not too hard to do. Measure all the surfaces you want to cover to calculate the number of SQUARE INCHES. Divide the total by 1296. ( 36 x36 = 1296).

That will give how many SQUARE YARDS you need to buy. Allow about 25 to 30 % extra.

Because fabrics are sold in different widths you should plot this all out carefully. That way you will avoid waste or shortages. If the fabric is patterned you need to take that into account as well.
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Old 05-21-2014, 09:02 PM   #4
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Determine your dinette size. Most upholstery fabric is 60" and upholstery fabric is railroaded, which means you lay it out east/west instead of north/south as you would for draperies. You more than likely can get one cut/width by the depth of the seat/back cushion. Also, don't forget to allow for your boxing strips and the fabric repeat. A good thing to do is allow a full extra fabric repeat to make certain you can get the best fabric placement when starting out the cutting.

You'll need approx. four cuts for your boxing strip (that is unless your dinette is especially large, but doubtful since you're talking a Bambi), remember to allow 1" for seam allowance (1/2" all around). Two cuts are joined and used for the front/sides (split one cut and join on either side of the other full strip so it is centered) and two are folded in half length ways to stitch to the zipper.

About the sofa -- Also hard to say without knowing the size.

Pillows -- For 14" pillows your cuts will be 15" to allow 1/2" seam allowances; remember 60" width fabric for upholstery, but pattern repeat really plays into this. If no repeat, you could get two pillows (top & bottom, four cuts) out of one width. Remember two cuts/pillow plus cording -- 1/2 yd. should be enough for the cording on four pillows, cut on the bias, and that is one row of cording/pillow, not two rows as you would need if boxed pillows.

I'm sorry I could not be more specific, but pattern repeat really plays into it along with sizing of sofa and dinette.

Deb
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Old 05-21-2014, 09:17 PM   #5
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OK. I went to Amazon.com and typed in "How to upholster furniture" under e-books. There are three. Any would be a good choice. If there is a decent fabric store in your town they'll probably have one of these in stock. I wouldn't personally try to use this on a small Kindle, but if you've got an e-reader with a big screen they could be OK. This one I'd want in paper though.

Paula

Deb, good catch on the "railroading"! !!!!
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Old 05-21-2014, 09:34 PM   #6
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My experience has always been that I need about two yards more than I bought so I always go long on my estimates and then don't spend too much time trying to track down more especially knowing dye lots are different from bolt to bolt. If you are doing piping on your boxed cushions, make sure you allowed enough yardage for that as it takes a lot more than you think. Ask me how I know these things.
Sandy
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Old 05-21-2014, 09:41 PM   #7
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Paula, thanks, but I do this for a living -- custom home furnishings.

Deb
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Old 06-12-2014, 10:20 AM   #8
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Just had the couch in my 1988 Excella redone by a local lady who does this for a living. We purchased 15 yes of fabric on her recommendation at a local Hancocks. Bought a very nice clearance roll of a quality fabric for 40% off. Because of the pattern and different pieces of the couch assembly she used most of the fabric but has enough left for a couple of decorative pillows.
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Old 07-20-2014, 10:24 PM   #9
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Is there an 'estimated' cost per yard for 'install'? I am sure it is different on AS...I am just trying to size it up.
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Old 07-21-2014, 07:05 AM   #10
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estimated cost

All I can say is that it was still expensive. Tried to save money buying the fabric on sale, removing and installing the couch myself but the actual seamstress work was clearly very intensive and professionally done (small custom shop in Northern Mississippi). The original foam was lousy so that was replaced as well. My research prior to initiating the project showed that I might have to pay as much as $2500 to get the couch back to original or better condition. I am in it for half that approximately and truly believe it is better than new and looks fabulous. I will try and post a picture soon.
If you can sew upholstery fabric then that is optimum savings but replace the foam no matter how good you think it still is
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