There is some confusion as the term yard is used to describe different objects. It can mean the area around one’s home, a length of distance to run or walk and it can mean the amount of fabric you need for a sewing project. The trouble is a fabric yard comes in different widths.
How big is a yard of fabric? The standard measurement for any yard is 3 feet. If you work on the metric system that will equal 90 centimeters. However, a fabric yard comes in different widths ranging from 36 inches to 60 inches wide. So one fabric yard is not always the same as another.
To learn more about fabric yards just continue to read our article. It will fill you in on the details as well as provide you with different pieces of information that you should find helpful. A few minutes of your time is all that is required to learn about fabric yards.
The actual size of a yard of fabric is 3 feet. That translates into just under a meter of fabric which would equal 1.125 yards of material. The actual size may be larger or smaller than a square yard depending on how wide the material you are buying comes in.
A normal tape measure is roughly 60 inches in length and that size equals 1.66 yards. There are lots of ways to convert the amount of material and find out how much you actually need. You just need to use the conversion charts at this website and this one.
Those charts will help you get an accurate measurement and let you know exactly how much fabric you will need for each part of your sewing project.
Hopefully, you have not forgotten your elementary school arithmetic classes as this is something you should have learned as a child. A yard of fabric will equal 36 inches no matter how you measure it and no matter which tape measure you use.
Knowing the inch size helps you calculate how much material you will need for any given part of your sewing project. Unfortunately, most fabric stores do not sell their fabrics in 1/4, 1/3, 3/4, and so on yards.
Even if your project needs 40 inches of material you may have to buy 2 yards of material. If you know the salespeople at the store, you may get a favor and they will cut it to the size you need. But don’t count on it.
When calculating this total, you can stop, as we did, with just the linear measurement. There are 3 feet in a yard but we did not count the width for any of the above two sections. If you are technical if you buy a 3-foot piece of fabric that is 36 inches wide, you have 9 square feet of material to work with.
The same applies to the inches and full yard sections. If you go wider, then you will have more footage, inches, and yards to work with because normally, the width is not included in the calculation of a yard of fabric. It changes as you will soon see.
This is a part of the yard of fabric that many people do not think about. When you go buy a yard of material, the sales clerk simply takes out a yardstick and measures to the end and gives you that much fabric.
However, fabrics come in different widths and those widths range between 36 and 60 inches. You can get 45 or 54-inch wide material as well. Plus, there are exceptions to this rule and some material does come in 110-inch widths.
So when you are asking for a yard of material, make sure you know what width you are getting as you can walk away with a lot of fabric in your hands.
If you are operating in the metric system you will know that yards and meters do not line up exactly. In fact, a meter is 39 inches long and you get more material if you buy a meter of fabric than a yard of fabric.
In total, a yard of material equals only 0.9144 meters, not even one full meter. If you want to know the number of centimeters that comes to, a yard equals 90 to 91 centimeters while a full meter equals 100 centimeters.
One meter also equals 1000 mm if you need to know that small measurement. Meters are not hard to understand, the difficulty comes in trying to convert them to the Imperial system and vice versa.
A standard foot equals roughly 30 centimeters so some people say that a yard will equal 90 centimeters. But there may be a millimeter or two that is rounded out of the calculation as some people state that 1 yard of fabric equals 91.44 centimeters.
If your directions on your pattern are not in the metric system, you will not have to worry about that discrepancy. But if it is, then you need to make sure you get the right amount of material in centimeters so you do not come up short.
Again you will need your elementary arithmetic skills to figure out these in-between yard sizes. 3/4 of a yard is roughly 27 inches give or take a 1/16 of an inch. That translates into 68.58 centimeters for those on the metric system.
1/4 of a yard is only 9 inches long and 1/2 equals 18 inches. You can use the conversion charts at those two websites to help you figure out what you need in centimeters.
This is the hard part of buying fabric as every sewing project is not the same and you will need fractions of yards. As we stated earlier, most fabric outlets only sell their material in complete yards only. So expect to pay a little bit more at the cashier counter and have a little extra material lying around the home.
|1/8 of a yard||4 1/2||36||166 square inches||1.15 approx|
|1/4 of a yard||9||45||405 square inches||2.8 approx|
|1/2 of a yard||18||54||972 square inches||6.75|
|2/3 of a yard||24||60||1440 square inches||10|
|3/4 of a yard||27||60||1620 square inches||11.25|
|1 yard||36||60||2160 square inches||15|
As you can see you can get a large amount of fabric depending on the width of the material. If you needed 1 yard at 110 inches wide, then you would be receiving almost 4000 square inches of material. That would equal 27.5 square feet.
Here is a link to a handy conversion calculator if you need to know different amounts than the ones given above.
