The Sew Weekly Sewing Circle

This might seem a silly question, but please bear with me.... I'm still a novice at this!


When you see a fabric you just love, but you don't have a specific pattern in mind for, how many metres should you buy? Do you do this and if so do you have a sort of rule in your mind for each width fabric or do you just but a certain amount and hope for the best?


Thanks for your  thoughts x 

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Hi Charlotte - I would say that most dress patterns seem to take about 4 metres, so, if you have that in mind then that's how much.  If I see a remnant of something and it's not too badly priced (have just bought a metre for about £3.50 of something that would have been quite expensive), then if I'm able to afford it at the time I'll get it, as I know I'll regret it after.  It's handy to have a little stash of things put by.  Since being with Sew Weekly, I've already made a hole in my stash ... it's making me get around to using stuff.    
I have general ideas of yardage for different types of garments, and also keep a little note with yardages for specific patterns I want to make. Usually when I see a fabric I have an idea of whether I would make it into a skirt, blouse, dress, etc and get enough for that. A couple yards for a skirt or top, twice that for a dress. I think buying fabric but not having enough to make anything with it is a bigger waste than buying too much!
Like Amanda, I buy fabrics for specific purposes and have general 'rules' on yardage required for each type of garment. I usually go for 4 meters for 45" width fabrics, 3 meters for 60" width cos I realized most of my dress patterns require around 3-4 meters. If it's a blouse I'm thinking of making with the fabric, I go for 2 meters and 1.5 metres for a pair of shorts. For knit fabrics, I usually buy 2 meters for a dress. Hope that helps:)


  I am a  fabric acholic.ha.. I can't resist fabrics. Everywhere I go, I look at it. and if there is  a sale, I just

cant pass it by.

   I look at the fabric and just know I have to have it.Most of the time, I dont have a specific pattern in mind, But

I know if it is atype of dress /skirt/ blouse fabric....So, I get the usual amount for that  particular garment.. sometimes I end up with not enough for a garment I decide on , or either too much.. either way.. I still have this wonderful fabric that I couldnt pass up..So, I will decide on another pattern that the fabric will go with..

  I never throw away my left over yardages.. sometimes I find they can be added with another fabric to make something really cute..

   Happy Sewing. Judy

Great question Charlotte, one I have been trying to work out since starting the Sew Weekly Challenges (prior to that I had been trying to limit myself to only buying fabric for specific projects).  I have decided that about 3 metres is a good amount to buy (of 140-150cm wide fabric) if I have no idea what I want to make, but love the fabric.  2 metres is enough if I think I might make pants or a skirt.
ooh, I found these "How Much Fabric?" reference cards on this blog site,  here is a bit of a blurb about them  They cost $14.95US and I think with shipping they were around $20!  I carry them in my handbag and that way I always know.  Totally worth the money, as I never have to guess and generally haven't got it wrong yet.  Only once when I didn't realise the skirt of the dress I wanted to make was cut on the bias - Doh!  Watch that one.  Enjoy.
Well, my last impluse fabric purchase was 10 yards but I have plans for a Victorian gown so the 10 yards were necessary and pretty safe for whatever I want to do. (It was only $1.50 a yard!) For most other impulse buys I would probably go for 3 yards, maybe 4 if I had a dress in mind. I'm sorry I don't know what that would be in meters. :)

I buy 2 metres if it's a wider width (!?) as in I got a call from my friend just yesterday and she was like 'There's an awesome remnant you'd like at this shop, how much is a good amount though?' and I was like '2 metres' that's a safe bet for me.


However, I'm not an impulse buyer, since I don't shop in shops. I am a thrift store impulse buyer, and 1 metre by 1 metre is te smallest remnant I'd pick up from the op shop. I don't do patchwork and don't have time or space to buy small pieces of nice fabrci.


HOWEVER AGAIN! I have bought tablecloths and tea towels to make cushions and smaller things out of... so it does depend on what the fabric is!

Thanks everyone for your much appreciated replies... food for thought at least! My stash is a bit low (like margueritedesigns) so I have the perfect excuse for shopping


I like the cards Deb Cameron suggested (but will have to contact them to see if they ship to England!) but it seems most of you buy a couple of yards for separates and 4ish for dresses. Makes sense.


I like Amanda's suggestion that you could keep a note of yardage for things you plan to make. I think I'll pick a few patterns I really like and get the material for them in the hope they match the next challenges!


I also have a bit of a charity shop habit Veronica, I got a great 70s sheet a couple of weeks ago that I'm dying to use!


Thanks again, now I need to start a discussion asking how you know which fabric will make a good dress / skirt / top!

Charlotte - if you have an Iphone there are a few aps available that are designed for sewing - you enter pattern number, yardage, notions etc - so then you have all your pattern details with you all the time.

Thanks Debbie - great idea, I don't have one but I have a hubbie who does ;0)


You need to get hubby to "upgrade" so you can have his!


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