What is a Bolt of Fabric? Dimensions, Measurement, and Price

The dressmakers and dress designers who love picking fabrics know what it is about. No worries if you are new to the world of clothing. You would have seen fabric rolls in a fabric store that are organized according to the fabric and the patterns. The attractive colors and patterns pull you towards them but not knowing how many yards to buy keep you confused.

All the tailors have a bolt fabric. Fabrics are measured in bolts. Your questions would not end here. To learn more about bolt fabric, you want to know its dimensions, yardage, measurement method, and price.

In this article, we will discuss all the details to gradually build up your knowledge about the bolt of fabric. Next time, when you go to a fabric store for your exciting project, you will not be an alien to the term.

What Is a Bolt of Fabric

What is a Bolt of Fabric?

It is a measurement unit for materials that are sold in a roll like fabric, wood, or canvas. Bolt is not like the inches, and meters we use in our everyday life, but an industry standard to sell materials.

The next question that pops up in your mind is: what are the dimensions of a bolt of fabric? It is not that simple. Fabric bolts vary in dimensions depending on the machinery, manufacturing, quality, quantity, size, and thickness. Let’s have a look at the standard length and width of a bolt of fabric for some common materials.

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What are the Dimensions of a Bolt of Fabric?

Length of a Bolt of Fabric

The length of a bolt of fabric depends on the type of fabric.

The standard length you see in the cloth house is between 40 yards to 100 yards. Usually, a canvas bolt is 39 yards, a cotton bolt has a length of 100 yards, while a silk bolt is 40 yards long.

Width of a Bolt of Fabric

The bolt width depends on the type and amount of material. A bolt is a commercial unit of measurement that has the same amount of material for the same type of material. For example, most wool fabrics have similar widths whereas most cotton fabrics have a similar width, but that does not mean that wool and cotton will have the same width.

The width of a fabric bolt will be between 35 inches to 108 inches, with an average width of 40 to 60 inches. The cotton bolt measures 42 inches in width while the wool bolt is around 60 inches. You can convert the units into meters, or centimeters, whatever is convenient to you. There is much difference between 42 inches and 60 inches. Therefore, it is crucial to know about the measurements before you go out to buy a piece of fabric.

A Bolt of Fabric will tell You Everything!

Do not know about fabrics? You will see fabrics wrapped around a cardboard bolt. These bolts are arranged vertically on the shelves. Ever noticed that the end of the bolt has a label on it? If not, then, you know it now. This label contains all the information regarding the fabric.

The information on the label varies by manufacturer. Some have less information, while others have information regarding fabric care too. However, all the labels will at least contain width, material and content, and price. What if you want pure cotton but pick the blend without reading the label? That’s surely going to bring you again to the store for an exchange.

Let’s quickly see what fabric bolt information the label will give you.


This is the first thing that you should spot on the fabric bolt label. It will tell you the width of the fabric wrapped around it. Usually, the width is 44-45 or 58-60. In the folded form, you only see half of its actual width. Knowing the actual width is important to get the right dimensions for your project.


It tells you about the material of the fabric. For example, if it says 100% cotton that means it is pure cotton. It can be silk, wool, quilting cotton, linen, or a blend of different materials. You need to see which material is suitable for your dress-making or home-décor project.


The price tag shows the price of fabric per yard. You can look for sales or coupons to get the most out of the deals. It is always good to wait for sales to shop fabric in bulk.

Care Instructions

This is another important piece of information written on the bolt label. It is a tag similar to the tag that you see with your outfit. It tells you how to wash and dry it. Do you need to hand wash it? Whether you can dry it under direct sunlight or not. It is important to follow these instructions if you do not want the color of your fabric to fade or the quality to deteriorate.

So, this is the basic and important information that you will see on a fabric bolt. The other things that are written include:

Fabric Company

You will also see the company name of the fabric so that you know if it is a trusted brand or not. New brands also can be seen with quality fabric. But, you need to know the reviews before you pick the fabric.

Manufacturing Location

This information tells the manufacturing country of the fabric. Coming from a fabric-famous country, shows the authenticity of the material.

The other elements include fabric design, fabric line, fabric item number, fabric color, and total fabric on the bolt. You can click a picture of the label so that you do not forget the fabric type, width, and washing instructions when you buy a lot of variety for your sewing projects.

How Can You Tell How Much Fabric is on a Bolt?

From the discussion earlier, you have learned that there is a label at the end of the fabric bolt. It contains all the information including the manufacturer, dimensions, and washing instructions. If there is no label, you can check for a hangtag. The retailers that sell fabric on wooden dowels have these hang tags on them.

Now, to make sure that that the yardage is the same as the written information, you can measure it. Sometimes, there could be some missing material. So, you can estimate the yardage by counting the fabric layers. Fabrics that are thicker like cotton have 2 layers in one yard. Thin fabrics like silk and lace will make 3 layers approximately for a yard. This estimation method is only applicable on flat bolts and not on rolls.

A Fabric Bolt and a Fabric Roll are not the same!

You will see many people and sellers using the terms fabric bolts and fabric rolls interchangeably. They think they are the same, but there is a lot of difference.

Fabric bolts are flat cardboards that have fabric wrapped around them. These cardboards have a center core and the fabric is folded in half. The average fabric bolt contains 40 to 100 yards of fabric whereas the smaller bolts contain 5 to 50 yards. You can also estimate the yards by counting the number of layers.

On the other hand, fabric rolls contain fabric in full-width wrapped around the cardboard tube. You see these rolls in wholesale shops or large outlets. Usually, fabric rolls range from 50 to 200 yards or even more. Some rolls are so heavy that they require a forklift to transport them. It is also not easy to estimate the amount of fabric.

Most home sewing lovers purchase fabric rolls whereas the clothing markets and furnishing businesses go for fabric rolls that are shipped from the mills.

How much is a Bolt of Fabric?

The price of a bolt of fabric depends on the quality of the fabric, the size of the bolt, and manufacturing. For instance, a typical fabric bolt contains 15 yards of fabric that is 45 to 60 inches wide. The price would be around $80 to $100. This is not a fixed range as the price involves many parameters.


Now that you know the difference between fabric bolts and fabric yards, you know what you want. Fabrics have different widths depending on the type of material. This fabric bolt guide must have cleared a lot of your confusion.

For home sewing projects, you would get the material from fabric bolts but if you are planning for a wholesale business or a big company, then you will require fabric rolls. The upholstery projects will also need material from fabric rolls as the curtains, and bedding require more yardage.

Selecting the right dimensions and quality will help you get the perfect results for your required projects. Read the fabric bolt label information before buying to have a smooth shopping and sewing experience.

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