How Many Yards in a Bolt of Quilting Fabric

Whenever you enter a fabric store, you must have noticed one thing. There are vast rolls of fabrics placed in different sections of the store. Generally, these rolls are called bolts. These bolts are set according to the colour, material, patterns etc.

But, how can you tell how much fabric a bolt has? The amount of material present in the bolt is measured in yards. Now here comes another question. How many yards of fabric is a bolt?

Read this article till the end. You will get all the details about a bolt and how many yards in a bolt of fabric.

Here we go.

What is a Fabric Bolt Called?

You may be familiar with the term’ fabric bolt’. But do you know what it means?

A bolt of fabric is nothing but a roll of a large piece of fabric. 

What is the Width of the Fabric on a Bolt?

Whenever you visit a fabric store, you notice large bolts. These bolts are placed according to their colour, pattern, designs etc. 

When you decide to buy fabric, you must know how wide these bolts are.  In general terms, the width of the fabric is the distance between the warp threads. 

In sewing, the width of the fabric is the amount of space between the sleeve ends. Whereas in quilting, the width of the material includes the savage edges.

Generally, a bolt is 40-60 inches wide. However, the width varies according to the type of fabric. 

Fabric stores measure yardage in fabric on bolts in terms of yards. Generally, 1 yard of fabric equals 36-40 inches wide.

Why is Fabric Width Important?

Fabric width is important because it tells you how much fabric you will need for a project. For example, suppose you are making curtains and need to buy fabric. The width of the curtain panel will dictate how many yards of fabric you need.

Suppose you are planning to make a pair of pants. You want to calculate the yardage needed for that. Then you can use your pant size and pants length to figure out how many yards of fabric is in a bolt.

Also, in the case of quilting or sewing, it is imperative to know the width of the fabric. Because the width of the fabric decides how many yards of material you will need to complete your desired pattern. 

For any sewing or quilting project, you must know two things to get the right amount of fabric. One is the yardage needed, and the other is the width of the fabric measurement. 

How to Measure Fabric on a Bolt?

If you think that measuring the fabric on a bolt is tough, you are wrong. It’s pretty easy. You need a few things and need to follow a few steps.

  • Place the fabric on a flat surface and take a yardstick.
  • Make sure that your fabric is free from wrinkles before measuring.
  • You know that the width of the fabric is the distance between the sleeve edges. So place the yardstick between the sleeve edges and observe the marking. 
  • Make sure the yardstick touches the extreme ends of the fabric.

Does the Width Change the Number of Yards in a Bolt?

Yes, the width of the bolt does change the number of yards. But it does not have much impact on the number of yards. For example, a wide bolt may have only five yards, while a narrow one may have six yards. So, it’s always good to ask for the measurement in yards before buying any fabric.

The width of the fabric affects the yardage even more. Thicker material will have less yard length, whereas; thinner material has more yardage. 

Before taking the fabric bolt to your house, make sure you take some time and measure the bolts.

How is Fabric Folded on a Bolt?

Fabric is folded on a bolt to create the desired width. Fabric widths are standardized and based on yards, converted into inches or centimetres. For example:

  • A 3 yard wide bolt would yield 45″ (114cm) of fabric.
  • A 4 yard wide bolt would yield 54″ (137cm) of fabric.
  • A 5 yard wide bolt would yield 60″ (152cm) of fabric

But remember one thing in mind: the bolt’s fabric is folded in half. That means the material you see on the bolt is half the actual length of the fabric. 

How Wide is the Fabric sold by the Yard?

Fabrics are sold by the yard in an industry standard. A yard is 36 inches in length. The width of the material sold in yards can vary based on the type of fabric and its intended purpose. For example, a bolt of cotton may be 60″ wide while a polyester maybe 44″.

A piece of fabric is usually sold by the yard, irrespective of its width. 

How to Make Sure you are Getting Enough Fabric?

There is one question that comes to people’s minds is how to make sure they get the right amount of fabric for their project. How can you tell if you are getting enough material? There are two ways to do this.

  • First, you can measure the length of your desired piece of fabric by wrapping it around a yardstick (a long measuring tape). 
  • The second way is to wrap the fabric around what you need it for, like a table or chair. You want to be sure that the width of the fabric is enough for its intended use.

The width measurement should be at least six inches more than you need. It will save you from cutting your fabric when you get home and realize that there is not enough material left on the bolt.

When buying fabric, another point to keep in mind is that it is always cheaper in bulk. Buying one yard of fabric costs more than 30 yards of the same fabric. This is because of the time to cut and bundle it up individually. Buying in bulk saves money and time!


Buying fabric by the yard is the best way to ensure you have enough for your project. You’ll need to know how wide your fabric is. How many yards do you need, and if you are using a particular type of fabric, like quilting fabric, that has a width of 60″.

Fabric is sold by width. For example, quilting fabric is 60″ wide, so there are 60″ or 36″ for each yard. Other materials are sold by the yard. For example, cotton fabric is 44″ wide, so it is sold by the yard at 22″.

Some fabrics are sold by the meter. So if you are using a metric version of the fabric, you’ll need to know that too.

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