Standing in a fabric store that is filled with bolts of brightly colored fabric, can be both exciting and daunting at the same time.
You will have many things on your mind, including the color or pattern of fabric you want, and how well the fabric will work for your envisioned design.
When buying fabric, possibly the most important thing you have to make sure of is that you are buying enough for your project.
To determine whether or not you have enough material before you sit down at your table and begin cutting, you must first determine the width of the fabric you are planning to buy.
But how do you do this? And how do you know what the standard width of a fabric bolt is? When it comes to fabric width measures, this guide will help you to become an expert sewer in no time! Just keep reading to find out more!
Width Of Fabric – What Is It?
When measuring the width of the fabric (WOF), which is also known as the width of the warp threads, take the distance between the two outermost warp threads and multiply it by two.
On a loom, when you weave cloth, the weft and the warp are two sets of threads that flow in the opposite direction of one another.
According to this representation of the fabric, the warp threads go from the top to the bottom while the weft threads go from left to right accordingly.
The breadth of the fabric is determined by the distance between the warp thread that’s found on the left of your fabric and the warp thread is on the right side of your fabric, Taking away any selvage.
Even though the true width of the material may be more than the useful width, most manufacturers state the usable width rather than the true width of the material.
The width of the fabric is the area you have between the selvage edges of your fabric to put your pattern pieces.
Because selvage margins are heavier than other parts of the fabric, adding these in a piece may cause your garment to pucker.
Cutting inside that border is critical because cutting outside the border may cause your garment to pucker.
When quilting, the width of fabric may include these selvage edges as well as the main fabric. This is because you aren’t usually cutting quilt fabric with design components consistently.
When given a quilting direction like “cut a five-inch WOF strip,” for example, it would be appropriate to cut a single strip of the fabric that included the selvage edges.
What Is The Standard Width Of Fabric Bolt?
Depending on the manufacturer, the width of a standard fabric bolt might range from 35 to 108 inches in width.
With specialist fabrics at the extreme ends of the measuring range, the standard bolt will measure between 40 and 60 inches in length.
Because of the large range of fabrics available, it is impossible to predict the yards of cloth that will be required.
The most precise method of determining the width of the fabric is to lay it flat on a table and measure its length.
Before you go that far, you may estimate the breadth of the fabric based on criteria such as the type of material, how the cloth is wrapped around the bolt, and where you’re getting it to help you make your decision.
Don’t worry if you have never had to do this before, we are here to help and this guide is full of the answers that you need.
Measuring The Width Of Fabric
Getting the measurement of the fabric perfect can be quite difficult, but here is an easy way to do it. You only need a yardstick (or another tool for measuring), and a flat surface to do this.
Laying your fabric down flat can help to smooth it out. After you’ve unfolded the fabric, double-check to make sure that the selvage edges are visible.
One side of the yardstick should be placed on one of the selvage edges, and the other end should be placed on the selvage edge, with the number of the yardstick being marked on both ends of the yardstick.
If you are using a cutting mat that has measurements, you may want to put your fabric down on it to double-check your measurements before you begin cutting.
Even though measuring tapes can be employed, a hard instrument such as a yardstick will more likely deliver a precise measurement.
To calculate the width of the fabric that can be used between the selvage edges, move the yardstick so the zero of the yardstick is aligned with the start of the width of the fabric between the selvage edges.
Although the width of fabric measures for most textiles will be under a yard in width, larger fabrics such as upholstery or quilt backing may necessitate the use of many yardsticks.
What’s The Importance Of Fabric Width?
The breadth of the cloth is important since it will help you determine the number of yards of fabric you’ll need to complete your project based on its length.
In the case of a quilting pattern that calls for 5 yards of fabric with a width of 45 inches, but you wish to use fabric with a width of fewer than 45 inches, you’ll know that more than 5 yards of fabric will be required to complete the quilting pattern successfully.
It is common for designs for sewing or quilting projects to specify the quantity of yardage that will be required in addition to the width of the fabric to be used.
Preparing in advance for these two measures is the most effective strategy to ensure that you’ll have enough fabric for your project before you begin cutting it.
