How to Cut Upholstery Fabric Corners

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Upholstering a chair cushion is a relatively simple process until excess fabric accumulates in the corners, forming a bulky, wrinkly mess. While there are multiple ways to fold and trim that fabric to create neat, perfect corners on your upholstery, there are far more ways to do it wrong, leaving your corners disastrously crinkled.

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Learn three different methods to fold and cut corners so they look neat and crisp every time.

Tip

No matter what technique you use to finish the cushions, start by pulling the fabric tight and securing the center of each side to the backerboard with a staple gun. Then staple the edges tightly until you reach the corners.

How to Cut 90-Degree Corners

For a smooth corner on a thin, square cushion, cut the corner fabric into a triangle and then fold and secure this to the back of the cushion.

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  1. Pull the fabric straight along one edge and then cut it about 1/2 inch past the edge to about 1/2 inch away from the corner. Then pull the fabric straight along the other edge and repeat the process. Cut the fabric from the edges at 45 degrees from the corner so they can lie flat beside each other.
  2. You should now have a large diamond of fabric attached to the corner. Pull this material tight and trim it into a triangle shape by cutting it about 2 1/2 inches away from the corner.
  3. Tuck in the edges on the corner triangle at 45-degree angles so you have a smooth strip of fabric. Pull the material flat against the backerboard until there are no wrinkles on the side of the cushion. Then secure the fabric with multiple staples.

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How to Cut Rounded Corners

Pleating is necessary to secure rounded cushion corners. While pleating sounds intimidating, these controlled wrinkles are actually easier to do than cutting and folding the fabric for a crisp 90-degree corner.

  1. Trim away a wide U shape from the excess fabric, leaving around 2 inches near the corner.
  2. Pinch the fabric near one edge to form a pleat. Make sure the side of the upholstery looks smooth and then staple down the pleat to secure it.
  3. Keep working your way around the edge, pulling the fabric tight, pleating it, and stapling it down until the corner is wrinkle-free.

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How to Cut Folded Corners

For thicker corners, you need a seam. The initial cuts for a folded corner are similar to those used in a 90-degree corner, but you do not need to retain a fabric triangle for a folded corner.

  1. Fold the fabric straight along one edge and cut it 1/2 inch past the edge until it's 1/2 inch from the corner. Flip over the excess material and do the same cut on the other edge. Pull the fabric tight and cut straight down from the two previous cuts.
  2. Tuck the folded edge into the side corner of the cushion, forming a 45-degree angle under the surface. Pull the inner material tight, fold it backward over the backing board, secure it with a staple, and cut off extra fabric to remove excess bulk under the final fold.
  3. Fold in the outer material so it lines up straight along the corner of the cushion. Pull the fabric tight along the bottom of the backing board and secure it with multiple staples.

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