What is a Yard of Fabric, Conversion Table, and Related Questions: A Beginner’s Guide - Mindy Makes (2022)

Always wondered what exactly is a yard of fabric? How big is it? How wide is it? What about half a yard? Two yards? Read on to learn more and figure out how much yardage you need for a project!

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • How Big is a Yard of Fabric
    • A Yard of Fabric Equivalents
  • How Wide is a Yard of Fabric
  • How do You Measure a Yard of Fabric
    • What is a Bolt of Fabric
    • What is the Selvedge of Fabric
  • What is the Width of my Fabric
  • How Do I Get Fabric Cut
  • Fabric Yardage Conversion Table (table)
  • How Many Feet are in a Yard of Fabric (table)
  • How Many Meters are in a Yard of Fabric (table)
  • What is the Dimension of a Yard of Fabric
  • How Many Yards of Fabric Do I Need?
    • Commercial Patterns
    • Sewing Clothes
    • Pillows and Small Projects
    • Other Considerations
  • How to Make Sure You have Enough Fabric?
What is a Yard of Fabric, Conversion Table, and Related Questions: A Beginner’s Guide - Mindy Makes (1)

How Big is a Yard of Fabric?

A yard of fabric refers to 36 inches in length of the fabric, and it is measured along the selvedge of the bolt of fabric. It is called a yard of fabric because it has the same length as a yardstick.

A Yard of Fabric Equivalents:

  • 36 Inches (in)
  • 3 Feet (ft)
  • 0.9144 meters (m)
  • 91.44 centimeters (cm)

How Wide is a Yard of Fabric?

Here in the United States, common fabric widths you will find in stores are 44”, 54”, and 60” . Quilting cotton is usually 44”/45″ wide whereas apparel fabrics run between 44”- 60” wide. Interior decor fabrics are generally 54” or 60” wide.

Other widths of fabrics are: 35”-36”, 39”, 41”, 44”-45”, 50”, 52-54”, 58”-60”, 66”, 72”, 96”, and 108”

What is a Yard of Fabric, Conversion Table, and Related Questions: A Beginner’s Guide - Mindy Makes (2)

Photo shows 4 different bolts of muslin fabric in varying widths: 120″, 90″, 44″, and 36″

(Video) How to Read an Inch Ruler or Tape Measure

When you visit a fabric store, you will see bolts of fabric wound around a rectangular cardboard or a long cardboard roll.

What is a Yard of Fabric, Conversion Table, and Related Questions: A Beginner’s Guide - Mindy Makes (3)

The fabrics around the rectangle cardboard is usually first folded in half (width-wise), then rolled around the cardboard. This means that the fabric that you see on the bolt is actually only half the actual width.

What is a Yard of Fabric, Conversion Table, and Related Questions: A Beginner’s Guide - Mindy Makes (4)

Fabric around a long roll is generally not folded. This means that the width of the fabric is the width of the roll.

How Do You Measure a Yard of Fabric?

As mentioned previously, fabric is measured along the length, which is along the selvedge. Simply take a tape measure (or yard stick), unravel the bolt and measure out 36″ (or the length of the yard stick).

What Is a Bolt of Fabric?

A bolt is a unit of measurement for a piece of cloth woven on a loom or a knitting machine. The length of a bolt usually varies between 40-100 yards. The term “a bolt of fabric”or “fabric bolt” refers to the fabric you see in stores that is wound around a long roll or around a rectangular piece of cardboard.

What Is the Selvedge of Fabric?

The selvedge of fabric (also known just as selvedge) is the side edges of fabric that runs along the length of the fabric. The selvedge of fabric is very tightly woven and prevents the fabric from fraying or unraveling.

What is a Yard of Fabric, Conversion Table, and Related Questions: A Beginner’s Guide - Mindy Makes (5)
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Sometimes the selvedge of fabric will be a different color than the fabric itself (usually a narrow white edge) and may have the manufacturer’s logo printed.

What is a Yard of Fabric, Conversion Table, and Related Questions: A Beginner’s Guide - Mindy Makes (6)
What is a Yard of Fabric, Conversion Table, and Related Questions: A Beginner’s Guide - Mindy Makes (7)

Other times the selvedge of fabric will be the same color as the fabric with a frayed edge. If you look closely, you will find little holes along the selvedge of fabric. These little holes are where hooks were placed to hold the fabric taut as it is being woven.