The Width Of Fabric Bolts
The width of the cloth varies based on the manufacturer and the type of fabric used in its construction. When it comes to fabric bolts, there isn’t a universal width for everything.
However, there are various techniques for guessing how broad fabric is, and these can be done even before you properly measure it.
Most closely related materials have widths that are comparable to one another; for example, usually, cotton textiles come in the same or similar widths.
Let’s take a look at the different types of widths there are.
Double Width Fabric
The maker of this fabric folds it in half before wrapping it over the bolt. When unwrapping this fabric, you’ll see that the selvage edges are on one side and the other side is folded.
This is the manner through which extremely wide textiles such as upholstery or curtain fabrics are wrapped up.
Usually, the right side faces outward, whereas the wrong side faces inward. When this cloth is cut off of the bolt, a double layer is created.
Single-width fabric can be defined as any fabric that is wrapped over the bolt but has not been folded. When the single-width fabric gets unrolled, there will be only one layer.
Typically, the selvage margins can easily be seen on distinct sides of the material, providing for easy identification of the proper and incorrect sides.
Typically, the single-width fabric can be put on the bolt so that the front side is exposed.
Most fabrics on the market now are between 40 and 60 inches wide. Cotton quilting fabric and the majority of garment textiles satisfy these requirements.
Quilting fabrics are frequently larger than the other textiles in this category.
Both cotton and wool are common single-width fabrics. When shopping, if you come across a bolt of garment fabric that has been folded twice, it is extra broad fabric.
Narrow textiles are frequently used for small components, such as interfacing. Because less width is desired, interface bolts are frequently around 30 inches.
Furthermore, historical fabrics, particularly kinds of cotton and muslins, are frequently around 40 inches.
Due to the narrower textiles produced by smaller looms, fabric produced in non-commercial contexts is often more narrow.
Typically, fabrics like these are more old or specialized. These fabrics are quite tough to get in your neighborhood fabric store.
Upholstery or home decor are the two applications that make the most frequent use of broad fabrics. These fabrics are occasionally offered in double width due to their breadth.
They typically range in width from 54 to 108 inches.
Fabrics for home decor with intricate designs, such as brocades, are often extra wide so they can minimize seaming and pattern matching on big items such as couches or curtains.
Additionally, a variety of less common garment fabrics are available in extremely wide widths. Due to the manufacturing process for corduroy, twill, and knit jersey, they slant wider.
Due to the ease with which knit jerseys may be folded, it is usually sold as double-width.
Additionally, extra-wide lengths of quilt backing are usually available. Typically, backing a whole quilt with a single continuous piece of fabric requires a width of 60 inches or more.
Due to the 60-inch width of a queen-size bed, quilts larger than this require a border quilt backing.
Finding The Width On Fabric Bolts
It’s best to attempt to try and find the breadth of a bolt before you draw it down and unroll it ready for cutting.
This will assist you in determining the number of yards of cloth you’ll require if the cloth will meet your pattern requirements.
If the material is wrapped over a bolt, look for a sticker or label at the end of the bolt.
The fiber content of the fiber, as well as the washing conditions and the width of the fabric, will all be printed on the back of most cardboard bolts.
This label may also include information about the cost per yard.
A hanging tag or another label may be attached to a cloth on a roll or a cardboard bolt that is otherwise unlabeled. In addition to the bolt’s data, this tag will have all of that data as well.
Bear in mind when shopping that the measurement shown on the label might not be true, particularly if a portion of the bolt has previously been purchased by someone else.
Make sure that you always measure your material before cutting it or purchasing it from the fabric store.
Does WOF Affect The Yardage Of The Bolt?
Although the bolt’s weight is important, the amount of yards that can be wrapped around it has little effect. The typical bolt has a beginning length of 40 to 100 yards, regardless of how wide it is.
The thickness has more of an effect on yardage compared to the width, rather than the other way round.
It is more difficult to wrap thicker material around a bolt as much as thinner material, resulting in a shorter yardage length.
Thicker material will have a lower yardage length than thinner material.
