A fabric bolt is a commercial and standard measurement unit for folded material used in industries that directly depends on the fabric type. You can sometimes hear people use the term fabric roll for fabric bolt, but these terms don’t have the same meaning.
Most people are confused and unsure what is the standard width of a bolt of fabric. The most common material widths are 45, 54, and 60 inches (1.1, 1.3, and 1.5 m), and it comes in numerous lengths. In most cases, one bolt of fabric equals 40 or 100 yards (36.5 – 91.5 m).
What Is a Bolt of Fabric?
A bolt is an industry-standard and commercial measurement unit for finished cloth. It includes a wood or cardboard center core and the material wrapped around it. The term BOLT comes from an English word for the metal rod used to hold the fabric.
Stores typically buy material in bulk from manufacturers, store it in the bolt, and cut it to order. The only exceptions are small fat quarters for craft projects. You can find bolts of flexible dimensions, depending on:
- Material type, size, and thickness
- The fabric quality and quantity
- Manufacturing technique
Customers can buy the whole bolt when necessary or the seller cut as much fabric as needed. Be aware that each fabric bolt’s cardboard comes with a label with essential information about the material, including:
It is the first thing to check. In most cases, the material is folded in half on the bolt, so you can’t see the actual width when looking at it from the outside. Therefore, you should look for a width mark, like 44 to 45 inches (1.12 – 1.14 m) or 58 to 60 inches (1.47 – 1.52 m), to determine the necessary yardage.
Material and content
Additionally, you should check information about the material type. That way, you can be sure that the fabric you want to buy is pure cotton, silk, viscose, satin, jersey, or wool.
Another issue is material thickness since thicker fabrics have less yardage per bolt. On the other hand, you can expect more thinner material wrapped around a bolt. Expensive fabrics and those with low demand typically have less yardage per bolt.
Fabric design and item number
The manufacturer always includes information about the fabric design and item number for quicker identification, and you can find it on the label.
The next thing to check is the manufacturing country to ensure the fabric authenticity. Plus, fabric from different markets can come in various measurements.
This information will warn you about the necessary care when washing and ironing a particular fabric.
A price tag is one more thing you can notice on a fabric bolt. It is the regular price per yard.
What Is the Standard Width of a Bolt of Fabric?
The usable WOF (width of the fabric) is the distance between the fabric warp threads’ outermost without selvage. Nowadays, most manufacturers prefer providing the usable fabric width rather than the actual one.
However, you should always check whether the piece of material you see has an actual width or the narrower usable part.
Standard fabric bolt width
The standard fabric bolt width can significantly vary, and you can find following dimensions:
- 35, 36, 38, and 39 inches (88.9, 91.5, 96.5, and 99 cm)
- 41, 42, 44, 45, and 48 inches (1, 1.07, 1.12, 1.14, and 1.22 m)
- 50, 52, 53, 54, 58, and 59 inches (1.27, 1.32, 1.35, 1.37, 1.47, and 1.5 m)
- 60, 66, 72, 100, and 108 inches (1.52, 1.68, 1.83, 2.54, and 2.74 m)
In some cases, manufacturers offer even narrower bolts of fabric for specific materials. These bolts don’t come in standard width, depending on the material type and amount. On the other hand, the bolt width is always the same for a particular fabric type.
Bolt of Fabric Standard Width
|Material type||Average bolt width|
|Interfacing||20 inches (50.8 cm)|
|Vintage and utilitarian fabrics||35 to 36 inches (88.9 – 91.5 cm)|
|Cotton and apparel fabrics||44 to 45 inches (1.12 – 1.14 m)|
|Home decorating and upholstery fabrics||52 to 54 inches (1.32 – 1.37 m)|
|Non-standard apparel fabrics||58 to 60 inches (1.47 – 1.52 m)|
|Wool||60 inches (1.52 m)|
|Backings and sheeting fabrics||72 to 108 inches (1.83 – 2.74 m)|
You should know that most fabric bolts come in 45, 54, and 60 inches (1.14, 1.37, and 1.52 m). It is necessary to find a particular width on a label before calculating the required piece size.
There is one more thing to think about. A fabric bolt can be single or double. You can effortlessly recognize the doubles since they are folded in the center and are almost twice as wide as singles.
Single width fabric bolt width
Single-width fabric is material wrapped around the bolt in one layer. You can see the right fabric side facing outwards, the wrong fabric side facing inwards, and bolt selvage edges on opposite sides.
