How much does a yard of fabric cost? If you want to buy some fabric, you might wonder how much a yard costs.
The answer depends on where you live. In the US, a yard of fabric usually costs between $5-$10.
In other countries, such as Australia or New Zealand, a yard of fabric can cost anywhere from $20-$30.
To find out how much you will be paying, however, you will need to know exactly how much a yard of fabric is and how many yards you will need for your sewing project.
Fabric is a type of textile that comes in various sizes. Some fabrics are woven, while others are knitted.
There are also nonwoven fabrics, which are made of fibers that are bonded together. Fabrics also come in many colors, patterns, and textures.
They can be made out of natural materials, such as cotton, wool, silk, linen, rayon, bamboo, hemp, jute, etc., or they can be synthetic, such as polyester, nylon, acrylic, spandex, etc.
When choosing a model and picking the best fabric for your project, you need to know how much of that material you need to buy as running out in the middle of sewing can be a nightmare.
However, you do not want to end up with excess fabric at the end as that is a waste of money and material.
Determining the yardage you need prevents this, and this is why we have written this article.
It is so important to learn how much is one yard of fabric and how many yards you are going to need. Let’s jump in.
Measuring Yards Of Fabric
Fabrics come in many different widths and lengths, but a yard of the fabric refers only to the length.
The material is unrolled from the bolt, and from here, you need to measure 36 inches which is equal to about 3 feet.
The bolt is the section that holds the material in place and no matter the width, the yard is 3 feet or 36 inches measured from the selvage edge.
You can always convert yards to a metric system too if you have a model to follow.
You can go online to convert inches to centimeters to understand how much you will need to buy if you wish to use the metric system.
When calculating the amount of fabric needed for a project, remember to take into account the seam allowance.
This is an additional piece of fabric added to the actual fabric used. For example, if you want to make a pillow cover, you’ll need to add 1/2 inch (1 cm) to the total size of the fabric.
The seam allowance is usually multiplied by two and added to length and width.
You should also consider whether or not you want to use a zipper. Zippers require more fabric than buttons because of the extra material needed to create the zipper pull.
Hemming requires calculating the height of the skirt/pants/dress and adding the fabric needed to cover it.
You should start by dividing it by 36 to get the number of yards to buy, then rounding up if there are more than 1-yard increments, and then multiplying the number of yards bought by the price per yard to figure out how much you will be paying.
You need to make sure your pattern fits the size of the fabric you want to use.
For example, if you want to make a curtain that measures 40 inches wide by 60 inches long, then you’d need to calculate the width of your design divided by the width of the fabric.
Round down to an even number. Then multiply the length by the amount you rounded down, and divide by 36. That’s how many yards you need to buy.
Patterned fabric is very difficult to sew. When sewing patterned fabrics, you need to be careful about matching the colors so they won’t ruin your final design or style.
You may need to buy more fabric to make sure that the design matches perfectly. After sewing the fabric, you may still have leftover fabric.
Before dividing the result by 36 to work out the numbers of yards, always add on one extra repeat of the fabric.
Patterned materials are often used in dresses, skirts, tops, jackets, coats, pants, etc., but also as tablecloths, bedspreads, curtains, shower curtains, wall hangings, etc.
Double-width fabric is mostly used in quilts, pillows, blankets, etc. You may need to buy two yards of each type of material.
When working with clothing and with models, the calculations below work for women sizes from 10 to 14 of a height of around 5 feet and 4 inches.
Most patterned materials for clothing come in single-width, and double-width fabrics are used more commonly in solid colors.
There are plenty of charts you can find on the internet that can help you work out yard measurements for a certain model or size.
If your model has uncertain numbers, you can check these guides for a rounded answer.
For full-length and long pants, you will want to measure 3 and one-quarter yards of fabric with single-width measuring 35-36 in.
A double-width fabric needs to be measured around 58-60 inches in width and this means you’ll end up with more material.
You will therefore only need 2 and one-quarter yards and a quarter of a yard when making the cuffs.
For Capri length pants, you’ll need 2 and three-quarters yards when using a single-width fabric and 1 and a half yards for double-width.
If you want to measure Bermuda length shorts, you’ll need to round this down to 2 and a half yards when using single-width and 1 and one-quarter yards for double length.
You will need to buy less material when making a straight skirt than you would with an A-line model.
A straight skirt only requires 2 yards of single-width material but remember to add 1/4 yard for an A-line model.
For a double-width fabric, you will need to measure out 1 and a quarter yards when making a straight style or 1 and three quarters if it’s A-line.
When making a shirt or blouse that has shorter sleeves, measure 2 yards of a single-width material.
For a long-sleeved shirt or blouse, this needs to go up to 2 and a half yards.
For a double-width material, you’ll need 1 and a quarter yards of fabric alongside single-width material and 1.6 yards of double-width material.
If you’re trying to create your design with complicated patterns such as plaids, you need to add one length of the plaid repeat after every yard of fabric.
If you are making a dress that has short sleeves, you will need to increase the amount of fabric to 4 and a quarter yards, adding on three-quarter yards to turn these into long sleeves.
These measurements work only for a straight skirt as a wider skirt will need more fabric to complete the look.
A-Line Dress Example
To calculate the number of yards needed for an A-line dress, we first need to know how many times the fabric should be repeated.
The most common way to do this is to use the number of inches between the shoulder seams and the hem.
As there are usually 12 inches between the shoulders and the hem, you will need to multiply this by 12.
So, if you have a dress that measures 45 inches at the waist, you will need to divide this by 12 (45 ÷ 12 4) and then multiply this by 12 (4 x 12 48).
This gives us the total number of yards required for the dress. We now need to figure out what kind of fabric we’re going to use.
To do this, we need to take our original measurement of 45 inches and divide this by the number of yards we’ve calculated.
In our case, this was 48 so we would get 1.8 yards. We then need to multiply this by two because we’re doubling the fabric for both the bodice and the skirt. This results in 3 yards of fabric.
Now, all we need to do is add on the amount of fabric for the sleeves. Most dresses come with three different lengths of sleeves: regular, bell, and Capri.
Regular sleeves are 7 inches from the elbow to the wrist. Bell sleeves extend past the elbow and end just below the wrist. Capri sleeves stop where the regular ones start.
These measurements can vary. However, the average sleeve length is 8 inches from the elbow to the wrist.
So, we need to add ¾ yard of fabric for each sleeve. This means that we need 6 yards of fabric to be safe, for the bodice and skirt, plus another ¾ yard for each sleeve.
We hope after reading this article you have gained a better understanding of how much is a yard of fabric and how to measure how many yards you will need for certain items of clothing and models.
Although the calculations seem a little tricky, once you have mastered them, you’ll be on your way to making plenty of skirts, dresses, and tops in no time.
To put it simply, a yard of the fabric refers only to the length. The material is unrolled from the bolt, where you will need to measure 36 inches.
The rest of the calculations all come down to personal preference from hemming, to the seam allowance and the type of garment you are making.
Remember these rules and you should be good to go! Happy sewing!