Leather 101: How to Measure Leather

Leather 101: How to Measure Leather

Mar 22 2019 0 Comments

How to Measure Leather in Square Feet

Unlike fabric, leather is not sold by the yard. Leather is a natural material and as such does not come with straight edges. Each hide can only be as large as the animal it came from. Because of this, the area of the leather is measured and sold by the Square Foot. This allows for tanneries and sellers to account for the uneven (but still usable) edges that come with leather. Large scale tanneries actually use a laser scanner to account for holes and rough edges when figuring out the square footage of a hide before shipping it out.

If you are used to shopping for fabric in yards but want to switch to leather for an upcoming project, like reupholstering a couch, the equivalent is approximately 18 Sq Ft of leather to every 1 Yard of fabric. Your average wingback chair typically requires 6.5 yards of fabric to recover it. Take 6.5 and multiply it by 18 and you get 117. That means you'll need 117 Sq Ft of leather to do the project.

Typically, a standard cowhide is going to be somewhere around 90" at its longest point and 72" at its widest point, however, they can run slightly larger or smaller. If you prefer to work with lamb, pig, or even exotic leather (like ostrich), those are going to be much smaller. The hides can only be as large as the animal they came from. We sell much of our cowhide leather in sides, which would be a half of a hide. Because of the variances in size and width, it is often best to work with the exact sizing of your patterns or furniture, as opposed to yards. Knowing you need four 20"x30" pieces, as opposed to 3 yards, is going to help you find suitable hides or sides much easier.  


To help you shop for your leather, in all our side listings on The Leather Guy, we give you a "largest square" measurement as well as a photo of the hide with measuring tapes to show the full width and length of the side!



Curious how leather is measured by hand when there isn't a laser scanner around?











If you come across leather sold by the yard, be sure to double-check that it is genuine and not faux leather. Faux leather will usually be on a ream or spool and listed in yards.


We hope this clears up a little of the mystery when it comes to shopping for leather and measuring leather! If you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out to us at sales@theleatherguy.org!


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