Double width fabric bolt width
The manufacturer folds double-width fabric in half before wrapping it around the bolt. In this case, you can see two side types. One is with a fold, while the selvage edges are on the other side.
Remember that the fabric’s right side faces outwards, while the wrong sides face each other inside. Such packaging is typical for particularly wide materials like drapery or upholstery.
Narrow fabric bolt width
Most vintage fabrics, interfacing, and other narrow materials for smaller pieces come on 30 inches (76.2 m) wide bolts. Rare non-commercial and specialty fabrics are typically made on narrower looms.
Extra-wide fabric bolt width
In most cases, twill skew, corduroy, knit jersey, upholstery, quilt backing, and home decor materials are in a group of extra-wide fabrics of 60 to 108 inches (1.52 – 2.74 m). Manufacturers typically package them in double width.
How Many Yards in a Bolt of Fabric?
Be aware that the material width is directly connected with its length. The rule of thumb is that longer material always comes with a higher width. It is also more expensive since wider fabric’s production costs more.
Yards in 54 inches (1.3 m) wide fabric
|Yards||Fabric length||Yards||Fabric length|
|1||3 feet||36 inches (0.9 m)||21||63 feet||756 inches (19.2 m)|
|2||6 feet||72 inches (1.8 m)||22||66 feet||792 inches (20 m)|
|3||9 feet||108 inches (2.7 m)||23||69 feet||828 inches (21 m)|
|4||12 feet||144 inches (3.6 m)||24||72 feet||864 inches (22 m)|
|5||15 feet||180 inches (4.5 m)||25||75 feet||900 inches (22.9 m)|
|6||18 feet||216 inches (5.5 m)||26||78 feet||936 inches (23.8 m)|
|7||21 feet||252 inches (6.4 m)||27||81 feet||972 inches (24.7 m)|
|8||24 feet||288 inches (7.3 m)||28||84 feet||1,008 inches (25.6 m)|
|9||27 feet||324 inches (8.2 m)||29||87 feet||1,044 inches (26.5 m)|
|10||30 feet||360 inches (9.1 m)||30||90 feet||1,080 inches (27.4 m)|
|11||33 feet||396 inches (10 m)||31||93 feet||1,116 inches (28.4 m)|
|12||36 feet||432 inches (11 m)||32||96 feet||1,152 inches (29.3 m)|
|13||39 feet||468 inches (11.9 m)||33||99 feet||1,188 inches (30.2 m)|
|14||42 feet||504 inches (12.8 m)||34||102 feet||1,224 inches (31 m)|
|15||45 feet||540 inches (13.7 m)||35||105 feet||1,260 inches (32 m)|
|16||48 feet||576 inches (14.6 m)||36||108 feet||1,296 inches (32.9 m)|
|17||51 feet||612 inches (15.5 m)||37||111 feet||1,332 inches (33.8 m)|
|18||54 feet||648 inches (16.5 m)||38||114 feet||1,368 inches (34.7 m)|
|19||57 feet||684 inches (17.4 m)||39||117 feet||1,404 inches (35.7 m)|
|20||60 feet||720 inches (18.3 m)||40||120 feet||1,440 inches (36.6 m)|
Most bolts contain 40 to 100 yards (36.5 – 91.5 m) of fabric, depending on its type. For instance:
- A bolt of cotton is 100 yards (91.5 m)
- A bolt of silk contains 40 yards (36.5 m)
- A bolt of the canvas is 39 yards (35.6 m)
A Bolt of Fabric Price
A bolt of fabric price can significantly vary, depending on several factors:
- Material type
- Raw material quality
- High-end designer fabric
- Country of origin
Unlike other things, when you can get a more affordable price when buying in bulk, it is not the case with materials. Therefore, you should be careful with the price written on the bolt label.
When you notice that the average fabric price is from $15 to $50, be aware that it is not a bolt value. It is actually the material price per yard, so you can’t expect a discount on quantity.
There is one more thing! Don’t be surprised that some luxurious fabrics cost approximately $1,000 for a yard.
You can often hear about a standard width of a bolt of fabric, but the things are not that simple. The best option is to learn to differentiate single and double bolts and figure out the difference between rolls and bolts for a start.
Then, you will discover that various fabric types come in a few widths and lengths. Remember that the material width primarily depends on its intended use.