Do you have a project that requires a small piece of fabric and not an entire yard? Buying the exact amount of material you need at any given time minimizes waste and saves money.
That said, measuring fabric can be a bit confusing, especially if you are new to sewing, considering that fabrics come in many widths and measurements vary from material to material.
Knowing how big a yard of fabric is will help you buy the appropriate amount of material you need for your project. So what are the dimensions of a one-half yard of fabric? How do you even measure a yard of fabric?
This article covers everything you need to know about measuring the right amount of fabric for your project. Read on to find out more!
How Big Is A Yard of Fabric?
To understand the dimensions of a half-yard fabric, let’s start by answering the question: how big is a yard of fabric?
In the sewing world, when we talk about a yard of fabric, we refer to the fabric’s length. When you go buy a piece of fabric, the seller will want to know the length of material you want. Each fabric type has a standard length but different width variations.
In the past, communities used body parts such as hands or feet to measure. All that changed over many years until the imperial US Customary System became the standard measurement method. Based on this system, instead of ”foot” being the size of an adult man’s foot, this unit of measurement was standardized to equal 12 inches. So, 1 foot=12 inches.
Fabric measurement was standardized too. One yard was set to 3 feet. So, if one foot is equal to twelve inches, 1 yard is equal to 36 inches—this is how big a fabric of yard is.
Dimensions of A One-Half Yard of Fabric
Now that we know that one yard of fabric is equivalent to 36 inches, determining the dimensions of a one-half yard of fabric is easy.
To arrive at the dimensions, simply divide 36 inches by half to get 18 inches. So half a yard of fabric is 18 inches in length.
What about the width? Well, fabric comes in various widths. The length will remain the same but the material’s wideness can change to meet a sewer’s diverse needs. For example, you may come across a yard of fabric measuring 36 inches long by 36 inches wide, 36 inches long by 60 inches wide, 36 inches long by 110 inches wide, and so on.
When it comes to half-yard fabric dimensions, you can order fabric measuring 18 inches long by whatever amount of width you need. For example, the fabric can measure 18 inches by 36 inches wide, 18 inches by 60 inches wide, 18 inches by 80 inches wide, etc.
The width measurement will vary from one type of fabric to another. For example, quilter’s cotton has a width of 54 inches per yard while sheet or curtain fabric typically measures 110 inches per yard.
While the fabric width will vary, the most important thing to keep in mind is that a yard of fabric measures 36 inches. This means that half a yard of fabric is 18 inches long.
How To Measure a Yard of Fabric
If you are new to sewing and fabric handling, it is important to learn how to measure a yard of fabric. With this foundational knowledge, you will know how to measure fractions, such as the dimensions of a one-half yard of fabric.
You will need a yardstick or a tape measure. Whichever you use, ensure that the measuring instrument is calibrated with feet and inches and is at least 36 inches in length.
Next, roll out enough fabric and lay it on a flat surface, such as a smooth, stable tabletop. Because you want to measure the yard, you will only focus on the fabric’s length.
Now, place the yardstick or tape measure along the length of the fabric. Then, identify the 36-inch or 3 feet mark on the measuring tool. Use a pencil to mark this measurement if necessary.
That’s it: once you know how long a yard of fabric is, measuring the fabric is quick and easy.
What Is Half A Yard Of Fabric In Meters?
Every country uses the metric system, except for the US, Myanmar, and the USA. The UK and Canada use some imperial measurements, but the metric system is the official system in these countries for the most part.
Compared to the imperial system, which uses inches, yards, and feet, the metric system, also known as the international system of units, is easier to use because it is structured around multiples of ten. It also works with decimals instead of fractions, making it a more accurate measurement system.
In the metric system, ten millimeters is the smallest unit, equal to one centimeter. Subsequently, 100 centimeters are equal to one meter, and 1000 meters make 1 kilometer, etc.
In 1959, the international community agreed to peg one yard to 0.9144 meters.
If you want to know how long a yard of fabric is in centimeters, simply convert the fabric’s meter measurements to centimeters. One hundred centimeters make up one meter. So, to convert 0.9 meters to centimeters, multiply this figure by 100 to get 90.
One yard of fabric is equivalent to 90 centimeters. To get the dimensions of a one-half yard of fabric in meters and centimeters, simply divide the figures 0.9 meters by two (0.45m) and 90 centimeters by two (45cm).
Can You Buy Fabric By Width?
Fabric shops sell fabric by length. As I mentioned earlier, different materials will come in different lengths. Curtain fabric will come in a longer length than quilting fabric, for example.
When you go fabric shopping, the seller will want to find out how many yards of fabric you need. You can also ask for a certain width, especially if your project only requires a certain amount of material and you want to minimize waste.
Sometimes, you may not get fabric in the exact width you need. Some fabric types are only available in smaller widths, leaving you with no choice but to join two fabrics to get your desired width.
For example, say you have a project that requires 70 inches wide fabric, but retailers only sell the fabric in a width of 40. You will need to buy two lengths of fabric, each measuring 40 inches wide, leaving you with extra material measuring 10 inches wide, which you can use elsewhere.
By buying by length, you can buy as much fabric as you need for your project. Most sellers sell fabric by the yard to avoid remaining with small pieces of material they cannot eventually sell.
It is common for sellers not to sell fabric in fractions, such as half or quarter yard. Depending on the material, you might end up buying a full yard. This is why keeping your fabric scraps for a project that needs smaller pieces is important.
The Cost of A Yard Of Fabric
Aside from understanding the dimensions of a yard of fabric, it also helps to prepare yourself for the costs to ensure a cost-effective project.
Several factors affect the cost of a yard of fabric. For one, the type of fabric matters a lot. Ordinary cotton for simple household items will have a lower price than upholstery fabric.
Quality also plays a big role in determining the cost per yard of a piece of fabric. One type of fabric can have different quality variations to cater to various budgets. For example, there is a wide variety of curtain fabrics, but all come at different prices depending on the quality.
Lastly, how much a yard of fabric costs varies from location to location. If you buy from a shop in the middle of a bustling city, be prepared to pay more than a sewer in a smaller suburb or village.
At the same time, well-known retailers are likelier to charge higher costs for their fabrics than smaller outlets looking to attract more customers.
Summary: What Are The Dimensions of A One-Half Yard of Fabric?
Fabric retailers sell fabric by the yard, allowing you to order as much material as you need for your project. Yard, in this case, refers to the fabric length, with one yard equivalent to 36 inches. It might not always be possible to buy the exact width you need or in fractions of yards; most retailers will cut fabric in full yards.
You might be able to buy half yard of fabric, which is 18 inches, from some sellers but be prepared to buy a full yard most of the time. I hope this article helped you understand fabric dimensions, ensuring your sewing projects are efficient and cost-effective.