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Calculating Fabric Yardage for Your Project

These instructions will show you how to calculate how many yards you need for several different scenarios whether your dimensions are larger or smaller than the width of your desired fabric.

These calculations work for many projects, including pillows, cushions, fabric wallpaper, tablecloths, bedding, and headboards.

For curtains, we suggest using our drapery yardage calculator.

For more complex upholstery projects, see our upholstery charts for yardage estimates.

See Measuring Yardage for a Tablecloth for additional information specific to tablecloths.

Total Dimensions

1 yard = 3 feet = 36 inches
 
For the rest of the world on the metric system, convert to inches before starting. The easiest way to do this is to google “cm to inches” and enter the centimeters into the conversion calculator.

First, you need to know what the total dimensions are in inches. This includes any extra you need to sew, apply, or finish the fabric.

For example:

  • If you’re making something that needs a seam allowance, like pillows, you need to add the seam allowance times 2 to the width and length.
  • If you’re making canvas wall art, you need to know the size of the canvas plus how much extra is needed to wrap around the back and staple.
  • If you’re making something that needs to be hemmed, you need to know how much extra you need for the hems.

The other thing you need to know is how wide your desired fabric is.

Move onto the next steps according to if your total dimensions will fit into the width of the fabric or not.

Dimensions that fit into the width of the fabric

One piece

If you just need one piece of fabric and it fits into the width of your fabric, you probably don’t even need to be reading this, but we’ll explain just in case!

Take the total length you need and divide by 36 to calculate how many yards you need. Most of our fabric is sold in full yard increments, so round up to the nearest yard.

Multiple pieces

If you need multiple pieces that are the same size, like for pillows, napkins, dining room chair upholstery, etc., start with your fabric width and divide by the width of one of the pieces you need.

Round down to the nearest whole number. This is how many pieces fit into the width.

Next take the total number of pieces and divide by this number to figure out how many rows you will need.

Finally take the length of a single piece and multiply that by the number of rows. Divide by 36 and round up to the nearest whole number.

If your fabric is solid or not directional, you can try flipping the width and length to see that needs fewer yards. In the example, once rounded up, it is also 3 yards.

If you need multiple sizes, it helps to draw it out.

Dimensions that are wider than the width of the fabric

When the width of the piece is wider than the width of the fabric, you’ll need to sew or join pieces together.

These calculations work for many projects, including fabric wallpaper and other wall coverings, tablecloths, bedding, ground and floor coverings, awnings, banners, backdrops, headboards, and panels.

One piece

Start with your desired total width and divide by the width of the fabric. Round up to the next whole number. This is how many widths of fabric you need.

Then take the total desired length and multiply by the number of widths you just calculated.

Divide by 36 and round up to the next whole number. This is the total yardage you need.

Multiple pieces

If you need multiple pieces that are the same size, before dividing by 36, multiply by the number you need, then divide by 36 and round up.

Or if they’re different sizes, add them up before dividing by 36.

Patterned Fabrics

If you have a patterned fabric and want to match up the design, before dividing by 36, add one vertical repeat per every extra width of fabric.

For example, if you need 3 widths of fabric to get the correct total width, add 2 times the vertical repeat to the total length before dividing by 36.

If the length is less than the vertical repeat, just use the vertical repeat as the length and you don’t have to add extra before converting to yards.

You can find the repeats in the details section on the product page for our fabrics. Most of the time you don’t have to worry about the horizontal repeat because the pattern will divide evenly into the width of the fabric. This means the pattern will match up at the selvages with a slight overlap so no fabric is wasted.

Placing seams

Some projects, like duvets, tablecloth, and headboards, look best if you have the full width piece in the middle and the remainder on the sides. This looks more professional than having a seam right down the middle.

To find out how to sew patterned fabric together, look at How To Make a Duvet Cover.

 

These instructions are good for rectangular pieces and can be used with other shapes if you measure the dimensions at the largest width and length. Some projects can be too complicated and you may have to estimate. It’s better to end up with too much than to come up short!

 

Find the fabric for your project here!


Q & A

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Browse 10 questions Browse 10 questions and 5 answers
I need to know how much fabric i will need to put in between squares of a quilt . The squares are 14 by 14 they are 5 squares across and 6 squares down?
A shopper on Oct 13, 2017
BEST ANSWER: Sorry, we aren't too sure how to answer that.
How many yards for a tree skirt to be 62 inches in diameter?
A shopper on Nov 15, 2018
How many yards of fabric will it take to cover a reclaimer ?
A shopper on Oct 6, 2018
BEST ANSWER: This chart will help you get an idea of how much is needed: https://www.onlinefabricstore.net/upholstery-yardage-chart.aspx
How many yards of 54" wide fabric for a pillow sized 12" x 18" with a horizontal repeat of 26"?
A shopper on Jul 17, 2018
BEST ANSWER: For one pillow, you need one yard.
How many yards of 58 inch wide fabric to make a queen size blanket?
A shopper on May 15, 2018
BEST ANSWER: You would need 5.5 to 6 yards per side.
Would like to make bed spread, measurements are 113 wide x 108 lenght.how many yards do I need ?
A shopper on Apr 11, 2018
BEST ANSWER: What's the width of the fabric?
I want to make 4 rectangular pieces, the material is 36 inches wide. The pieces I want to make are 54 inches by 48 inches. I know there will be a seam in the piece which I don’t care about. How many yards of fabric to I need? Ty
A shopper on Oct 29, 2018
how many yards of fabric for headboard for the size of H=700cm x W=2.6m? thank you
A shopper on Oct 17, 2018
I have 30 squares of fabric 14 x 14 square inches each I need to know how many yards of stabilizer i will need?
A shopper on Oct 6, 2018
I have a wall 7ft high 11.4 wide my fabric is 110inches wide I have 7 yards now question is how many panels can I stuff into this space?
A shopper on Sep 10, 2018