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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Slipcovers: Measuring for Fabric

Today I will try to have more pictures than words! 
Lets figure out how much fabric I will need.
You will need:

*a cloth tape measure
*piece of paper

Here is the couch that I will be slip-covering. 

The cushions are in great shape, and the frame is solid wood. Well made, and worth investing the money in. Both things worth considering. I always recommend that you go look at new furniture and price what it would cost to replace what you have before you consider a slipcover. That way you have a fair price comparison. 

Take all the cushions and pillows off and start with the base.

 Get you measuring tape and start on the back side.
I am not doing a skirt. If you are, you will start measuring at the bottom cording line. Measure up to the top seam and add about 4". (We do not have to be exact here. We are just getting rough measurements to make sure we order enough fabric.) 

Measure horizontally as well, from seam to seam. Write these measurements down on your paper. Using your paper like a piece of 54' fabric. Your horizontal piece will take all 54" of the width and the part of another width of fabric. We will piece it on either side. You don't usually want a seam running down the center of your couch. 
Your paper should look something like this.

Face the front of the couch and do the same thing.

Your paper should begin to look a little like this....

Notice that I am using as much of the space as possible. It is kind of like a puzzle. You want to plan out how you are going to cut things out so that you use as little fabric as possible! The blank spots we will fill in with cushion pieces.

Now on to the arms.

Measure over the arm and just under the curve. I call that piece the inside arm. Do not go all the way down. We will do the bottom half in a separate piece called the outside arm.

Have no fear, we really will use some of that side fabric on the pillows.

Measuring the outside arm piece.

Now we just have the little front piece. shown above. This piece also has to be pieced because of the length. You should be able to fit the side piece in up by the main back piece. 
The only piece we have left on the body of the couch is the front arms. You can just measure a rough rectangle around the curve of the arm and put it in the best spot on your paper. 
My 2 pieces of paper now look like this.

We just have the cushions left!

Measure across the top horizontally and vertically. Add a few inches for seams. (We will get more precise when we actually cut out, don't worry). Add to your paper.

Don't forget the banding! Measure horizontally and vertically.
It will take a few widths of fabric to get around each cushion. Add and extra 1.5" to the width. You also want to add 2 extra band widths to your finished number, not for each cushion. ( If you need 6 widths of fabric to get around your 3 cushions, allow for 8.)  That will allow for cutting out wider widths for the zipper section. (Don't worry I will show you when we get there). Add to your paper.

Don't forget the top cushion. A rough rectangle is fine.

Measure and add your pillow. Fill in as many gaps on your paper as possible! Please also notice in the 2nd picture the black lining of the couch. I call it the decking. You will need to measure that vertically and horizontally as well and allow enough fabric to cover.

And finally, add and extra 3 yards for your cording if you are doing a couch and at least 1.5 yards if you are doing a chair.
Yes, you want to do cording! It really will make your life easier when it comes to sewing everything together!

Here is what my paper looks like. Please note that I did move the Front back side pieces around to fit better. I just crossed them out so you could see what I did. 

Now we just have to add up all the measurements (usually just the numbers on the right) and then divide by 36". That will tell us how many yards we need.

I came up with 12.97 so 13 yard
Plus 3 yards for cording
2 yards for shrinkage- we are washing it!
18 yards
I would get 20. Why? Because I am human :)
If you are doing a skirt add about 5-6 yards. It takes a lot to do a nice hemmed, no seams showing, pleated skirt!

next step: washing our fabric

1 comment:

Darla said...

LOVE this tutorial!! I think it would likely be beyond my sewing skills, but still super cool. Thanks for sharing, MAYBE I'd try making a pillow someday:-)