A fabric measurement chart shows required yardage amounts for several fabric widths. Sewers use the chart when they select fabrics that are different widths than stated for the pattern. The chart typically lists fabric widths in columns, with yardage requirements in rows.
For example, if a pattern calls for 2 yards of 36-inch fabric, a sewer moves horizontally along the row with that measurement to the column of the chosen fabric's width. The chart indicates that the project requires 1 5/8 yards of 45-inch wide fabric or 1 3/8 yards of 54-inch fabric.
These conversions are recommendations. They do not take into consideration variables that change fabric requirements, such as pattern alterations and material with large designs. In addition, directional fabrics, which include plaids, stripes, velvets and satins, generally require extra material.
Common fabric widths include 36, 38, 42, 44/45 and 48 inches. Standard larger widths are 54, 58, 59, 60, 72 and 108 inches. Typically, fabric stores stock smaller-width fabrics flat bolts. Fabrics with very large widths, which are often used for home decorating, hang on rolled bolts. However, this convention varies by fabric style and manufacturer.
Manufacturers' patterns typically list fabric requirements by width on the back of pattern envelopes. Often, sewers who use wide-width fabrics need less yardage.