How Big Is A Yard of Fabric?

If you’re a beginner at sewing, working with fabrics can be time-consuming. You will need time, practice, and patience to learn this set of skills.

Yet, the first thing you can begin with is knowing how to accurately measure your fabric. In order to know how to do that, you should know how big is a yard of fabric.

How Big Is A Yard of Fabric?

How Much is a Yard of Fabric?

You probably use the “yard” unit on a daily basis if you are in a country that uses the imperial unit system. A yard is equivalent to 3 feet, which is equivalent to 36 inches. It is the length of a yardstick.

However, things can be a bit confusing if you use the metric system. You may possibly start working on a project that provides instructions in yards. Though, converting yards to meters is fairly easy:

1 yard is equivalent to 0.9144 meters or 91.44 centimeters. While you are knee-deep in work, you can always use an online converter to keep yourself from getting lost.

If you want to round to the nearest whole number click here

Measuring a Yard of Fabric

Now that you have chosen the type of fabric that you want to use in your project, and decided how many yards of fabric you will require, it is time to learn how to measure a yard of fabric accurately.

Firstly, you should know that a yard of material is measured from the selvage in the direction of the bolt. The woven edge of the fabric that keeps the threads from unraveling is called selvage. The bolt is cylinder-shaped cardboard that the fabric is rolled around.

More significantly, the width of cloth can vary according to the type of it, while a yard of fabric is 36 inches long.

Selecting a suitable width depends on the dimensions of your project. Yet, the majority of fabrics come in widths from 33 to 44 inches.

Significance of Accurate Measurements

As you understand correct measurements are crucial for any sewing project. Let’s discuss this topic in-depth.


When you are a beginner, every step seems to take you forever while working on a sewing project. If you get the measurements wrongly, you will need to resolve that problem.

You will have to replace the fabric or join it with another piece if it is too short to use. That might not be an issue in some circumstances, yet, in general, it can be tricky.

Calculating Fabric Yardage for Various Projects

It might be a bit confusing for beginners to define how much fabric they need for a certain project.

There are a few rules you should follow whether you will use it for cushions, curtains, or clothes.


You should measure the width and height of your window first to get the calculations right. Next, you should add the dimension from the bottom of your window to the floor.

Of course, you will need to add a few inches, as curtains tend to extend beyond the window frame on both sides. This depends on how much space you have left and your preference.

How Big Is A Yard of Fabric?

Click here if you want to round to the nearest hundred

Afterward, you must follow these steps:

1) Add four times the length of the hem to the length and width

2) Specify the style of your curtain to get the fullness ratio

3) Specify the number of curtain panels that you require

4) Divide the overall width by this number

5) Make your computations

6) Round up the resulting number to the nearest whole yard


Since pillows are smaller and don’t have many details, deciding the fabric yardage for them can be easier. Pillows shouldn’t take you too much time to figure out.

Typically, you have to measure the length and width of the pillow or cushion. After that, figure out how much fabric you will require for the seam allowance. Afterward, multiply it by two and add these few inches to the length and width that you have written down. Round the results to the nearest yard and here you go.


If you’re working on dresses, pants, or skirts, you probably know that they all require to be hemmed. Accordingly, you should add the hem amount to the sum after getting all the measurements.

You need to remember this, otherwise, the pants or skirt will end up shorter than you need them to be.

Use our rounding calculators for free

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the fullness ratio of a curtain?

The fullness ratio defines the ratio between the width of the curtain fabric and the length of the curtain pole. For example, the bigger this ratio is, the more folds you will get when you set up the curtain.

The style of the curtain defines the fullness ratio. For instance, the ratio must be 2 if you want pencil pleat style. Accordingly,  you should multiply the length of the pole by 2 when it is time to calculate the yards of fabric.

What should I do if the width of my design is wider than that of the fabric?

Most fabric widths end at about 44 inches as we mentioned before. If the width of your project is more than that, then you will have to sew two fragments of fabric together. In this case, you must determine the desired width and divide it by the width of the fabric. Afterward, round it to the nearest yard. By doing so you will have a number of pieces to sew together.

Then you should multiply this number by the length and divide the result by 36 to get the number of yards you have to purchase.

How you should work with patterns?

For beginners, patterned fabrics can be a bit challenging. This is because they require to match in all directions of your model.

You should add an additional repeat of the fabric to your calculations to make sure this goes smoothly.

How Big Is A Yard of Fabric?

Round to the nearest hundredth here

In summary

Learning how much fabric to buy can be tough. Yet, practice makes perfect.

Experimenting with various designs and projects, make things easier in the long run. Not only is sewing productive, but it can also be therapeutic.

Now that you know how big a yard of fabric is, you can begin your journey down this road with conviction.

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