When you walk into a fabric store, you'll notice most fabric is wrapped around cardboard bolts that stand upright on shelves or racks. What you may not notice is that at the end each bolt is a label that provides important information about the fabric. If you want 100% cotton, read the label so you don't accidentally come home with a poly-cotton blend. But, there's a lot more good information on that little label.
Today, I'm looking for a vintage style cotton fabric I can use to make a set of casual table linens. A classic red gingham caught my eye.
Fabric on the Bolt
Before I ask someone to cut two yards for me, I want to know if this fabric is suitable for my project. The label on the end of the bolt (shown below) answers that question.
Really Important Information
- Width: 44/45" (115cm)
- Content: 100% Cotton
- Price per yard: $13.49
Less Important, But Good to Know
- Manufacturer: Moda Fabrics
- Point of Manufacture: Korea
- Fabric Designer: Fig Tree Quilts
- Fabric Line: Strawberry Fields Revisited
- Fabric Item Number: 20263 (sometimes there will also be a fabric name)
- Color: Red (11)
- Fabric on a full bolt: 15 yards (13.71m)
Taking all this information into account, I now know this particular fabric will work well for my project. And, from reading the label, I know the fabric I chose is part of the Strawberry Fields Revisited collection. If I decide to mix in some additional fabrics with my main gingham, I know the colors and patterns from this collection will go well together.
Are they all identical?
The look of bolt ends vary by manufacturer and some have less information than others. But the basics are always there: Width, Content, and Price. As shown above on the Rowan Fabrics bolt label, many manufacturers will also include basic fabric care facts, another handy bit of advice.
For most projects, the basic facts listed are what you need to make an informed decision. Below was a selection of linen blends I spotted, which woud be wonderful for a little bag we're considering. I can tell the fabric content is 70% cotton and 30% linen. This blend is what gives the fabric more heft and texture. Perfect!
In some larger stores, you're also likely to see fabric hanging horizontally from wooden dowels. These rolls are usually wider (54"+) home décor options, such as drapery and upholstery fabrics. In this case, look for a hang tag with the important fabric information.
Refer to Your Pattern
If you're using a purchased project pattern, you'll find information on the pattern envelope that tells you how much fabric to buy based on the width of the fabric. We also have a basic fabric width conversion chart online.
Most patterns also suggest the type of fabric that will work best for that particular pattern. Here at Sew4Home, our projects always list how much fabric is required along with the exact type of fabric we used and so recommend as the best option for optimum results.
By reading the label on the bolt, you'll know if the fabric you like is a reasonable choice for your next project.