How Much Fabric For Curtains Do I Need? (Width, Pleats, Rod)

When someone says how much, sometimes they need to know the amount of material they need to make sure the project is done right. Knowing how much material you need makes the job go by faster.

How much fabric for curtains do I need? The exact amount you will need will depend on the type of curtains you are making and the size of those curtains. Then you need to add in extra fabric for any pleats, lining, or hems you will have in those curtains.

To learn how to calculate the amount of fabric you need for your curtains project, just continue to read our article. Different styles, different sizes, all demand different amounts of fabric, and knowing how to make the calculations will save you time and money.

How do I Calculate How Much Fabric I Need for Curtains?


There are several steps in the process of calculating the amount of fabric you will need to make your new curtains. The first step is to measure the exact height of the curtains and you need to start at the rod location.

Then you need to decide if the curtains are going to go all the way to the floor or stop somewhere in between. Measure to that point The next step is to measure the width of your curtains and again you measure your rod to get the right figure.

Next, you double the width measurement so if your window is 36 inches wide you go to 72 inches for 2 panels. Add 1 inch for seam allowance and 6 inches for length allowance. If the length is 84 inches then you need two 37 by 90-inch panels of fabric.

Since curtain fabric comes in 36 inch wide panels, you divide 180 by 36 and you will get a net result of 5 yards needed to make those curtains.

Fabric for Curtains Calculator

You are in luck as there are several easy access to curtain fabric calculators online. These calculators take the work out of knowing how much material you need. Plus, it is easy to change the dimensions when you are working with more than one size of window.

The first calculator can be found at this link and the second is found here, while the third is easily found at this third link. Just pick the one that is easiest for you to use or use all three to make sure each one is accurate and provide you with the correct results.

For 2 of the three, you can switch between inches and centimeters at a push of a button.

How to Measure Fabric for Curtains

When you measure you have to start and end with the rod. It takes several inches of fabric up above the window, generally, and that extra amount of fabric must be taken into account.

Then when measuring for the width you follow the rod again. You do this because sometimes the curtains you have extended past the window width and you have to take into consideration those inches as well.

One thing that is on your side is that curtain fabrics come in several different widths. This allows you to plan your sewing better and cut down on your workload. Just remember to add in the seam or hem allowance.

Those allowances can go anywhere from 1 to 8 inches depending on the style of your curtains. Once you have those measurements finding out how much fabric you need to buy is very simple.

How Much Fabric for Curtains With Pinch Pleats


The measuring process is the same as measuring for regular curtains except for a couple of differences. The length is standard and you do not need to worry about that measurement. It is the width you need to be concerned about.

When measuring the width you do not have to measure the length of the finials unless there are return brackets. Next, add 12 inches for the panel overlap in the center of the window.

Once you have that total, multiply it by 2.25 and the total will be the amount of the width you will need for pinch pleat curtains. Then you divide that total by the number of inches of the fabric you have chosen to use. So if the width is 60 inches you divide the total by 60 and round up if necessary.

That result is multiplied by the length of the curtains and then that total will be divided by 36 to get the total yardage needed.

Extra Fabric for Curtains

If by chance you did not buy enough fabric to create your new curtains, then you made need to use what is called extra fabric. These pieces of material usually go on the hems and topper facings.

They can be understitched to keep them out of sight. You just need to measure the area where you will be putting this extra fabric and there are no long and complicated formulas to use to figure out how much you will need. Just make sure you have more than enough as you can always cut the excess off.

Also, extra fabric can be used for borders to add length or width

How Much Fabric Eyelet Curtains

To get the width of your eyelet curtains measure along the pole. Keep in mind that you have to factor in any drop in the eyelet’s inner edge or if you don’t your curtains may be short.

For length don’t forget to measure above the rod the same amount of inches that the curtain extends above the eyelets. Then use one of the fabric calculators to help you figure out how much fabric you will need.

That will be the easiest way to get the right amount of fabric yardage for eyelet curtains. Or you can use the equation given previously and multiply by about 2 if you are using pleats

Fabric for Rod Pocket Curtains


This equation may be a bit more involved as you need to take the finished width, for example, 100 inches, and multiply it by the fullness, about 2. That should result in a figure of 200 inches. Now add in the measurement for the returns which can be 3 1/2 inches on each side giving you a total of 207.

Next, add in 4 inches per side for a double fold hem and you end up with 215 inches. Now divide the 215 by your fabric width (36 to 60 inches) in this case 54 which equals about 3.98 and round up to 4.

Now get your length measurement, i.e. 85 inches, and add 8 inches for hems giving you 93 total inches for the length. Now add 2 1/2 inches for the casing and the heading which gives you 95 1/2 inch length.

To get the total yardage, multiply 95 1/2 by 4 to get 382, then divide by 36 and your total yardage needed is 10.61 or round up to 11. Your figures will be different.

How Much Fabric for 84-inch Curtains

The number of yards will be determined if that 84-inch figure is the width or the length. If it is the width and you have a 96-inch length then you will need a total of 7 yards of fabric. That is if you are just making regular curtains with no pleats.

