How to Measure Fabric for a Wingback Chair

Reupholstering a wingback chair is not as easy as removing the old textile and slapping on a new one. You also need to measure the fabric you’ll use and evenly cut it out.

Luckily, this tutorial will teach you how to measure fabric for a wingback chair. Doing this will make your chair makeover easier and more beautiful. 

What Is a Wingback Chair?

A wingback chair is an old-fashioned chair with wings on the side down to the armrest. Some do not have armrests, but they always have wings to protect the individual from drafts.  

People first used this kind of chair in the 1600s to trap the heat in the fireplace and stay cozy. That’s why you’ll often notice them now in living rooms and libraries. 

Wingback chairs are made of fabrics like linen, cotton, and leather. They also have exposed wooden legs that look make the room feel spacious. The curves and intricacies are the reason why they remain a classic in the house.

How to Measure Fabric for a Wingback Chair

Generally, you need 1.5-2 yards of fabric for every foot of your chair. But that’s just an estimate. Not sure how to take measurements? Here’s how.

  1. Prepare the Materials.

Have the following materials ready before you take measurements:

  • Measuring tape
  • Pen and paper
  • Chalk (optional)
  • Calculator (optional)
  • Pliers (optional)
  • Flat-head screwdriver (optional)
  1. Label All Sides of the Chair.

The tricky part about measuring wingback chairs is the number of sections you must measure. Before removing your measuring tape, identify the parts you need to measure. These are:

  • Deck (the piece under the cushion) 
  • Bottom front (front part of the chair right under the cushion)
  • Inside wing 
  • Outside wing
  • Inside back
  • Outside back
  • Cushion bottom
  • Cushion top
  • Outside arm
  • Inside arm
  • Arm front
  • Cushion box strip
  1. Optional: Remove the Current Upholstery

You may remove the fabric from the chair rather than measure the seat. But you can only do this if you already have the new fabric. Standard fabric widths include 45, 60, 72, and 118 inches. 

Buy one in advance so that it will be more convenient later on. You won’t have to calculate the length and height of each part. That’s because you can simply trace the old fabric and cut the new one. 

Remove the old fabric carefully using pliers and a screwdriver. Keep the pieces intact to easily mark and trace them. Gently remove the trim from the staples or stitching until you can see the edges of the raw fabric. Keep in mind the label for each upholstery piece. 

  1. Measure the Different Chair Sections.

Measure all the parts of your wingback chair mentioned above using a measuring tape. Always go from left to right for the length and top to bottom for the height. You may use the stitching on the chairs as a guide for uniformity. 

Write down each value with a pen and paper to avoid confusion. Because the measurements do not count the width, you must add 4 inches to each calculation and rewrite the list. So if the dimension of the inside arm is 14 inches x 20 inches, make it 18 inches x 24 inches.

For those who pulled out the old fabric, measuring is optional. You only need to lay the cloth on the floor on top of the new material. Trace the pattern of the old cloth on the new one using chalk, then cut out the new fabric. 

Leave an allowance of two to four inches on all sides. Doing so will make stapling or sewing much easier later on.

  1. Add the Measurements.

Once you’ve measured the 12 parts of the wingback chair and added four inches to each, get the total measurement in inches. Divide it into 36 for a yard conversion. Round it up, and you’ll get the proper fabric measurements for reupholstery. 

The result you’ll get is likely to be around seven to eight yards since most wingback chairs have similar dimensions. The key is to add extra inches on all sides for an easy installation. 

Best Fabrics for Wingback Chairs

The best fabric for a wingback chair is one made specifically for upholstery. Whether silk or leather, it’s often heavier and bulkier than traditional fabrics. Upholstery fabrics are more durable and easy to maintain than all-around textiles for bedsheets and curtains.

Here are three of the best fabrics for wingback chairs.


Cotton is an ideal choice for both upholstery and slipcover. It’s comfortable to sit on because of its softness. But while it’s durable, it’s also susceptible to wrinkles. 

A cheaper alternative to cotton is a cotton blend. It’s more common as an upholstery fabric than pure cotton. The most excellent cotton blend materials have around 45% to 60% cotton with only 40-55% synthetic fibers.


Leather is a luxurious material that will keep the timelessness of your wingback chair. This durable and low-maintenance fabric is made of animal hide. It’s terrific for anyone with pets because fur doesn’t stick to it.

This comfortable fabric has different variants. I recommend full or top-grain leather for the most premium choice.


Wool is another sturdy material that can withstand different elements. The stain resistance of this natural fiber makes it a smart pick for high-traffic areas. Wool is a blend of animal hair and other materials. 

It’s not a natural fabric. Otherwise, it will be too difficult to clean and will felt quickly. 

Final Words

There are two routes you can take to get fabric measurements. Either measure all parts of the wingback chair or tear the old fabric and measure it on the floor. 

Measuring fabric for different furniture pieces is a vital skill everyone should master. If you don’t know how to do it, you won’t be able to breathe new life into your antique chairs and couches.

Do you now know the right size of fabric for your wingback chair? What design and color are you getting? Comment down below and share this post with your friends!

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