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Determining Fabric Width

KharminJ | Posted in General Discussion on

G’Morning, Cindy!Monday morning brain fog? We all get it from time to time – and not only on Mondays! ;}The actual width of your fabric is twice the folded width, so the piece in question is 59″. That is ‘close enough’ to 60″ to use that layout. More fabrics come in 54″ than 60″ these days, but unless the length of your garment runs cross grain, or the layout is squeezing every last inch out of a 60″ fabric, you’ll generally be fine. And FYI, the width is *usually* printed on the bolt label – possibly in the format: 054in. or 045in.Hope that helps! What’re you going to make?Kharmin


  1. alotofstitches | | #1

    As the fabric comes off the bolt, it is usually folded down the middle.  One end of the bolt will have folded edge of the fabric.  The other end of the bolt will have the woven edges of the fabric.  To measure the width, pull off enough to be able to unfold the fabric, laying it in a single layer.  Measure from woven edge across to the other woven edge= the fabric width.  The woven edge is called the slevage.

  2. sewslow67 | | #2

    Hi Cindy,

    We all have brain fog on occasion (usually over the simplest issues, too) so don't worry about it, OK. 

    When the fabric is folded on the bold, (and in the example you mentioned) you just double the measurement, i.e. 29.5 inches X 2 = 59-inches wide.  So on your pattern envelope, you would use the 58-60 inch wide fabric requirement.  When there is a discrepancy of 2-inches in width, you can check the layout on the guide sheet to see if you can use the lessor of the amount required. 

    Depending on the fabric content (and if you think it might shrink), buy a little extra so you won't get caught short.  You can always use the additional fabric for something - trim, a little travel case, whatever.

    Any more questions?  Ask away.  There are a lot of knowledgeable folks here that are always willing to help.  And do enjoy the journey.


  3. sewslow67 | | #3

    Hey Kahrman: There was no post when I wrote, so I guess she'll get lots of the same thing ...except yours had additional information that even helped this old gal, as I didn't even think of checking to see if the garment was cut on the cross grain.  Now who has the brain fog?  chuckle. 

    Thanks so much for addressing all the angles; very helpful.  ;-)

    1. KharminJ | | #4

      Thank you!And that's why I get so little *actually* done! (giggle)Bright Shiny Monday Blessings - I'm going to go cut something now!Kharmin

  4. sewslow67 | | #5

    Hi Cindy:  What a lovely pattern and your fabric is perfection.  Truly, I doubt you will have any problem making it, really.  Do give it your best efforts, and it and you will be ready for spring.  Just follow the basics, i.e. get your measurements correctly, fit your paper pattern and make adjustments where necessary. 

    You may also want to make a muslin, using just the bodice and basting it together.  Even after all the years I've been sewing, I make a muslin before cutting into fashion fabric, "just in case" there is more to do.  I must admit, it is not my favorite part of sewing, but it has saved some lovely fashion fabric from being ruined from time to time.  I don't necessarily do this for everything though.  I can normally "eye" any necessary adjustments for simple things like blouses.  But for jacket type styles, I find it a necessity.

    Currently, my hope though, is that I won't feel a need to make as many muslins after I complete my new basic fitting pattern.  If you remind me in a few days/weeks ...I will give you an update.  I'm using Vogue #1004 in case you want to check it out.

    Happy sewing, Cindy.  And let us know how this project is going.   

  5. User avater
    ThreadKoe | | #6

    Hi Cindy! Fabric widths can vary widely (no pun intended!) Sometimes the fabric is just not the width the pattern envelope recommends. Or sometimes it shrinks to a really strange width! Here is a link to a handy fabric width conversion chart: http://sewing.about.com/library/weekly/aa120598.htm for all those unusual widths you may come across. These charts are helpful for when you want to use a fabric on the lenghthwise grain, but it has a flaw, or a border that you are going to cut off and use separately as well. Cathy

    1. KharminJ | | #7

      Dear Cathy ~ Now *my* brain is fogging! How does one use this chart - seems to me there should also be widths listed across the top, in order to make a grid?I've seen these before, and never did 'grok' the technique. Thanks for a linkable, printable version, though. If you can "do some 'splainin', Lucy", you'd get even more gold stars! :)Kharmin

      1. sewelegant | | #8

        Here is another version of the table that I copied from the Purrfection Pattern web site a few years ago.  It is called danamarie.com now and I am not sure if they still carry it or not.  I find it handy.

        As for using the table... Let's say your pattern calls for 2½ yards of 44-45" fabric.  The fabric you want to buy comes in 59" width.  To find out how much to buy... Find the 44-45" column and go down to the row where it says 2½, now slide your finger (or eyes) over to the 58-60" column and see that you only need 1 7/8 yards.  As you can see from this exercise, the table shows you how much you would have to buy for any of the different widths in that same row.

        1. KharminJ | | #9

          Grazzi! Grazzi!I'm not sure if seeing it lined up the other way made the difference, or what, but it *Does* make sense, now!(I haven't been able to find it at DanaMarie.com, but they do have a great selection of fabrics, notions and patterns!)Bright Blessings!Kharmin

          1. sewelegant | | #10

            I'm glad that helped.  I seem to need it lined up this way too.


      2. User avater
        ThreadKoe | | #11

        Sorry about that! This chart works differently than most of the ones you are probably used to. It works where you read across from the side,(horizontal column) the width of the fabric you have, and the yardage required, then up or down the vertical column to the width of the fabric you want to use. It is actually very quick and simple, once you get the hang of it. It is a lot smaller than the old ones where the widths were on the top and side and read like the old times table grids. That is why I like it for my purse. Just remember that these are only approximations for changes in fabric width. Always check your pattern pieces for unusually wide pieces on narrow widths that might not fit the width of the fabric, or for extra length needed in layouts! With some layouts, there is minimal room between pieces now, and you might need a whole extra pattern piece or two in length! (Been there....) Cathy

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