If that is the length of the curtains then with a 40-inch width you will need 6 yards of material to complete your project. These figures only represent approximations as your length or width will be different and you will need to add in extra material for pleats.

Don’t forget these examples, throughout this article, are not including the lining measurement. If you are adding lining you will need to double the number of yards you will need.

Fabric for 96-inch Curtains

The same calculator is being used for this example and if you are going with a 36-inch width and a 96-inch length then you will have a total of 312 inches of needed fabric. Divide and you should end up with 4 total yards of fabric

Now if the windows are 96 inches wide and about 60 inches long then the total amount of yardage you will need will be 204 inches or 6 yards total. For your windows just play with the calculators we linked to earlier to help you find the total fabric yards you need to make your curtains.

Add in any extras like tiebacks, hems, and so on. Sometimes it is good to add in about 10% just n case to your total as you never know when mistakes will happen.

Fabric for 108-inch Curtains


We are going to follow the same procedures as listed in the two previous examples and it gives you an idea of how good those fabric calculators are. With a 108 inch width and 60-inch length, you are looking at 204 inches or 6 yards.

Then when we change the figures to 108-inch length and a 48-inch width you get a grand total of 348 total inches and 10 yards of fabric needed to finish the project right. Also, you should add in a little for a pocket rod, eyelet style, and so on.

Usually, 2 or 2 1/4 are the standard multipliers when you want to have a special look to your curtains. As you can see using those calculators takes a lot of time out of figuring the totals. Just plug in your numbers and let them do the work.

How Much Fabric for Single Pleat Curtains

One thing about fabric for curtains when it is sold by the yard. They come in the following sizes-- 36 inches; 42 to 45 inches; 54, 58, and 60 inches; 75, 90, and in some cases, 105 to 110 inches. You can get the width you want without too much calculation.

Next, you would have to take into account the number of pleats you are putting into the curtains and add the size of each pleat into the fabric width you have chosen to use. Then measure your length adding in hems and rod spacing.

Once you get those figures, use one of the fabric calculators linked to above to get your total measurement. Trying to figure out manually the total yardage is not always the best option for people. Not everyone is a whiz at math.

Double Pleat Curtains

The key in these measurements is to get the correct width measurement. That measurement has to be the finished curtain width and nothing else. The length will take care of itself and you just need to add in any extra inches for hems, seams, and rod requirements.

For a double pleat or a pinch pleat, the two are the same, you need to figure out your finished width measurement. If your window or rod width is 40 inches then you need to multiply 40 by 2.25 to get 100 inches. Then add in 6 more inches for seams, etc.

Then add the 106 to the approx. 92 inches for length, as an example, and divide by 36 or whatever your fabric width is. That should give you the total yardage you need to finish this curtain project. If in doubt go to the pinch pleat section above for help.

Triple Pleat Curtains


The good news here is that a triple pleat curtain doesn't need more fabric than a double pleat curtain. The fullness ration is just a little bit larger and instead of multiplying by 2.25 you are multiplying by 2.50

The rest of the calculations remain the same and you should have the total amount of fabric in no time. Using the above figure of 40 and multiplying by 2.5 you are still ending up with 100 inches. The above example rounded up and in this situation, you do not have to do that.

Then do the rest of the equation following the example in the pinch pleat section above. You can use that equation as pinch pleat and double pleat are the same thing.

Fabric for 90 x 90 Curtains

If this size of curtains is not going to have pleats then the calculation is going to be nice and simple. Using the fabric calculator linked to above, you should only need about 196 inches of fabric or about 6 yards. This is not taking into consideration any extras or hems and so on.

To take those items into account, you should round up to 7 yards as the figure is going to be greater than 6 but less than 7. Since fabric stores do not sell fabrics by the 1/8 of a yard, etc., you need to round up.

Getting extra material is not a bad thing as you can use that fabric for tie-downs, and other little accessories that make your curtains look gorgeous.

Fabric to Puddle Curtains

Puddle curtains are so named because the fabric lies in a puddle on your floor. To get the amount of fabric needed for this style of curtain you do not have to worry so much about width as you do length.

To get the calculation right, you can add 1/2 to 18 inches to the length of your curtains. How much you add is up to your preference and home decor. When you add about 18 inches to your length and we arbitrarily picked 90-inch width and 123-inch length, you would need about 262 inches of material.

That equals about 8 yards of material. With that much extra length, you should have more than enough to puddle on your floor. Of course, 18 inches may be too long for your home. When that happens just cut your length to fit.

How to Cut Fabric for Curtains


The first step is to wash your fabric before you start to cut. This will shrink the material and still keep your calculations accurate. After washing pull the fabric at the corners to help even up the warp and weft threads.

Then iron to keep the fabric nice and smooth. Once that is done square the fabric by placing the selvage edges together then take your measurements. Use a carpenter’s square to keep the lines square and straight.

Use a rotary cutter for the best cut and you're done.

Some Final Words

If you are not good at math, it is best to use a fabric calculator to figure out how many yards of material you will need. These calculators get you accurate results and help spare you a lot of wasted material.

How much fabric you will need at any given time depends on the dimensions of your windows.

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