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How much fabric do I need

Updated: Aug 21, 2019

A major question that arises in a Fashion Designer's mind while starting a sewing project and at the time of purchasing fabric is — how much fabric do I need for kurti or a dress? It is a very important question to ponder and plan upfront. It requires you to have practice in drawing patterns and ensuring the pieces of the pattern are laid out expertly onto the fabric before drawing and cutting.

For scale production, this is very critical, as even minimal saving of 5 to 10 cms of fabric per garment would result in savings up to a metre when designing and manufacturing a lot of 10.

How much material is required for Churidars and Kurtis?

Before starting you need to know two major dimensions i.e. maximum length and the maximum round width. For any garment, there are minimum two lengths plus seam allowance. The fabric has two grains—lengthwise grain and width wise grain. Always cut the garment lengths along the length wise grain as this is the stronger grain and the fall of the garment would be far better on this grain. Cut the garment in less fabric only if the width of the fabric is wide enough to fit two length of the garment in one length of the fabric.

Tip: Always cut the garment lengths along the length wise grain as this is the stronger grain and the fall of the garment would be far better on this grain.

6 tips for a better Pattern lay — optimize your fabric

The first step towards finding the right amount of fabric is by placing all the patterns representing the individual pieces of the garment together in such a manner that they fit within the confines of the fabric width as closely and efficiently as possible. This minimizes the wastage in fabric. This is a pattern lay.

  1. Practice to fit all the pattern pieces together. Think of this like putting the puzzle pieces together—place the pattern pieces on the fabric to use the full width and length of the fabric economically

  2. Use wrapping paper on flat surface and try positioning the pattern in different ways—after doing this a couple of times, you will identify which is the best way to arrange for a certain type of garment (e.g., Churidar tops, sleeves for Kurtis and so on)

  3. Place the pieces on the right grain and close to each other—remember spaces between the pattern pieces may result in wastage

  4. Place the largest piece first and arrange the other smaller pieces around and in-between

  5. Always adhere to the directional properties of the material like fabric design and the grain. Match the grain—also known as mitering, this gives professional finish to your garment especially if the fabric has checks or stripes—ensure perfect matching of check or stripes on the side seam, centre back, or yoke

  6. Use the remaining fabric to create accessories like fabric buttons to match your Churidars, a purse that goes with your designer kurtis, or a fabric jhumkas that accentuates your designer wear

You will find fabric calculations—showing how much material required for some of the popular categories of Churidars, Blouse and Kids wear. These have been given on an assumption that you would be using standard 36” width fabric. The measurements are largely indicative and created for basic or classical styles in the category and are in no way conclusive.

Practice will make you perfect and learning happens with hands-on experience. Comment below what worked for you and any interesting tips you have to make this better. Happy sewing!



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