The term ‘yard or yards of fabric’ refers to the length only. It doesn’t matter the width, as 10 yards of material in any width will still be 30 feet long. To measure the fabric all you need is a yardstick and hold it against the material then make your cut.
This is easier than doing elementary arithmetic and only takes a second or two to get it done. No other numbers or dimensions come into play when you are looking for 5 yards of cotton fabric. The same applies to all fabric varieties you can buy.
For the most part, a yard of fabric will look like a nice blanket for your dog. Depending on the width you can have a square, 36 by 36 inches; or you could have several rectangles- 36 by 45, 36 by 54, or 36 by 60 inches.
For most people, they can stretch out their arms in both directions and the material will go from one hand to the other. For taller people, the material will only cover one side up to one hand of the person holding the fabric.
Then if you get a material that comes in a nice rich and deep color, you will have one beautiful piece of fabric to look at.
If you start at 36 by 36 inches then you will end up with 9 square feet. If you go to a 45-inch width, then you will have 11.25 square feet to work with. 54-inch wide fabric will give you 13 1/2 square feet.
Then a 60-inch wide piece of fabric will have you holding 15 square feet and finally the large 110 inches wide fabric will have you taking home 27 1/2 square feet. Planning your sewing project should be a lot simpler when you know these figures.
Of course, the conversion chart we linked to above will help you find the exact amount of square feet in the size of the material you are working with.
There are numerous items you can make from 1 yard of fabric. From cloth wallets to aprons to children’s clothing items you have a myriad of projects to keep you busy. Other projects can include messenger bags, outlet covers, letter holding fabric hangers, pillowcases, napkins, and vests as well as a child’s cushion and much more.,
If you are creative you can probably think of a hundred more projects that will only use 1 yard of material. Baby clothes and blankets are two more ideas as well as socks for your kids or mate, a vintage skirt, sleeveless dress and on the list goes.
If you are using 44-inch wide fabric and your masks measure 9 by 6 inches, and you will need 2 pieces that size per mask, then you can make between 12 to 15 masks per yard of material.
If you go to 60-inch fabric then you may reach 20 masks. The number of masks you can make will depend mostly on the size of the mask and the width of the fabric. Obviously, a mask for children will be smaller so you can get more children’s masks per yard than you can adult ones.
Just make sure you know the dimensions you want the mask to be and measure carefully.
This is a rough guess as different materials may produce more or fewer bows per yard than other materials. Also, the thickness of your bow will play a large part in how many bows you can get out of a yard of material.
For a normal 3 inch bow, you are looking at getting about 24 or 25 bows out of a yard. Your results may differ from that but that is okay. Everyone may not get the same amount due to mistakes, the cut of the material, and the style of fabric used.
Cut carefully so you do not waste any material and lower your count.
You already know that a yard of fabric will cover so many square feet if it is laid out flat on any given surface. But in practical application that knowledge may not help you know how much coverage you will get when you make a cushion or pillowcase and so on.
A yard should easily cover 2 16 by 16-inch cushions measuring 4 inches thick. One yard will also cover one 19 by 24-inch cushion. The coverage you will get will depend on the dimensions of your sewing project.
The key is to make sure you measure twice and cut only once. Double-check your measurements to make sure you are getting the most coverage for your effort. This is the time you really need to go slow and be careful.
There really is no difference between a yard of fabric and a running yard of fabric. The two terms describe the same measurement. Thus a yard of 54-inch fabric is the same as a running yard of 54-inch fabric.
How much material you get will depend on the width of the bolt of material you are buying from. Remember if you are dealing in the metric system, a yard is 3 to 4 inches less than a meter.
Sometimes different terms in sewing refer to the exact same thing and that may be due to cultural differences or other influences.
Joann’s seems to sell small pieces of quilting material called fat quarters. But if you require less than a yard of regular fabric their minimum cut seems to be 1/4 of a yard. Some stores may go as low as 1/8 yard cut but you would have to ask them about their cutting policy. Don’t be surprised if it has changed over the years.
In searching the Hobby Lobby side of this debate we did not find any information on their minimum cut size. That may be something that is done from store to store ad they may have fat quarters available in smaller sizes like Joann’s has.
First, you should cut the selvage off the material before you do anything else. Then square up the fabric to make sure you get an even cut. Draw a line if you need to and grab a pair of sharp scissors and cut away.
If you need to cut the pattern on your fabric, use regular scissors to do this task. Pattern paper tends to ruin fabric scissors when those are used to cut its thin paper.
Depending on the fabric you are cutting, you can use a utility knife or a rotary cutter. You should wash the material first so you get all the shrinkage out before you cut and leave the material slightly damp to make cutting a little easier on some materials.
Finding the right size of fabric for your sewing project depends largely on knowing what the term yard refers to and how wide your fabric comes in. This is half the battle and with different fabric calculators, you can get an accurate measurement and use that yard of material to its fullest potential.