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Thread: Fabric Width

  1. #1
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    Fabric Width

    At one time, I "assumed" that all cotton fabrics were 44-45" wide. They aren't.

    (So did some clerks/associates in some stores, for that matter - even when the end of the bolt said otherwise )

    Anyway - check what the bolt end says for fabric width - and if you are a "wash before cutting" person - also check the width after you have washed the fabric and before you start cutting it.

    This is more important if one does not have any "extra" fabric available and one needs to "plan ahead" before starting to cut.

  2. #2
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    Many years ago it was common to find fabric in a 36in. width. I know it was that way in the 70's because I still have some. When you looked at the patterns they gave you instructions on what to buy depending on the width of your fabric. Lately it's rather common to find it in 42in. width.

  3. #3
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    I have not bought fabric that was 44-45 in a long time. Seems most is 40-42 now. I do have some fabric from the 70s that is 44-45" wide. I rarely use patterns, but have needed to make adjustments for a few that were figured for wider fabric and I could not get the required subcuts out of what they said. At least I was using stash, so had more than the pattern listed.
    My name is Cathy - and I'm addicted to old sewing machines and their attachments.

  4. #4
    Power Poster oksewglad's Avatar
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    Whenever I figure how much fabric I need I always use a 40" width allowance. If there's more I consider that a bonus!
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  5. #5
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    I always buy more than I need because sometimes I do stupid things with fabric.

  6. #6
    Super Member cashs_mom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barb2018 View Post
    I always buy more than I need because sometimes I do stupid things with fabric.
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ This is me! The last quilt I made was a bit above my skill level and I made soooo many mistakes. I bought more fabric and still was squeezing the background out of what I had.
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  7. #7
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    Lol Barb I also always buy extra. I wonder if this is the manufacturers way of shrinking what you get and hoping you don't notice as they have done with cereal boxes and ice cream cartons lol!

  8. #8
    Power Poster oksewglad's Avatar
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    The selvages are getting so wide. Those 70's fabrics Macybaby mentioned seldom had the manufacturer on it, and the selvage was very narrow as well. And yes I still have some, too.
    Don't worry spider.
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  9. #9
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    I always calculate for a 40" WOF plus buy more than I need for a given project. If it's for a focus fabric or background I'll overbuy as much as 1-2 yards. For borders/bindings than maybe .5-1 yd.

    Even with this plan, I'm still waaaay short on fabric for my current project...sigh. Oh well, another trip to Lancaster in my relatively near term future, lol.

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    I like this post. I save all my selvedges for use in the garden. They are quite useful when tying up plants.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nesie View Post
    Lol Barb I also always buy extra. I wonder if this is the manufacturers way of shrinking what you get and hoping you don't notice as they have done with cereal boxes and ice cream cartons lol!
    mfgrs of all things have streamlined--weight of product, size, shape of container-- all to keep the profit margin stable, but we the consumer are paying more for less...

  12. #12
    Super Member Nanny's dollface's Avatar
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    When growing up with my GM who was a seamstress and non quilter, I would go fabric shopping with her. Fabric was about 44 inches wide some 42inches and she thought that was just awful. Most recently I bought fabric that was 42 inches with 1 inches salavages on each side! Yikes!!!
    "I may not believe in what you say but will defend your right to say it"- Voltaire

  13. #13
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    Hasn't been 45" for a very long time (with the exception of some home decorating fabric). The same with apparel fabric that hasn't been 60" for years (exception is canvas). But, because patterns list it as 45" or 60", this is the way we refer to it. Every bolt will give the width on the end under the name of the fabric. Reminder, this measurement is from selvage to selvage so you are actually about an inch less because of selvage and any fabric writing. When I help a new customer figure cottons for a quilt, bindings or similar projects, I use 40" for the calculations. This is an easier number to play with and gives a tad of wiggle room.

  14. #14
    Senior Member mhollifiel's Avatar
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    I cut bindings for charity quilts when I prep the backs. I do these WOF not bias. When I am figuring the fabric strips our binder will need, I use 40" to divide the perimeter measurement just because of this WOF discrepancy. Then I always add an extra strip. When you work as a team, you can not take anything for granted in consideration of others who are also donating their time and talents.

  15. #15
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    Yes, I've notice not all fabric is created equal. Not even batiks. I tend to layer the fabrics when cutting strips, etc. and that's when I notice some were not as wide as others. I don't wash before I cut but I do starch before I cut which means I also press. Pressing can also shrink the fabric some too.
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  16. #16
    Super Member quilting cat's Avatar
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    A few years ago all cottons got more expensive. That was when most previously 44" fabrics got changed to 42".
    Retired math teacher --
    I CAN FIGURE IT OUT!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by quilting cat View Post
    A few years ago all cottons got more expensive. That was when most previously 44" fabrics got changed to 42".
    Some fabrics were only about 42" inches ago over 20 years ago.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barb2018 View Post
    I always buy more than I need because sometimes I do stupid things with fabric.
    Oh, you and me both, sister, lol.

  19. #19
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    All this math makes my head hurt! When I buy fabric (and I haven't this year so far), I buy a scrap or two, or whatever I can find at the thrift shop. Then it goes into my stash not to be seen for several years.

  20. #20
    Super Member Aurora's Avatar
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    I seldom consider width. I am more concerned with yardage and the price per yard. Who would have thought -- I make cutting mistakes and frequently need to purchase more. And sometimes I just like it so much and need to purchase more.
    Aurora

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  21. #21
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    Ir is always wise to plan for some flexibility. There are so many things that can cause you to alter cutting plans. Recently I had a fabric that had an obvious portion that needed to be centered in the strips I cut. In other words I could not just cut the strips one after another if I wanted this feature, Thus I had to cut along the design elements and then cut away about 3/4 inch from the strip to get the design centered. It looked so nice in the quilt but it was just a little wasteful. I was glad I had purchased extra fabric. There are so many things to be mindful of in the planning stage.

  22. #22
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    Candy bars are shrinking, and fabric too! But not my waistline *tee hee*

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