What is the Width of my Fabric?

To determine how wide a fabric is at the store, simply look at the bottom of the bolt and you will find the following information:

  • Width of the fabric
  • Fabric composition: (cotton, polyester, spandex, etc)
  • Pricing: listed as price/yard
  • Fabric Care Instructions
What is a Yard of Fabric, Conversion Table, and Related Questions: A Beginner’s Guide - Mindy Makes (8)

A 43″ wide bolt of fabric.

What is a Yard of Fabric, Conversion Table, and Related Questions: A Beginner’s Guide - Mindy Makes (9)

57″ wide bolt of fabric

What is a Yard of Fabric, Conversion Table, and Related Questions: A Beginner’s Guide - Mindy Makes (10)

This tag at the bottom of a rolled bolt of fabric indicates the fabric is 54″ wide.

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Be sure to check the width of fabric when determining how much fabric you need for your project. A wider fabric will allow you to stack patterns next to each other which means you won’t need as much (length of) fabric.

To determine width of fabric at home, simply measure with a tape measure from selvedge to selvedge.

How Do I Get Fabric Cut?

Here in the United States, fabric is sold in the yard. Depending on the store, you may have to buy the fabric in 1 yard increments or you may be able to purchase them in fractions of a yard. When purchasing fabric in fractions, you can get them cut in increments of 1/8th 1/4th, or 1/2 of a yard. The chart below will help you figure out how many inches/cm these fractions mean.

Fabric Yardage Conversion Table

Yard(s) of FabricInches (in)Centimeters (cm)
1/84.5 in11.43 cm
1/49 in22.86 cm
3/813.5 in34.29 cm
1/218 in45.72 cm
5/822.5 in57.15 cm
3/427 in68.58 cm
7/831.5 in80.01 cm
136 in91.44 cm
1 1/840.5 in102.87 cm
1 1/445 in114.3 cm
1 3/849.5 in123.19 cm
1 1/254 in 137.16 cm
1 5/858.5 in148.59 cm
1 3/463 in160.02 cm
1 7/867.5 in171.45 cm
272 in 182.88 cm

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What is a Yard of Fabric, Conversion Table, and Related Questions: A Beginner’s Guide - Mindy Makes (11)

Fabric store worker cutting 6″ of fabric (United States).

Certain stores like Joann Fabric and Crafts allows you to purchase fabric by the inch when you purchase in store, with the smallest amount being 4.5″ (1/8 of a yard).

How Many Feet are in a Yard of Fabric?

To determine the number of feet in a yard, simply multiply the yard by 3.

Yard(s) of FabricFeet (ft)
13 ft
2 6 ft
39 ft
412 ft
515 ft
618 ft
721 ft
824 ft
927 ft
1030 ft

How Many Meters are in a Yard of Fabric?

To determine the number of meters in a yard, multiply yard by 0.9144.

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Yard(s) of FabricMeters (m)
10.9144 m
21.8288 m
32.7432 m
43.6576 m
54.572 m
65.4864 m
76.4008 m
87.3152 m
98.2296 m
109.144 m

What is the Dimensions of a Yard of Fabric?

The dimensions of a yard of fabric depends solely on the width of the fabric, because the length of a yard (36 inches) always stays the same. If the width of the fabric is 44”, then it’s dimension will be 44” (width) x 36”(length). If the width of the fabric is 54”, then it’s dimension will be 54” (wide) x 36” (length), and so forth.

How Many Yards of Fabric Do I Need?

The number of yards of fabric you need depends on the project. While there is no magic formula, the following tips should give you a general guideline to figure out how much fabric you need.

Commercial Patterns

For commercial patterns, you will find a chart at the back of the pattern that tells you how much fabric is needed for the apparel size you are wanting to make. The chart will also tell you how many yards you need based on how wide the fabric is (usually 44” or 54”wide).

What is a Yard of Fabric, Conversion Table, and Related Questions: A Beginner’s Guide - Mindy Makes (12)

Sewing Clothes

For sewing apparel, first check to make sure the width of the pattern fits within how wide your fabric is when the grain line is parallel to the selvedge. Don’t forget to add seam allowance (usually 1”) when figuring out if the pattern fits within the width of the fabric. Otherwise, your clothing will be turn out tighter than you planned.

