Sewing Quickie: Reading A Bolt of Fabric


So I thought this would be a fun series to do when sharing some basic things about sewing. Also, I wanted to find a way to use the word quickie in a title.  Sewing can seem really overwhelming when you don’t have someone to hold your hand. Lucky you have me!

Alright, on to the good stuff.

reading a fabric bolt 1

When you go to the fabric store or a store that sells fabric, most of the fabric will be on a bolt. One end of it will look something like this. It’s going to have a lot of info that will be important to you when you’re looking at what fabric to buy. They may be formatted a little differently but if you know what you’re looking for it will be easy to find.

Reading a fabric Bolt 2

From the top, you see the manufacturer and below that you see the care instructions for this specific fabric.

Reading a fabric bolt 3

Next up, reading from the top down:

  • We have the width, which is SUPER important in knowing how much fabric you need to buy. When you’re reading the back of a pattern there can be a huge difference in the amounts needed depending on the width.
  • Material. You see that this is 100% cotton, but if it were a blend of some type they’d list the materials and what percentage of each is in it. Ex: 60% cotton, 36% polyester, and 4%spandex
  • Style: it will have a specific number for it and you can use it to see if you can find more. (Like there could not be enough in the store or something. Or you know someone who would love this fabric.)
  • Color: I think you understand this, right?
  • Yards: This is important if you are buying in bulk. NOT EVERY BOLT HAS THE SAME AMOUNT SO CHECK IT BEFORE YOU BUY! I’ve seen brand new bolts of the same fabric from the same manufacturer have a 5 yard difference in amount. Please, please, check before you buy. And if you’re wondering when you’d ever need that much fabric, just look at the back of a steampunk/victorian costume pattern and see. It’s a lot.

After that there are just odds and ends, like where the fabric was made and how much it costs. lol That’s kind of a big one. Anywho I hope that helps with your cosplaying and sewing endeavors. If you have any questions ask away and I will do my best to answer!



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