social

Facebook Twitter Blogger Pinterest Instagram You Tube

menu

home about contact newsletter faq advertise

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Calculating Fabric Requirements

One of the many things I love about CKC patterns is how easy they make it for me to buy the right amount of fabric every time. Today we're going to talk about that magical chart that you always find at the top of our CKC patterns.   


Have you ever wondered how we come up with the calculations in the charts? If you assume that we're just really smart, then... you're right!  And you can be really smart too.  We will teach you how! You will benefit from knowing this because there may be times that you will want to make adjustments to the patterns and you'll need to understand how to buy the right amount of fabric. For example, my daughter is tall for her age and we like skirts to go past her knee, so I often add some inches to the length. But if I don't also calculate those extra inches into the amount of fabric I need to buy, I could come up short! 


(Here is Poppy's with three inches added to the length. No problem!) 

It can also be helpful to understand our calculations because sometimes you can double up pieces in the same yardage of the same fabric, so you won't need to buy quite as much fabric. If you know that ahead of time, you can buy less and reduce costs.  

So let's get started!  To determine the fabric requirement for each piece, we will follow three steps. I'll list them first and then explain in detail: 

Step 1: Look at the length of the piece. Write it down. This is the number that matters. 
Step 2: Look at the width of the piece. If you are cutting more than one piece and their combined widths add up to more than the width of your fabric, you will need to add their lengths together so that each piece gets the width it needs. Add those up to get your total fabric length in inches. 
Step 3: Convert the length into yards, rounding up to the nearest 1/8 yard.

That's it! 

Step 2 may seem complicated at first but it's not. Let's look more closely. To make it easy, we will be using the cutting chart from our free pattern, Marilyn's Slim Fit Peasant Dress.   


Let's look at the 18 months size and start with the Dress piece. Now follow the steps. 

Step 1: Look at the length of the piece. Write it down. This is the number that matters.   (Answer: 16")
Step 2: Look at the width of the piece. If you are cutting more than one piece and their combined widths add up to more than the width of your fabric, you will need to add their lengths together so that each piece gets the width it needs. Add those up if necessary to get your new total fabric length in inches. (Answer: Our 2 pieces are each 15" wide so they easily fit into the standard 42" or 60". Therefore we do not need to double the length. They will both fit in our 16" length.) 
Step 3: Convert the length into yards, rounding up to the nearest 1/8 yard. (Answer: 1/2 yard) 

So together we just determined that we need 1/2 yard to cut the two Dress pieces for 18 months. Is that correct on the chart way at the top? Yes, it is!

Now let's have an example where we really need Step 2. Look at the 18 month size Ruffle now.  

Step 1: The length is 3.5". Write it down.
Step 2: The width is 30" and we need to cut 2. If we are using standard woven fabric (42"), we will only be able to cut one ruffle in that width. So since we need 2 ruffles, we will need to double the length that we found in step 1.  So 2 ruffles x 3.5" length equals 7".  
Step 3: Now we need to convert 7" into yards, rounding up to the nearest 1/8 yard. That will give us 1/4 yard for the 2 ruffles.  Is that correct on the chart? Yes, it is! 

Some of the fabric lengths that we come up with may be a little harder to convert to yards in our heads. So here is a super helpful tool for helping you convert those inches into yards: 


Did you notice that we even made a column for our metric customers? 

We also made this chart into a PDF file so you can print it or keep it handy in your Dropbox. Download the Fabric Requirements Conversion Chart here

So now that you understand how we calculate the fabric requirements, you can do some adjusting of your own whenever you'd like!  Let's say that you want to make Marilyn's dress two inches longer.  No problem! Just add 2" to your length in Step 1 and make sure you follow through with Step 2 and Step 3. You will have enough fabric every time! Or let's say that you have a nondirectional fabric and you want to cut several pieces out of the same fabric and buy less overall. Just add up the lengths and widths and determine how many yards you really need. 

So now no matter what width of fabrics or what kind of prints or what adjustments you decide to make, you will always end up buying the right amount of fabric!  Isn't it fun to be smart? 

Let's Create!  ~ Kristen

1 comment:

  1. How can I purchase a pattern without knowing the yardage requirement? Not only that but finding the size of the patterns in different groups, i.e. baby, toddler, and ? Not an easy site to navigate and no email to contact company or seller to ask these questions.

    ReplyDelete