Calculate Fabric yardage for clothes
If you are buying your sewing patterns to make your clothes you will not have to read this post, unless you forgot to read the pattern instructions before going shopping for fabric.If you are drafting your dressmaking patterns yourself you will need to calculate how much fabric you need to complete the garment.
If you are mathematically challenged like me, you will need to have an idea about what it takes to sew clothes. This post is aimed at guesstimating the fabric yardage for some of the clothes you sew.
Some general facts about fabric – Fabric is usually measured by yards or meters.One yard is around 3 feet which is about 90 cms. One meter equals 1.09 yards or 39.4 inches.The width of the fabric ( checkout the different types of fabric available ) is usually 35-36 inch, 44-45 inch, 54 inch and 58-60 inch, 72 inch. Fabric with width around 110 inches are also available but not so commonly found in stores ( atleast where I shop). Pant/trouser materials are available mostly in 58-60 inch width
Checkout this post on some tips for buying fabric.
For tops and dresses with panels, and when sewing with one way prints or fabric with naps, these guesstimates will not apply. You may need extra yardage if you want particular prints in a particular direction on your garment. For this, making paper patterns and then calculating the yardage is the way to go.Some general guidelines on the fabric yardage are as follows.
How much Fabric do I need ?
How many yards / meters of fabric to make pants
For most of the pants you need twice the length + 1/4 meters extra
For men’s pants /trousers the yardage needed is as follows ( as mentioned by a tailor who sews men’s clothes):
If you have 58 inch wide fabric you can make pants with 1.30 meters. For an extra tall man you may need to buy 1.40 meters
How much fabric is needed for making formal shirts ?
Full sleeved shirts
If you have 36 inch wide fabric , you will need 2.40 meters to sew formal shirts
If you have 58 inch wide fabric you can make the shirt with 1.60 meters of cloth
Half sleeved shirts
If you have 36 inch wide fabric , you will need 2.20 meters to sew formal half sleeved shirts
If you have 58 inch wide fabric you can make the shirt with 2.20 meters of cloth
How many yards / meters of fabric to make dresses & tops
T shirts are usually of lengths ranging from 25 inches for a small size to 29 inches for extra large size. I double the length and then add 1/4 meters extra. For a knee length tunic with half sleeve I usually buy 2 meters of cloth ( 2 1/4 yards).
A line dress – twice the length of the dress + 1/4 meter
Tunics & tops – twice the length of the dress + 1/4 meter
Princess line dress with flare – twice the length of the dress + 1/2 meter – 3/4 meter
Dress with gathers – Twice the length + 1 meter extra
Dress with circle skirt- 3-4 meters
sleeveless vest – 1 meter
For sleeves longer than elbow, 3/4 meter – 1 meter extra for the sleeves. If you are drafting a ragalan sleeve consider the length from the shoulder.
A full sleeved shirt – about 2.5 meters
How many yards / meters of fabric to make skirts
The fabric needed for sewing skirts largely depends on the flare and then on the width of the fabric you have at hand. A 44 inch wide fabric may fit both the front and back panel of a straight skirt in a single length but a pleated skirt will not
How much fabric is needed to make a circle skirt
First measure your waist round. Divide your waist round by 6.28 . To this Add the length of the skirt + 2 inches ; consider this as A.
To know the length of the cloth needed to sew a circle skirt, take the above width measurement . Multiply that by 4 and then divide it by 40. This is the length of the fabric in meters you should buy with the above calculated width
Eg, For my 30 inch waist when divided by 6.28 I got 4.7. I want a 20 inch skirt.So adding 4.7 + 20 gives me 24.7 ; when this is multiplied by 4 I get 99.I divide this by 40 and I get 2.4 meters which is how much I would buy to make the skirt
The minimum width of the fabric should be equal to the A measurement you calculated earlier.
For a gathered skirt the yardage will depend on the fullness you need – Usually doubling the waist measurement will give you enough fullness for the skirt. So if your waist round is 30 inches if you have got 60 inch wide fabric you will need only single length ; for more than that you will have to join fabric.
Straight skirts can be sewn in 1.25 yards of fabric if you get a 60 inch wide cloth. As I said depends on the width of the fabric
Scarfs – 32″ * 82 ” ; 45 inch * 67 inch ; Scarves can be made in many sizes; You can even piece small fabric scraps to make the scarf.
One yard of fabric is easily made into infinity scarves ( Checkout the post with 20 patterns to make infinity scarves) . A length of about 65-70 inches is a good one for most women.
A normal Indian Dupatta / shawl ( which is an oversized scarf) is about 32-37 inches wide and 90 inches in length.
Very skinny scarves with width around 5-8 inches are also around. A bandana is a square fabric piece starting from 18 inches to an oversized one at 27 inches. Checkout the post on making a bandana.
Easy reading of the measurements
To convert inches to millimeters multiply by 25.4
inches to centimeters -multiply by 2.54
inches to meters -. multiply by .0254
yards to centimeters – multiply by 91.44
yards to meters – multiply by .9144
|1/8 (.125 yard)||4 .5 inches||11.4 cms|
|1/4 (.25 Yard)||9 inches||22.9 cms|
|1/3 yard||12 inches||30.5 cm|
|3/8 (.375 yard)||13.5 inches||34.5 cms|
|1/2 (.5 yard)||18 inches||45.7 cms|
|5/8 (.625 yard)||22.5 inches||57.2 cms|
|2/3 yard||24 inches||61.0 cms|
|3/4 (.75 yard)||27 inches||68.6 cms|
|7/8 (.875 yard)||32.5 inches||80 cms|
|1||36 inches||91.4 cms|
|1 1/8 ( 1.125 yard)||40.5 inches||1.02 meters|
|1 1/4 ( 1.25 yard)||45 inches||1.14 meters|
|1 3/8 ( 1.375 yard)||49.5 inches||1.25 meters|
|1 1/2 ( 1.5 yard)||54 inches||1.37 meters|
|1 5/8 ( 1.6 yard)||58.5 inch||1.48 meters|
|1 3/4 yd (1.75 yard)||63 inches||1.6 meters|
|1 7/8 ( 1.87 yard)||67.5 inches||1.71 meters|
|2 yard||72 inches||1.82 meters|