Next, measure the length of each pattern piece, add those lengths up and divide that number by 36” (1 yard). This will give you the number of yards of you need. Again, make sure to add seam allowance and Hem allowance when measuring pattern length. Otherwise, your clothes will end up shorter than planned

Pillows and Other Small Projects

For every pillow you sew, make sure the pattern fits on the folded width of the fabric (because you need 2 pieces of the pattern to make 1 pillow). Next, determine the length of the pattern and add the seam allowance of 1” (if not already included). Divide this number by 36″ to get the yardage you need.

For other small projects (hats, bags, zipper pouches, etc), the same method applies for determining how much fabric you need.

Other Considerations

  • Fabrics Shrink in the Wash, so make sure to get a little more fabric to accommodate the shrinkage, otherwise your pattern may not fit on the fabric once it’s been pre-washed.
  • You don’t get the actual amount of fabric you asked for. Why? Because often times the fabric isn’t cut perfectly straight. Other times the fabric is cut in a slight diagonal and you end up with once side of the fabric bigger than the other. Again, try to get a few more inches to account for this cutting error.
  • Your fabric has a specific design or motif (for example, a large flower you want centered on the tote bag). Take that into account as you may need extra fabric so the motif is cut at the right place.

ALWAYS get more fabric when you aren’t sure, and always round up. It is misery when you come home to cut your pattern pieces out just to realize you didn’t buy enough. Even worse when you return to the store and they are sold out of the same fabric * cry *. Also, there is always the chance you cut the wrong pattern piece, or you make a mistake during sewing and now you need to re-cut the pattern. This is true for beginner and advanced sew-ists, so yes, more is better!

However, it is understandable that fabrics costs quickly add up. This is why custom clothing includes the use of making a muslin. A muslin is a mock up of what the end product will look like and usually made with a cheap fabric (called muslin fabric) that is usually a off-white (un-dyed) cotton. This allows you to make sizing adjustments on the model and helps you know how much fabric you actually need.

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How to Make Sure You Have Enough Fabric?

The Number 1 tip (and I abide by this rule) to make sure you buy enough fabric is simply to bring your patterns to the store. Unroll the fabric on the cutting counter and lay your pattern pieces on it. Doing so has saved me countless trips back to the fabric store. It also helps me not overbuy fabric as I can lay my pattern pieces out and move them around to see if I can fit certain pieces next to another one.

I hope this post was helpful to you in understanding what a yard of fabric is and related questions! Let me know in the comments below if you have other questions 🙂

FAQs

What is a yard of fabric? ›

Very simply, one yard of fabric is 36 inches long. But working out how much fabric you need for a sewing project is a little bit more complicated than that. While a yard in length is always a yard, fabric width varies according to where you're buying it. Average widths are between 33-44 inches.

What are the dimensions of 1 yard of fabric? ›

How big is one linear yard of fabric?
YardsLengthWidth
136 Inches (3 Feet)54 Inches (4.5 Feet)
272 Inches (6 Feet)54 Inches (4.5 Feet)
3108 Inches (9 Feet)54 Inches (4.5 Feet)
4144 Inches (12 Feet)54 Inches (4.5 Feet)
36 more rows

How do you calculate yards of fabric? ›

Total number of pieces divided by number of pieces that fit into width equals number of rows you need. Number of needed rows multiplied by length of one piece equals total project in inches. Total project inches divided by 36 inches equals total yardage needed (rounded up to the whole number).

What does 1 yard of fabric look like? ›

A yard of fabric is 36″, 3 feet, 0.9144 meters, or 91.44cm. It looks like a yardstick, or about double your shoulder width. A “yard of fabric” only describes the length, not the width.

How do you measure a yard? ›

Walk the length of your lawn, figuring that one pace equals about 3 feet. Do the same with the width of the lawn. Then multiply the length by the width to arrive at the total. Make sure you subtract the square footage of your home and driveway when calculating the total square footage of your lawn.

How many squares is a yard of fabric? ›

Did you ever wonder how many squares of a given size you could get from ONE YARD of fabric?
...
How Many Squares in a Yard?!
Guideline for figuring number of pieces in a yard of fabric. (curved or unusual shaped pieces require more fabric)
Size of SquarePieces in 36" FabricPieces in 45" Fabric
4"81*99
5"4963
6"36*42
14 more rows
1 Jun 2005

What are the dimensions of 1/2 yard of fabric? ›

The fabric is sold by the yard, so if you got one yard of fabric it would 36 inches long by 44 inches wide. If you got a half yard it would be 18 inches long by 44 inches wide.

