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Old 10-30-2005, 01:06 AM
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How Much Fabric Do I Need?

I am just about to sew an interior for a 1931 Desoto 3-Window Coupe, but before I place an order for the fabric I need, I thought I would ask if anyone knew how much fabric I would need (approximately) to upholster/sew the following:

-One Bench Seat
-One Rumble Seat
-Two Door Panels
-One Headliner


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Old 10-30-2005, 09:37 AM
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Materials are all in different widths, first pick a fabric you want and check the with the supplier for the width (IMPORTANT NOTE:ALWAYS ASSUME 2 inches less in usable width, when materials are made they have what they call a manufacturing margin the edge of the material typically has flaw randomly along edges).

Then you need to figure out the style you want. Sewn headliner verse a glued one peice. Panels that are a plain wrap verses pleated or sewn through. Seats that have a thigh panel and pleated verse plain. And then all the panels inside the body.

The best way to figure material is to develop BOX dimensions. Simple square shapes. Get a sheet of paper and for the seat as an example:

Add 1/2" to all sides for the salvage edge if sewing. (1" if wrapping like a panel for a door or whatever).

Example 1 (1/2" added to all sides for sewing)

Insert (top of seat) 18" X 50"=900 square inches
Front facing (front of seat) 10" X 50"=500 square inches
Side facing R/H & L/H (seat side x 2) 10" X 18"=180 square inches
Rear Facing (back of seat) 6" X 50"=300 square inches

Take those and figure out material types you want to use.

Insert (top of seat) 18" X 50"=vinyl (white)
Front facing (front of seat) 10" X 50"=vinyl (black)
Side facing R/H & L/H (seat side x 2) 10" X 18" (black)
Rear Facing (back of seat) 6" X 50" (carpet)

900 sq inches of white
680 sq inches of black
300 sq inches of carpet

(NOTE: if you are using fabric there is a nap direction on many materials if you dont put the nap in the same direction the material will change shade and look like a quilt> Always layout napped fabric)

Now if the material is only 48 and you want 50 inches you will have to go up the roll (length of roll) this is tricky when looking at yardage as you need to "nest" as much together when cutting (like cookies out of dough) I would recommend laying out shapes ALWAYS for first timers.

If all your parts are narrower than the width of roll and have no nap here is a fast way of doing it.

lets assume that the parts are not over 48" If the roll is 50" wide (with a 48" working area, remember note above) and a linear yard is always 36" you have 1728 square inches in a yard of material. If all your parts are less than the roll

Due to the fact you dont know exactly your pattern shapes yet you have 2 choices.

1. You can lay your box shapes out on concrete with chalk in a 48" wide patch (best way for 1st timers)

2. Assume 10% per part for nesting. If I wasnt going to lay them out and was buying the black I would assume I needed 680+68(10%)=748 sq inches. 1728(1 linear yard)/748(usage of facings)=2.3 then 36 inches/2.3=15 linear inches or 1/2 a yard.

There are other things that eat up fabric too. If you wanted to do roll and pleat insert I add 1/3 to the material length for every 10 pleats as the material shrinks or takes up that much. for top sewing it depends on the foam thickness you are sewing though. 1/2 foam is 1/8" to 1/4" as a ballpark for evey sew if you want to keep the definition. Also if you are looking to have welt or piping depending on the term used it eats up a ton of material too. Welt is 90% of the time up the length of the roll (some cut it on the bias, on and angle)

The above may be a little to deep but here is the big picture. Material, ALL material, is made in lots (bolts of material). Lots change in color and quality it is better to have too much than not enough! Ordering an extra yard or 3 is better than having a second shipment not match or losing time and paying additional shipping. And when you have a accident or a issue its better to have around in the future,

Last edited by creativeinteriors; 10-30-2005 at 09:43 AM.
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