“How do I measure for my cushion?”

I often get asked “how do I measure for my cushions?”  So today I decided to put the answer in a blog post.  Once you have the piece of furniture you want to make a cushion for it’s easy to determine the size of your finished cushion. Using measurements right from the chair we can decide our yardage and the cut piece sizes you will need.  So lets get started.

Measuring your chair to make a cushion

In this example I have a small chair that is used for eating in an outdoor setting.  Some of things you need to consider are who will use the piece, and how it will be used.  In our case this is a chair that you will sit up straight in and not be lounging in.  A tall person for example would want a chair that sat much higher than a short person might be comfortable in.  An average seat height with your finished cushion is 17″ to 19″.  Keeping this in mind can help you decide how thick you want your cushion to sit.  The one I am using here will be a 3″ thick cushion.

Now that you’ve got the height you want lets measure to figure out our fabric needs.   Using the actual chair you can measure across the width of your seat, ours is 18″W.   If your chair is tapered so that the back is narrower you need to measure that as well.  In our case it is a consistent 18″W across the front as well as the back.   Next you want to measure the depth of the chair from front to back, ours is 14.5″ Deep.  These measurements will be our finished cushion size, 3″H X 18″W X 14.5″D.  Now we can determine our cuts.

How to measure my chair for cushionsCutting out my fabric sizes for my cushions

Using your measurements from  above you can now determine how much fabric you will need to buy, for one cushion I will need 25″ of 54″ W fabric for the main part of my cushion and a minimum of 1 yard for cording.  I use a 1/2″ seam allowance when sewing cushions so I need to add that to my cut measurement sizes (example 1/2″ + 18″W + 1/2″= 19″W cut size) .  In this example I will be needing to cut the following pieces:

  • Boxing strip 4″H X  54″W (W+(Dx2))
  • Top and bottom  (2 pieces) 19″W X 15.5″D
  • Zipper boxing 2  1/2″H (half of the cut boxing height plus 1/2″ seam allowance to sew zipper on)  X 25″W (19″W + 6″ to allow 3″ to come around both sides of the cushion)
  • Cording (optional) 170″  enough to go around top and bottom of cushion plus about 10″ to make joints.

Finished Collage Cutting Zippper

Measuring Foam for Cushions

Well we’ve figured out the fabric now what about the foam?  There are many ways to look at the foam sizes.  Some people like to make the boxing a 1/2″ shorter, ie: 4″ foam for a 3 1/2″ finished boxing.  This gives a very tight fit and looks nice.  You can also have your foam the same thickness as your finished boxing and wrap it with Dacron to give a more rounded edge look which is nice as well.  Others cut their foam the same as your top and bottom fabric cuts which is also a nice look.  Be careful with this last option if you have a situation where the frame the cushion is going into is solid, like a window seat with sides, as it might not sit quite right.

So now you can take any piece that you might have and determine what size your cushion needs to be! If you’re interested in a full tutorial on making cushions please check out our online upholstery classes membership site for video tutorials on fabricating different style cushions.

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