What is the dimension of a 1/4 yard of fabric? ›

trying to find an easy way for my mind to remember this, a 1/4 yard is basically 9″ x 42″ which is folded in half on the bolt. A fat quarter is 18″ x 21″.

How much does a yard of fabric cover? ›

A: A yard of fabric is three feet in length. There are twelve inches in a foot. If you are calculating how many square feet the fabric will cover then you multiply the length times breadth – so a 3 feet long piece of fabric that is also 3 feet wide (3 x 3) will cover 9 square feet.

What can you make with a yard of fabric? ›

Depending on the style and silhouette, you can easily make tops, dresses, bags, and accessories out of 1 yard of fabric. Also, if your fabric is 60 inch or 152 cm width by 1 yard fabric, you will have lot more options to sew compared to a fabric yard with 45 inch or 114 cm width.

How do you calculate fabric yield? ›

First, take your Rod Width and multiply by your Fullness ratio, then add your returns & overlap allowances (we recommend 25”) to figure your Flat Finished Measurement. Your Flat Finished Measurement at this point is also your Fabric Yield in inches.

How many yards of fabric does it take to make a shirt? ›

Shirts can be made using about 3 yards of fabric. It all depends on the size of the person and the length of the shirt and sleeves. Fabric width will also change the yardage amount.

What can I make with 3 yards of fabric? ›

5 Fun Things to Do with a Few Yards of Fabric
  • Cover a Headboard. ...
  • Add Some Splashy Pillows. ...
  • Perk up Place Settings with Fun Napkins. ...
  • Dress Your Table with a Runner. ...
  • Frame Your Windows and Doors.
23 Mar 2015

How do you measure material? ›

How to measure fabric - YouTube

How many yards of fabric do you need to make a kids dress? ›

If you're making a short dress with short sleeves for a child, 1 yard should be the right amount of fabric. For a longer adult-size dress with long sleeves you will need a minimum 2 to 3 yards of wide fabric.

How many steps are in a yard? ›

Please share if you found this tool useful:
Conversions Table
1 Yards to Steps = 1.270 Yards to Steps = 84
2 Yards to Steps = 2.480 Yards to Steps = 96
3 Yards to Steps = 3.690 Yards to Steps = 108
4 Yards to Steps = 4.8100 Yards to Steps = 120
11 more rows

What is the fastest way to measure a yard? ›

How To Measure A Lawn - YouTube

How do you measure yards into feet? ›

To convert a foot measurement to a yard measurement, divide the length by the conversion ratio. The length in yards is equal to the feet divided by 3.

How many charm squares are in a yard of fabric? ›

Charm squares are a great cut of fabric to use in quilts and other patchwork projects! One yard of cotton fabric (the standard 45″ width) will produce 56 charm squares (5″x5″).

How do you measure a quilt square? ›

Beginner Quilt Series - How to Cut Quilt Squares - YouTube

How many fat quarters are in a yard of fabric? ›

A Fat Quarter is a piece of fabric cut 18″ off the end of the bolt, and then cut in half on the fold. Four of these put together still make up 1 yard of fabric.

How many inches is a third yard? ›

Yard to Inch Conversion Table
YardsInches
1 yd36"
2 yd72"
3 yd108"
4 yd144"
36 more rows

What is the width of fabric? ›

Quilting Terminology - Width of Fabric (WOF) - YouTube

Is a fat Quarter 1 4 yard? ›

A traditional 1⁄4-yard cut measures 9×42". A fat quarter is cut crosswise from a 1⁄2-yard piece of fabric-an 18×44" rectangle cut in half to yield an 18×21" "fat" 1⁄4-yard piece. Although a traditional 1⁄8-yard cut and a fat-eighth cut contain the same amount of fabric, they differ in shape.

How many inches are in a quarter yard? ›

There are 9 inches in 1/4 yard.

How many 2.5 squares are in a jelly roll? ›

Jelly rolls are 2.5” x the width of fabric strips. There are typically 42 strips in each pack. Jelly rolls are very flexible in the quilting world.

How do you convert square feet into yards of fabric? ›

Divide the square footage measurement by 9. Because 1 yard is 3 feet long, a square yard is 3 feet by 3 feet, or 9 square feet. In the example, 144 square feet divided by 9 equals 16 square yards.

