How Many Yards On a Bolt of Fabric? (Fabric Bolt Dimensions)

If you have ever been to a fabric store, then you must have seen fabrics being sold in bolts. Generally, the stores separate the fabrics by solids, patterns, felts, wool, silks, laces, and so on. It is easier for the store as well as the customer. You head to the solid section when you need a solid fabric.

How many yards on a bolt of fabric? Typically, a bolt of fabric contains anywhere between 30 and 100 yards of fabric. However, a lot also depends on the type of fabric in question. For example, a bolt of the canvas is generally 39 yards.

Sometimes the sheer variety may be a bit overwhelming. Let us help you out by clearing a few doubts when you want to a bolt of fabric.

You must be wondering what exactly is a bolt? A bolt is a unit of measurement generally used for items that are sold in a roll, like fabric, canvas, or wood.

What is a Fabric Bolt Called?

A bolt of fabric may sometimes also be referred to as a roll of fabric.

How Wide is Fabric On a Bolt?


If you wish to buy fabric for a project or to make an outfit, you would definitely like to buy fabric accordingly. When you walk into a fabric store, have you wondered how wide is the fabric on a bolt?

Abolt is usually about 45 or 60 inches (110 or 150 cm) wide. However, depending on the type of fabric the widths could vary as well.

Widths may include:

  • 35–36 inches (890–910 mm)
  • 39 inches (990 mm)
  • 41 inches (1,000 mm)
  • 44–45 inches (1,100–1,100 mm)
  • 50 inches (1,300 mm)
  • 52–54 inches (1,300–1,400 mm)
  • 58–60 inches (1,500–1,500 mm)
  • 66 inches (1,700 mm)
  • 72 inches (1,800 mm)
  • 96 inches (2,400 mm)
  • 108 inches (2,700 mm)

How To Measure Fabric on a Bolt?


You must have seen fabric in stores wrapped around cardboard bolts standing upright on racks or shelves. Have you also noticed that the end of the bolt has a small label?

The label gives you vital information regarding the fabric. Say, if you are looking for pure cotton, look for something that says 100% cotton. The label also tells you how many yards of fabric you have on the bolt. Paying attention to the label can be a great way to measure the fabric on a bolt.

Different manufacturers will have different labels. However, all labels will at least contain the basic information-width, content, and price.

What to do if you walk into a fabric store that has hung fabric by the rolls on wooden dowels? Look for a hangtag on these fabric rolls. The hangtag also contains important information about the fabric just like the label. Fabric rolls on wooden dowels are generally wider as they are typically used for curtains and upholstery.

You could use a small trick to measure fabric wrapped around rectangular bolts. You would need to count the number of layers around the bolt just like the rings on a tree trunk. If you are buying medium to heavy fabric like burlap or cotton, two wrapped layers are roughly equal to a yard. For thinner fabrics like lace or silk, three wrapped layers are typically equal to a yard.

How is Fabric Folded on a Bolt?


When buying fabric for a project you would naturally want to find out the width of the fabric. However, what you see on the bolt, is that the actual width of the fabric? Actually, no.

The fabric on a bolt is folded in half. So what you are seeing is half the actual width of the fabric. It is an important point to remember when buying fabric as the yardage could significantly affect your project.

What is The Difference Between a Fabric Bolt And a Fabric Roll?


People tend to use the term fabric bolt and fabric roll interchangeably. However, they are not the same thing.

Fabrics in bolts have been folded in half and wound around a flat, cardboard center core. Usually, a bolt has between 40 and 100 yards of fabric. However, you also get smaller bolts with 5 to 50 yards, depending on the thickness of the fabric, and sometimes the cost. You can also count the number of layers and estimate the amount of fabric remaining on the bolt fairly easily. Fabrics in bolts are typically sold to home sewing enthusiasts.

Rolls of fabric are how fabrics are shipped from the mill to the major markets like clothing or home furnishing companies. The fabric is placed full width along a cardboard tube, and then it is rolled. It is not folded in half as in the case of a bolt. Typical fabric rolls are in the 50 to 200-yard range, but some may be larger. Some may be large enough to be only lifted with a forklift. Since the fabric is not folded in half, there's no fold line, and rolled fabrics are easier for automated equipment like spreaders to handle.

Tips For Fabric Shopping


Shopping for fabric can sometimes be an overwhelming experience if you’re not prepared. A fabric store can help you devise your decorating plan, be it window treatments, slipcovers, or bedding.

Make sure to browse the store first. You can gain a sense of the variety and quality of the fabric available in the store.

When you’re ready to buy, use these useful shopping tips for buying the right fabric for the right price:

  • Some discount stores or wholesale fabric retailers give you a better price if you’re buying in bulk. If you’re buying a lot of fabric for a project, first ask for the price per yard. Then increase the quantity and ask for the price again. You are bound to see a difference.
  • If you are buying more than a yard or two of fabric, you must ask the vendor to unroll the whole bolt so you can check for fabric flaws. Also, roll out and measure the entire bolt to be sure that the bolt has enough fabric on it for your projects. Don’t be fooled by the bulk of the bolt.
  • Test the quality of the fabric. Pull a bit of the fabric at the end where it was previously cut to see if it unravels easily. If it does, steer clear of it. The fabric is obviously of inferior quality.
  • Creating a “color notebook” with the components of the room can be extremely helpful. Take the color notebook with you to the store. Add swatches of trims and fabrics that are already there in the room. Also include some paint swatches from your walls, a picture of the room's furniture, and a photo of the room that you plan to decorate. Also, make sure to note down your furniture and window dimensions in the book. This notebook lets you remember everything in the room, and you can quickly refer to it with the salesperson in the store. You will save yourself a lot of hassle later on if you buy the right fabric according to the room.
  • Consult the label on the bolt or the hangtag for all the information you need to know about the fabric that you like. The tags generally include the price per yard, fiber content, care instructions, fabric width, and the company name that made the fabric.
  • What if you’re unsure of the color, texture, or design suitability of a fabric? Ask the vendor to cut you a piece so that you can take it home. Match the piece with the décor in the room to see if it is a suitable one. It is a very good idea to staple each swatch to a page of your color notebook. Don’t forget to add the store's business card where you bought it, along with the price per yard, so you know how much it is and where to buy it for future reference.
  • If you are new to fabric shopping, always keep a measuring tape with you so you can double-check the width. A measuring tape can especially come in handy if the label on a fabric bolt or the hang tag is missing. Also, there have been cases where label tags have not been entirely truthful.

If you have decided to decorate a room in your house, it is better to do it once and do it right. Spare yourself the hassle of buying the wrong fabric and having to go back and forth to the store to exchange it.

When in a fabric store, do not hesitate to ask questions. The answers will help clarify any doubts that you have and will come in very handy in the future. Also, spend as much time as you need to make the right fabric choice for your project.

Fabric shopping is supposed to be enjoyable. Don’t get overwhelmed by the sheer variety. Look at, touch, feel, and even smell the fabrics if you need to, to buy the perfect one for you. Most importantly, don’t forget to have fun shopping.

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