Denim, in contrast to a cotton/lycra mix, will become too thick to be wrapped over the bolt before it can be hemmed.
Though the fabric’s measurements are mentioned on the label, it is always a good idea to measure a bolt of fabric before buying it.
When dealing with large retail chains, you might not be able to tell whether or not another party has obtained a piece of the bolt.
It is better to measure the fabric there in the shop before you go buy it.
Fabric Sold By Yard
The fabric is often sold by the yard regardless of how wide it is or how much it costs. The width of the cloth should be taken into consideration when determining the price per yard of fabric.
For example, depending on the look of the fabric, a double-width fabric may appear to cost twice as much per yard as an identical fabric advertised in a single-width fabric.
In most cases, the price per square foot will remain unchanged.
You just receive twice as much fabric per yard when purchasing double-width fabric as you would when purchasing single-width fabric.
Rather than specifying the size of fabric in square feet or square inches, the term “by the yard” provides a more clear indication of the size of the fabric you want.
Weighing and measuring the fabric in lengths and providing you with widths is a more informative technique of giving you more information about the cloth than other methods of measuring it would be.
Making Sure You Have Enough Fabric
The first step in ensuring that you have enough fabric for your project is to determine the width of the cloth.
Once you’ve got this information, there are a few extra aspects to take into account to guarantee that you don’t end up underestimating your measurements.
Analyze your design to see how you will need to cut out the various sections of it.
When quilting, check to see that the fabric can withstand the largest areas of your pattern before you begin stitching it together.
When it comes to stitching, pay close attention to the lengths of the various pattern pieces on the fabric.
For example, a width that is suitable for a blouse may not be suitable for a complete circular skirt.
It is important to remember to look at the fabric’s selvage edge as you are completing your calculations every time.
When there is a large difference in fabric density, even a tiny amount of overlap with the selvage may make it more difficult to create a design that is both functional and attractive.
Always leave enough fabric when cutting to accommodate delicate cuts and the necessity of aligning directed patterns.
Even if you can get enough fabric out of three yards of striped fabric, that amount of fabric may not be enough to line up the stripes in such a manner that they are all facing the same direction as the rest of the cloth.
Remember, it is always better to buy too much than too little.
Measuring Fabric On A Roll
In the case of fabric purchased at a wholesale price or from a big shop, you may find that the fabric is not folded onto bolts as is normal.
It might be wrapped up in tubes, much like wrapping paper, and stored in a dry place. Measuring rolls of fabric is different from measuring bolts of fabric.
Instead of being folded double over bolts when not in use, extra-wide cloth can be rolled up in a single sheet when on a roll.
This is particularly useful for heavier, less flexible textiles that don’t fold as neatly as thinner, more flexible materials do.
Because they deal with larger amounts of merchandise at a given time, wholesalers are more likely than retailers to make use of roll packaging materials.
For example, selling 250 yards of yardage cut from a single roll is simpler than selling the same amount of yardage in 40-yard bolts.
Fabric is available in a variety of widths, which vary based on the type of fabric used and the intended use for which it is meant.
There are various straightforward methods for finding the optimum number of yards for your project despite this vanity, but if you are struggling then you can find many size conversion charts online to help you out.
Preparing the perfect project begins with calculating the width of your cloth and cutting it to the necessary length, so make sure that you always buy a bit more fabric than you think you’ll need just in case.
Frequently Asked Questions
Get your last-minute fabric-related questions answered here!
How Wide Is Fleece Usually On A Fabric Bolt?
Typically, fleece is around 58 to 60 inches wide when on a fabric bolt.
What Is The Typical Fabric Width?
In the USA, the typical fabric width is around 54 inches. This might change depending on your country though. In the UK for example, the fabric is often around 48 inches wide.
For imported fabrics, such as Indian Silk, the fabric tends to be 40 to 42 inches wide.
How Many Yards Of Quilting Fabric Is On A Bolt?
Typically, quilting fabrics such as quilting cotton comes at around 15 yards per bolt. This fabric is also typically 44-45 inches wide.