How Many Yards of Fabric Do You Need for Patio Cushions?

Patio cushions are often neglected in terms of home decor, yet they welcome visitors and give people a taste of what to expect in your home. Knowing how many yards of fabric you need to make some great patio cushions is often a question we hear at Kovi Fabrics, so we’ve made this handy guide to help you determine what fabric and how much of it you need for your home patio. 

Measuring Your Existing Patio Cushions for New Cushion Covers

There are several ways to measure your patio cushion covers for yards of fabric. The straight measurement will be pretty standard and you can get this with a flexible measuring tape or even a yardstick and some string. However, to get a great patio cushion cover, you need to factor in several elements that influence the final look.

Let’s get started!

Straight Measurements of a Patio Cushion

You will need:

  • A pen 
  • Paper
  • Measuring tape (or string and a yard stick)
  • A pin to secure the tape if the cushion is large

Measuring for a flat square or rectangular cushion cover

A flat cushion cover is when the cushion only has two sides with no side pieces. It’s the easiest cushion to measure. Simply take your measuring tape, hold the end at the left-hand side of your cushion, then extend the tape to the right-hand side of the cushion. Be sure to keep the tape level to avoid an uneven measurement. 

Write down this measurement as it’s your width. Add an inch to the total width for hems and seams. 

Next, measure from the top to the bottom. This is your length. Add an inch for hems and seams. 

For square cushions, the width and length will be the same measurement. Rectangular cushions will have a difference between their length and width. 

Measuring for a circular cushion cover

A circular cushion cover works much the same as a square cushion. You will also measure across the cushion at 90-degree angles to get the width and length, which will be the same. 

To draw your round cushion pattern, you can add some additional measurement lines through the center of the circle. This helps you trace the circle. 

Or, you can take a piece of string, tie it to the pencil, then hold the other end of the measured string in the center of the cushion pattern, drawing the pencil around the circumference. 

This will give you a perfect circle that is exactly the same distance from the center at all points on the circumference. 

For straightforward two-panel cushions, you will need two panels per cushion. 

So if your measurement is 27 inches per cushion length and width, then you can fit two of these on the width line of the upholstery fabric bolt. Your length will give you the measurement down the length of the bolt. 

This means you will need 27 inches of fabric for two cushion panels or for one cushion cover. This is how you determine the overall yards of fabric you need for your project.  

Measurements of a Boxed Patio Cushion

You will need:

  • Pen 
  • Paper
  • Measuring tape (or string and a yardstick)
  • Safety pin to attach the tape measure end

Measuring for a square or rectangular boxed cushion cover

A boxed cushion is a cushion that has an additional side panel. These cushions can be either square, rectangular, or round. In the case of a boxed cushion cover, you will have three panels: the top and bottom, and also a side panel. 

Firstly, you would measure the top and bottom panels as per the straight measurement method above. Simply obtain the length and width by measuring from the top to the bottom of the cushion and from the left to right of the cushion. 

Next, you would measure the depth of the box section. This is the width of the additional section that joins the top and bottom panels. 

For the box section, you have two options. 

A straight box is sewn to the top panel, then closed up and sewn to the bottom panel. The corners form naturally, while the other option is to cut the box section into pieces that fit each of the sides of the top panel. You would add an additional half-inch per end of the box sections. 

The corners are then sewn together to form a pleat that shapes the box section more. 

Measuring for a circular boxed cushion cover

If you are working with a circular or round cushion cover that is also boxed, then your measurement process will work as follows:

Firstly, measure the top and bottom panels as described in the flat round cushion cover section above. Next, measure the circumference of the circular cushion. You can use your measuring tape by folding the tape around the “waist” of the cushion. If your tape isn’t flexible enough, then you can use a string and a measuring stick or a yardstick. 

This gives you the length of the section needed for the cushion “boxing.” If you will be sewing it straight, then add an inch for seams and hems. If you wish to add a few pleats, then add an additional inch per pleat.

To measure the depth of the “box,” you will need to measure the height of the side of the pillow. Add an inch to this measurement for the top and bottom seams. 

Measuring Yards of Fabric for Fancy Cushion Covers

When you start exploring the potential of your chosen fabric, you will find that you need to adjust your measurements to help accommodate your creativity. Here are a few helpful suggestions to get you set for your cushioning masterpieces. 

  • Restuffing Cushions 

If your cushions are a little worn, you may want to add additional stuffing to make them more luxurious. This means your measurement with the flattened stuffing will be off. To accommodate extra stuffing, you can add an extra inch to your height, length, and width (or boxing) sections. 

  • Tufting Cushions

A tufted cushion is really something else, but these cushions are hard to measure since they are tucked in. 

To help your measurement, you can add an extra half inch for each row of tufts. This means that if the cushion has three rows with three tufts each, then you would add an inch and a half to the width and an inch and a half to the length of the cushion top and bottom measurements. 

  • Piped Cushions

Piping is a type of upholstery edging where a thin cord is sewn to the upholstery cushion by rolling it in a section of the upholstery fabric. To measure for piping, simply take the length of the box measured section, then cut a half-inch strip per piping edge that you need. If you need double piping, then you would cut two of these strips for the second piping line. 

The Final Cushion

Measuring correctly will ensure you order enough yards of fabric for your cushion upholstery project. However, if you are stuck for ideas and guidance, you can rely on the Kovi Fabric Yardage Calculator to help you establish a baseline to work from.

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