Dimensions of a Yard of Fabric – How big is it really!

How big is a yard of fabric

1 yard = 0.9144 meters= 91 cms  = 36 inches = 3 feet;

I meter = 39.37 inches = 1.0936 yards

In some countries like the USA, the Imperial system of measurement is used. The Yard and inches are solely used for measuring length. In countries where the metric system is used, the yard is just their garden. There are a lot of countries that use only the metric system of measurement. They use the meter for measuring the length of anything including fabric.  

Then there are people who use both. I belong to this category. I use meter, cm, inch, all this, that and everything everywhere, that it gets confusing at times.

If you are visiting a country where the imperial system is used and you are from somewhere where you only count in meters, it can get super confusing soon, especially when you are out fabric shopping. In fabric showrooms, they give you measurements showing fractions of a yard – some of the common and baffling ones are 1/8, 2/3, 3/8 etc. These can get your brain in knots soon enough trying to convert these into meters and centimeters in front of the impatient salesperson. You forget the beauty of the fabric and run from the shop, if you are really mathematically challenged.

Another scenario is when you measure with the regular measuring tape and measure the inches and you want to know the yards of fabric you have to buy. You would then be able to decide on how many yards of fabric you have to buy for sewing. You can also check out the post on deciding the yardage of fabric needed for different clothes.

Here is a ready reckoner for easy reference

How much is a yard of fabric?

1 yard is equal to 3 feet or 36 inches

1 yd = 0.9144 m (meters)

I meter is 100 cms ; 1 yard = 91.44 cm

 1/4 yard is 23 cms; 1/2 yard is 46 cms; 5/8 yard is 60 cms; 2/3 yards is 0.61 meters (61 cm); 3/4 yard is 67 cms;  1 yard is 92 cms; 1 1/4 yard is 1.14 meters; 1 1/2 yard is 1.37 meters; 1 3/4 yard is 1.6 meters; 2 yard is 1.83 msters; 2 1/4 yard is 2.05 meters

The markings on a tape measure are as shown in the picture below. A tape measure is usually 60 inches long which is 1.66 yards. You can find more details on the post on reading a tape measure.

how to read a tape

You can find the commonly used dimensions of fabric in the chart given below for easy reference – it is especially useful when you are dealing with yard and its many fractions. You can also use the chart to check the yards of fabric you have to buy when you know the inches

YardYard DecimalMeter (Approx)InchesCms (exact)
1/80.1250.154 1/211.4
3/80.3750.3513 1/234.29
1 1/81.1251.0540.5102.87
1 1/41.361.1545114.3
1 3/81.3751.3049.5125.73
1 1/21.51.4054137
1 5/81.621.5058.5148
1 3/41.751.6063160
1 7/81.871.7567.5171

These are all derived. There are some easy calculations you can do on your own with your phone’s calculator and you can convert any yardage into meters, any meters into yards or inches, anywhere. So here are these formulas.

How much is a yard of fabric in meters?

You just have to multiply the measurement in yard with 0.9144 to get the meters. (or divide the length by 1.094)

Eg. you have 9 yards ; to get corresponding meter multiply with .9144 and you get the answer 8.23 meters.

1 yard of fabric is .91 meters; 2 yards of fabric is 1.85 meters ; 3 yards of fabric is 2.75 meters ; 4 yards of fabric is 3.7 meters; 5 yards of fabric is 4.60 meters ; 6 yards of fabric is 5.5 meters.

How much is a meter of fabric in yards?

To get yards from meters  multiply the meter measurement by  1.1

Eg. you have 9 meters, you get 9.84 yards with this calculation.

How to convert inches to yard of fabric?

To get the yards from inches , take the total length you need in inches and divide by 36   – you will get how many yards of fabric you need.

Eg. you have 64 inches; to get corresponding yard divide by 36 and you get the answer 1.78 yards.

How to convert yard to inches of fabric ?

To get the inches from yard measurement, take the total length you need in inches and multiply by 36   – you will get how many inches of fabric you need.

How to convert inches to centimeters of fabric ?

To get the centimeters from  inch measurement , multiply the value of inches by 2.54  – you will get how many centimeters of fabric you need. If you divide this by 100 you get the meters.

How to convert centimeters to inches of fabric ?

To get the inches from centimeter measurement , multiply the value of centimeters by .393  (or divide the length  by 2.54) you will get how many inches of fabric you need. 

How wide is a yard of fabric

There is no set standard width for bolts of fabric – there are many standard widths. Usually almost all bolts of fabric measure 44 inch to 60 inches in width – this is across all retail showrooms in the world. Lightweight cotton fabric come in 36 inch or 44 inch width. They are usually used for dress making, quilting etc. Shirt making fabrics are usually 44 inches. Heavier fabric like pant fabrics, suiting, home decorating fabrics come in  54 inch width.

I have bought cotton fabric for making bed sheets measuring in width more than 100 inches (108 inches) – I could even use this fabric as length for a bed sheet because of the width and thus save some money.

44 inches is 112 centimeters. 54 inches is 137 centimeters. 

Some Facts on measurement units

Symbol m is used for denoting meter. A thousand meters is a kilometer and the small unit of measurement is cm.

Symbol yd is used to denote yard.

Some curious facts

Metric system is also called the  International system of units; most of the world uses this system.

In cooking, I feel, the metric system is superior to imperial system of measurement. In sewing imperial system is good.

Some even more curious facts

A yard was originally the length of a man’s belt or girdle, as it was called. In the 12th century, King Henry I of England fixed the yard as the distance from his nose to the thumb of his out-stretched arm. As read on factmonster.com

Related posts :How much fabric do you need to sew different garments; How to read a tape measure ; How to buy fabric : best dressmaking fabrics; 20 quality checks to do before buying fabric.


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