How many yards of fabric do I need to make a blanket? ›

How to Make a DIY Throw Blanket
  1. 1 1/2 Yards of 60”-Wide Fabric (White)
  2. 1 1/2 Yards of 60”-Wide Fabric (Gray)
  3. 3 Yards of Large Pom-Pom Trim.
5 Mar 2019

How do you calculate square feet for fabric? ›

Multiply the length by the width and you'll have the square feet. Here's a basic formula you can follow: Length (in feet) x width (in feet) = area in sq. ft.

How much does a yard of fabric cover? ›

A: A yard of fabric is three feet in length. There are twelve inches in a foot. If you are calculating how many square feet the fabric will cover then you multiply the length times breadth – so a 3 feet long piece of fabric that is also 3 feet wide (3 x 3) will cover 9 square feet.

How much is a yard of fabric cost? ›

How Much Does a Yard of Fabric Cost? There is no set answer for how much a yard of fabric costs, but the average price is between $15 and $50 for high-quality fabrics, with luxury fabrics costing as much as $1,000 per yard. Several factors can influence the price of fabric.

How do you measure yards into feet? ›

To convert a foot measurement to a yard measurement, divide the length by the conversion ratio. The length in yards is equal to the feet divided by 3.

How many yards of fabric do I need for pants? ›

Yards Needed For Pants

On average, you are looking at twice the length to cover the front and back, and an extra amount for crotch, pockets, waistband, hems, and seams. Anywhere in the region of 2 to 3 yards is a good starting point for pants.

What can you make with a yard of fabric? ›

Depending on the style and silhouette, you can easily make tops, dresses, bags, and accessories out of 1 yard of fabric. Also, if your fabric is 60 inch or 152 cm width by 1 yard fabric, you will have lot more options to sew compared to a fabric yard with 45 inch or 114 cm width.

How do you measure material? ›

How to measure fabric - YouTube

How do you convert square feet into yards of fabric? ›

Divide the square footage measurement by 9. Because 1 yard is 3 feet long, a square yard is 3 feet by 3 feet, or 9 square feet. In the example, 144 square feet divided by 9 equals 16 square yards.

How much does a yard of fabric weigh? ›

Medium-weight fabric usually weighs anywhere from 5.29-12 oz per square yard.

How many yards of fabric does it take to make a dress? ›

Calculating how much fabric you need

If you're making a short dress with short sleeves for a child, 1 yard should be the right amount of fabric. For a longer adult-size dress with long sleeves you will need a minimum 2 to 3 yards of wide fabric.

How do you calculate the cost of woven fabric? ›

If we consider the above-mentioned example, after calculating the cost of a single pick, from that we can derive the cost of the woven fabric per meter. If we assume the fabric (loom) width is 56” then the cost of the fabric is, = 56 × 0.26 = Tk. 14.56 / meter.

What is 1 yard equal to in feet? ›

Yard Definition: A yard is a unit of length. The symbol of yard is “yd”. It is equal to 3 feet or 36 inches. If converted into meters, 1 yard is equal to 0.9144 meters.

How do you convert feet and inches into yards? ›

Converting Yards to Feet / Yards to Inches/ Customary/ Large to Small

Why is a yard 3 feet? ›

Origin. The origin of the yard measure is uncertain. Both the Romans and the Welsh used multiples of a shorter foot, but 2+1⁄2 Roman feet was a "step" (Latin: gradus) and 3 Welsh feet was a "pace" (Welsh: cam).

How many yards do you need for a gathered skirt? ›

When it comes to a gathered skirt, you generally want to gather three times your desired measurement. So if your waist is 36″, three times that would be three yards.

How many yards of fabric do I need for curtains? ›

For Standard Width Panels: Finished length of curtains + 16 inches divided by 36 = number of yards required. Add 1 extra yard (or one vertical repeat of the fabric) per pair if using a large print fabric.

How many yards of fabric do I need for a chair? ›

Yardage Estimates
Upholstered Furniture
Sectionals: 24 – 34 yardsSquare Ottoman: 2.5 yards
Benches (with backs): 6 yardsBenches (no backs): 3 yards
Club Chairs: 6 – 8 yardsClub Chairs with Ottomans: 8 – 9 yards
Basket Chairs: 5 yardsSwivel/Rockers: 8 yards
32 more rows

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