If you’re looking for fabric for a one-time sewing or art project, you probably won’t need to purchase an entire roll. After all, a roll of fabric can measure up to 50 yards (150 feet) long, which is probably far too much for the project you have in mind. So, if you’re looking for a yard of fabric, big would that be?
A yard of fabric is measured by taking a yard (3 feet) from a fabric roll’s length. Since the width of a fabric roll is between 40 and 60 inches, a yard of fabric would measure between 36 × 40 inches and 36 × 60 inches.
In this guide, I’ll explain yards of fabric in greater detail and what pre-cut fabric sizes you can purchase at fabric and craft stores.
How Big Is a Yard of Fabric?
If you don’t intend on buying an entire roll of fabric, which can cost hundreds of dollars (depending on the fabric type), you should consider what pre-cut sizes a fabric store has to offer. One of the more common sizes you can get is a yard of fabric.
Now, a yard of fabric might sound simple, but you might actually end up with more than a square yard (3 feet × 3 feet). After all, fabric stores only pre-cut rolls of fabric by length, not by width.
The width of a roll of fabric generally ranges from 40 to 60 inches. So, if you request a yard of fabric, you’ll end up with between 36 × 40 inches and 36 × 60 inches of fabric.
Below is a quick chart that details how much fabric you’ll get in square inches, feet, and yards, based on the fabric roll’s width.
|Width||Square Inches||Square Feet||Square Yards|
Pre-Cut Fabric Sizes
A yard of fabric isn’t the only size you can get. I’ll describe the various pre-cut fabric sizes you can typically pick up at fabric and craft stores.
2.5-inch squares of fabric are generally used for patchwork jobs where the sewer doesn’t particularly care about using different motifs. A batch of 42 2.5-inch squares is called a Mini Charm.
Another name for 5-inch square pieces of fabric is nickel squares due to their dimensions. They’re also used for patchwork jobs that require larger patches since they cover twice as much surface area as the previous pre-cut fabric size. 42 nickel squares are called a Charm Pack.
7-inch squares are used for quilting, and you’ll need about 140 of them to create a long-twin quilt (66 × 94 inches). These squares are sold in tins containing 42 squares, which are sometimes called Frivols.
You’ll typically want to use 10-inch squares of fabric if you make quilts. A batch of 42 10-inch squares is called a Layer Cake.
A Honey Bun is a special name given to strips of fabric measuring 1.5 inches by the width of the fabric roll—e.g., 42 inches. These fabric strips will come in handy for sashing.
A 2.5-inch strip will generally measure 42 inches long, though it depends on the width of the fabric roll. These strips are taken by cutting widthwise with the fabric roll, so their exact measurements will differ from supplier to supplier. 40 of these strips is called a Jelly Roll.
When you cut a yard of fabric (36 × 42 inches) into fourths, you’ll end up with 4 sheets of fabric measuring 9 × 21 inches, which is known as a fat quarter. They’re used for making drawstring bags, aprons, infinity scarves, and DIY face masks. A batch of 25 to 35 fat quarters is known as a Bundle.
If you take a fat quarter (9 × 21 inches) and split it in half along its widest side, you’ll end up with a strip that measures 4.5 × 21 inches. This is called a fat eighth, which will come in handy when making quilts and other scrappy-looking patchwork pieces. A Bundle of fat eights will contain around 34 pieces.
Some fabric stores will sell Scarp Bags, which contain between 8 and 10 ounces of 36-inch-long scraps. Usually, the scraps will be between 1.5 and 2.5 inches wide.
Fabric Size Yard Conversion Chart
Based on the pre-cut fabric sizes described above, here’s how many you will need to get a full square. The calculations below are based on 36 × 42-inch fabric yards.
|Pre-Cut Fabric||Dimensions||Total Yard Count||Total per Yard|
|2.5-inch Squares||2.5 × 2.5 in.||0.005||207.360|
|Mini Charm||42 × 2.5-inch Squares||8.507||0.118|
|5-inch Squares||5 × 5 in.||0.019||51.84|
|Charm Pack||42 × 5-inch Squares||34.028||0.029|
|7-inch Squares||7 × 7 in.||0.038||26.449|
|Frivols||42 × 7-inch Squares||66.694||0.015|
|10-inch Squares||10 × 10 in.||0.077||12.960|
|Layer Cake||42 × 10-inch Squares||136.11||0.007|
|Honey Bun||1.5 × 42 in.||0.049||20.571|
|2.5-inch Strips||2.5 × 42 in.||0.081||12.343|
|Jelly Roll||40 × 2.5-inch Strips||129.630||0.008|
|Fat Quarters||9 × 21 in.||0.146||6.857|
|Fat Quarter Bundle||25 × Fat Quarters||91.146||0.011|
|Fat Eighths||4.5 × 21 in.||0.073||13.714|
|Fat Eighth Bundle||34 × Fat Eights||84.292||0.012|
|Scrap Bags||Depends on weight and width||Depends on weight and width||Depends on weight and width|
Benefits of Shopping for Pre-Cut Fabric Sizes
Heres’ the thing about pre-cut fabrics—they’re costlier per square inch than purchasing fabric in bulk. That said, not every project requires using 50-yard-long rolls of fabric, especially if you’re a simple sewing hobbyist.
There are multiple reasons why you should opt for pre-cut fabric than buying a single roll, namely:
Variety—You don’t just get one fabric type or motif; you can get a bunch of them if you purchase squares or strips.
Versatility—If you don’t have the time to mix and match different colors, you can combine everything together and see what works best.
Time-Saver—The sheets of fabric are already cut to commonly used sizes, so you don’t have to spend hours manually cutting long rolls of fabric down to size.
Money-Saver—Although they’re more expensive per square inch, you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars for a yard of fabric.
Reduces Waste—You can decide how many or how few strips or squares to get based on your exact patchworking needs.