How to calculate the required amount of material (for a sweatshirt, jacket, pants, etc.)

Péťa  ·  15.6.2020  ·  5 minutes of reading
Jak vypočítat spotřebu látky
HOW TO CALCULATE THE REQUIRED AMOUNT OF MATERIAL

You often ask me how much fabric you will need for a specific thing. And since it's not hard to figure out, I've decided to show you how to determine the amount of material you need.

Jak vypočítat spotřebu látky
HOW TO CALCULATE THE REQUIRED AMOUNT OF MATERIAL

To correctly calculate the required amount of material, you first need to know the exact length of individual parts of the garment (the length of the sleeve, length of the skirt or dress, etc.). You also need to know the width of the fabric (the width of the bolt is usually 140 cm / 55", but some fabrics have a width of 90 cm / 36" or 110 cm / 44", some even only 70 cm / 28").

The result of the procedure, which I will show you, is only approximate and applies to simple clothes. You will need to think a bit harder about the placement of individual pattern pieces on the fabric and calculate the consumption accordingly when using complex patterns.

Jak vypočítat spotřebu látky
HOW TO CALCULATE THE REQUIRED AMOUNT OF MATERIAL

Furthermore, it is necessary to take into account the pattern/print of the fabric (tartan, stripes, etc.). You should position the pattern pieces so that the print is “scrambled” as little as possible.

Jak vypočítat spotřebu látky
HOW TO CALCULATE THE REQUIRED AMOUNT OF MATERIAL

You should also adjust the result according to the type of fabric. Some materials shrink a lot (wool, cotton, linen, bamboo…) and therefore I recommend adding 10% to the values from the chart. Synthetic materials do not shrink, and composite fabrics shrink only a little, so in this case, there should be no need to add to the values from the chart.

Jak vypočítat spotřebu látky
HOW TO CALCULATE THE REQUIRED AMOUNT OF MATERIAL

If you are going to use knit, there is no need to add material for large allowances for freedom of movement, so the required amount may be slightly smaller compared to the chart (but only a little bit smaller). My patterns are always accompanied by a document with useful information, which also contains the exact recommended amount of fabric you will need.

The required amount of material can also vary according to the specific design of the pattern. This is the case, for example, when comparing an ordinary T-shirt / T-shirt with a raglan sleeve, or a dress / dress with a raglan sleeve. Raglan sleeve is longer than the classic one and therefore the total required amount of material for a dress (or T-shirt) with a raglan sleeve is greater than for a classic dress (or T-shirt) …

And here are two charts (imperial & metric) to help you determine the (approximate) amount of material needed.

Metric

GarmentClassic fabric width (140 cm)Narrower fabric (e.g. 90 cm)
Simple skirt (70 cm long)1x skirt length + 20 cm2x skirt length + 30 cm
Full circle skirt (70 cm long)2x skirt length + 20 cm4x skirt length + 40 cm
Half circle skirt (70 cm long)1x skirt length + 20 cm2x skirt length + 40 cm
Pleated skirt (70 cm long)2x skirt length + 20 cm4x skirt length + 40 cm
Simple dress1x dress length + 1x sleeve length + 20 cm2x (dress length + sleeve length) + 40 cm
Evening dress2x skirt length + 1x bodice length + 1x sleeve length + 30 cm2x (skirt length + bodice length + sleeve length) + 50 cm
Simple T-shirt1x T-shirt length + 1x sleeve length + 30 cm2x T-shirt length + 2x sleeve length + 40 cm
Blouse1x blouse length + 1x sleeve length + 30 cm2x blouse length + 2x sleeve length + 50 cm
Pants (up to size 40)1x pants length + 50 cm2x pants length + 20 cm
Women’s suit1x skirt length + 1x jacket length + 1x sleeve length + 30 cm2x skirt length + 2x jacket length + 2x sleeve length + 40 cm
Jacket, simple blazer2x blazer/jacket length + 30 cm4x blazer/jacket length + 50 cm
Suit jacket1x suit jacket length + 1x sleeve length + 30 cm2x suit jacket length + 2x sleeve length + 50 cm
Coat2x coat length + 1x sleeve length + 30 cm2x coat length + 2x sleeve length + 50 cm

Imperial

GarmentClassic fabric width (55")Narrower fabric (e.g. 36")
Simple skirt (28" long)1x skirt length + 8"2x skirt length + 12"
Full circle skirt (28" long)2x skirt length + 8"4x skirt length + 16"
Half circle skirt (28" cm long)1x skirt length + 8"2x skirt length + 16"
Pleated skirt (28" long)2x skirt length + 8"4x skirt length + 16"
Simple dress1x dress length + 1x sleeve length + 8"2x (dress length + sleeve length) + 16"
Evening dress2x skirt length + 1x bodice length + 1x sleeve length + 12"2x (skirt length + bodice length + sleeve length) + 20"
Simple T-shirt1x T-shirt length + 1x sleeve length + 12"2x T-shirt length + 2x sleeve length + 16"
Blouse1x blouse length + 1x sleeve length + 12"2x blouse length + 2x sleeve length + 20"
Pants (up to size 40)1x pants length + 50 cm2x pants length + 8"
Women’s suit1x skirt length + 1x jacket length + 1x sleeve length + 12"2x skirt length + 2x jacket length + 2x sleeve length + 16"
Jacket, simple blazer2x blazer/jacket length + 12"4x blazer/jacket length + 20"
Suit jacket1x suit jacket length + 1x sleeve length + 12"2x suit jacket length + 2x sleeve length + 20"
Coat2x coat length + 1x sleeve length + 12"2x coat length + 2x sleeve length + 20"

Now I will show you one of the questions that customers send me very often. The questions about the required amount of material are practically identical. Customers always write me what they want to sew, what it should look like, and ask how much fabric they need. And my answer is almost always the same. I could just sit down, think it through, calculate the required amount, and then answer with the exact result. That would be an easy solution for those of you who ask, but not for me. Due to time constraints, I am not able to look for the ideal solution for each one of you, but I am able to give you tools that will help you come up with the answer yourself.

Have a nice day, Petra

Dear Petra,

I would like to buy one of the more expensive fabrics for my coat - I am considering a mixture of wool/cashmere/silk. How much do you think I need? The fabric is 150 cm wide, and I want to sew about 110 cm long coat. I need size 48, which’s about 126 cm over the hips.

It's a very expensive fabric, so every inch counts.

Thank you very much, Pavlina

Dear Pavlina,

any good pattern should also include information on the amount of fabric needed. If it is not mentioned in the attachment of your pattern, my chart might be able to help you. The chart is meant to be a universal tool and it is, therefore, necessary to take into account all the details and properties of your specific pattern when using it.

You can also arrange the paper pattern pieces on the floor as you would on the fabric. As a result, you should be able to determine how the pieces will be positioned and how much fabric will you need.

If you want to buy really expensive fabric, then it's a good idea to try it - cut out all the pattern pieces from the paper and try to arrange them.

Also, be sure to first sew the test piece/muslin. Not only will you be able to adjust the pattern for the perfect fit, but you will also see how much fabric you need.

Have a nice day, Petra

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