Upholstering 2 Chairs For My Living Room #4: Cutting the body

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Blog entry by MarkTheFiddler posted 01-26-2014 01:27 AM 1196 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Measuring the Chair Body Part 4 of Upholstering 2 Chairs For My Living Room series Part 5: A little body stitching. »

We have all of the body measurements. It’s a good time to pull out the scissors.

Here is what you may need.

Cutting list, Chalk, pen, Yardstick of straight edge, measuring tape and in most cases a carpenter square.

I bought a carpenter square at a sewing supply company for $20 once. I bought the one you see for $9.00. It is far better than the one I bought at the sewing supply store. Live and learn.

Here we go – let’s hurry up and pause. Before marking my cut lines – I need to know what the center is and which way is up. It’s decision time.

My green arrows point to the center. And the top of the image is the top of the fabric from now on.
You are going to cut rectangles to the sizes you measured in the cutting list BUT your center has to be dead on. For this striped fabric, the deck, front, inside back and outside back should all center in the same place.

Let’s say I had to cut a 36 inch wide rectangle. The center is 18 inches. I carefully measure the edge of the fabric to my fabric center.

That’s about 19.5 inches. Good! It’s over half what I need. Now – from the center I need to measure 18 inches in the opposite direction.

Since the fabric is almost a perfect stripe, I don’t have to lay down vertical chalk lines. The horizontal lines are a must.

I love not having to mark some lines. ;)

When I cut the pieces that have to have a center – I mark it clearly so I can see. Here is the center of the inside back.

It may look like I got my fabric upside down. I’ll be more specific, It is the top center of the inside back. :)

IB – that stands for inside back. No need to guess. You should label every piece. The label should be at the the top of the piece every time.

OK – you have cut the Back pieces and the Deck pieces. You used your center and carefully measured from there. You also marked the center so you can find it at a glance.

We still need the arms.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

4 comments so far

View MarkTheFiddler's profile


2068 posts in 2212 days

#1 posted 01-26-2014 01:46 AM

I have to go back to my earlier posts. I have to know my fabric. I have a repeat of 7.25 inches but no reflections in the fabric. Top to bottom and side to side prohibit matching on every part of the chair. The arms are not going to match each other unless I put one arm upside down. I decided not to do that.

I have plenty of extra fabric so I’m going to do something that is somewhat of a luxury and slightly wasteful. I will cut my rectangles for the arms but I will add one repeat to the width. If my arm is 30 inches front to back, I add the repeat of 7.25 and get 37.25. That’s my new size. Without having to center anything I just cut 4 of them. I’ll decide how to line up the stripes at upholstery time.

I also had a piece of fabric left over that was 28.5 top to bottom. I looked at my cut list and found that I marked the outside arms at 15 inches top to bottom. I went back and re-measured the arms and see that I can use 14.25 inches instead of 15. I just have to be careful at upholstery time. That’s a saving.

A word of caution. Don’t cut the fabric so close to the actual size that you can’t get your fingers on the fabric. If the finished measurement is 13, don’t try 13.5. It is next to impossible to upholster that close to the mark. There is nothing for the staple to hang onto and you can’t pull the fabric evenly. It will cost you several times over in time if you don’t waste it completely.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View MarkTheFiddler's profile


2068 posts in 2212 days

#2 posted 01-26-2014 01:50 AM

Chalk – How utterly fascinating…

Well – not in the least. It’s hard to draw a line that is not 1/2 inch thick with a stick of chalk. A picture is worth a thousand words so here we go with 2000 words.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View Kryptic's profile


294 posts in 1684 days

#3 posted 01-26-2014 01:53 AM

life is a box of crayons

made from fabric

an underestimated skill in tapestry

too few appreciate

View GrandpaLen's profile


1650 posts in 2296 days

#4 posted 01-26-2014 03:32 PM

...I’m gonna’ need to make more coffee…

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

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