Facebook Email Pinterest Twitter X Instagram Tiktok Icon YouTube Icon Headphones Icon Favorite Navigation Search Icon Forum Search Icon Main Search Icon Close Icon Video Play Icon Indicator Arrow Icon Close Icon Hamburger/Search Icon Plus Icon Arrow Down Icon Video Guide Icon Article Guide Icon Modal Close Icon Guide Search Icon

Conversational Threads

How much fabric do you usually buy?

mscgal | Posted in Fabric and Trim on

Does anyone have some general guidelines (or a chart, or a webpage reference) for typical amounts of fabric needed for various basic garments such as jacket, short-sleeve top, long-sleeve top, pants, in 18-22 or XL-1X size ranges.

I’m updating my sewing shopping notebook, and would like to have something to go by, when I find a fabulous fabric but don’t have a specific pattern in mind (yet).



  1. GailAnn | | #1

    2 "lengths" plus 1 "sleeve length", add 6 inches for various hems and seam allowances and this is usually more than enough.  The exception would be a lot of front or collar detail, then just add another "length".  Gail


  2. sewelegant | | #2

    I let this be a dilemma for me for a long time too until I took note just how much fabric I really needed for a basic blouse, skirt, pants, etc.  How long you need your pants, skirt, blouse, etc. is the key.  I need 2.5 yds. for pants.  At 5'3" this takes care of a 39" finished side seam plus a waist band and this works for x-lg to 1x.  I can always get the pockets cut out of the scraps.  If you can't cut out a front or back without opening the fabric, you need to measure to see how much more you need.  3 yds. will do it for me.  You can find a fabric conversion chart in many places, it tells you how to convert what you need in 45" wide if you are buying a 60" wide piece, etc.  I think there is one in the pattern catalogs on the page where they tell you about the different sizes.  Oh, yes, and then there is the question of shrinkage.  I purchased a length of stretch denim for pants and after I pre-washed it I ended up with 4" off the length and about 2" off the width.  What a bummer!  It was somewhere around $15 a yard and I purchased the 2.5 without giving a thought to fabric shrinkage.  Didn't save a penny there!  So, you have to take that into account.

    2.5 yds was my standard amt. for a blouse until I gained wt. and now it is 3 yds. too.

    I have lots of stash that is 2.5 yds. and I wish it were more so I could make something other than what I first intended, so I now buy at least 3 yds (4 yds. if I think I might want a dress) of anything that I can't resist.  (Does it ever end?)  Actually, I don't buy fabric like I used to, but I never know when I'll be in a place where there is something wonderful ... it's getting so scarce any more.  5 yds. is usually enough to make something matching like pants and vest.  I wrote this info on a card size paper for my wallet.

    If you are tall, your amounts will differ.  Good Luck.

    1. Gloriasews | | #5

      Sewelegant, for those beautiful pieces of fabric that you now don't have enough to sew what you'd originally planned, could you make sleeves, collars, trim, etc. with coordinating fabrics (usually a plain colour if your main fabric is a print) & still use the main fabric for the main pieces?  This would use up your stash - or make sleeveless or short-sleeve tops or shorts or pedal-pushers, etc. - or use it in home dec projects (pillows, quilts, etc.).  It's a shame to just let it sit abandoned :)


  3. dionna | | #3

    HI here's how I buy my fabric it depends on the width of the fabrics that catch my eye if the fabric is 45'' wide I will buy 5 1/2 to 6  yards without knowing what I will make with it that will be enough for a wardrobe and when I buy so fabric that's 60'' wide usually buy eight  yard's and my size is 10-12 depends on the cut of the pattern the reason I buy extra for a belt or something


  4. User avater
    mscgal | | #4

    Thanks to everyone who posted to this thread, I appreciate your helpful responses. C.Gal

  5. jatman | | #6

    Hi mscgal!  I posted a question like this about a year ago and found this:


    It's pretty helpful.  I have to say that I round up and buy more material than I need because I figure I can always use the extra for trimming something else but I may not be able to find more if I run short for a project and I tend to buy a lot of materials while I'm travelling and know when I buy it that I won't be able to come back for more.

    The discussion I started is 6056.1 (you can do a search by discussion number).  There's a lot of info in there from people including a lot of off topic stuff but interesting just the same.

    Have fun!


This post is archived.

Threads Insider

Get instant access to hundreds of videos, tutorials, projects, and more.

Start Your Free Trial

Already an Insider? Log in

Conversational Threads

Recent Posts and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |

Threads Insider Exclusives

View All
View All