What is fabric cost and consumption in garment making?

Question: I am doing a course in Apparel merchandising. I have no idea about fabric cost and consumption for garment making. Can you please explain to me about these terms? 

OCS's Answer:
Fabric cost and fabric consumption are interrelated. Fabric cost is defined as the amount of money is incurred per garment for the fabric consumed in making a garment.

Fabric consumption is defined as an average meter(s) (or Kgs for knits) of fabric required to make the garment. Generally, fabric consumption is calculated using the following steps -
  1. Pattern master develops patterns for the garment with seam margin.
  2. Garment patterns are then placed on the fabric laid flat on the table as close as possible to each other.
  3. The linear length of fabric that is covered by the patterns is measured (for woven fabric). This measured length is the consumption of the garment. Wastage percentage is added on it to get average consumption.
If there is large uncovered space with the measured length then double marker is used instead of single marker to maximize accuracy of garment consumption. Now-a-days most of the garment manufacturers use CAD systems to determine fabric consumption.

For basic products such as Tee shirt, fabric consumption can be estimated from the garment specification (measurement sheet). Read earlier post "How to measure fabric consumption of knitted garment?" to know details about calculation procedure.

To determine fabric cost for the garment, first fabric consumption is calculated as above. Secondly, the merchant collects fabric quotes (prices) from fabric suppliers. For woven fabric - fabric price is presented per meter and for knits, price is presented per Kg. Once you have a fabric price list and average fabric consumption use following formula to determine fabric cost per garment.
Fabric cost per garment = Fabric consumption X Fabric price

To know more how merchants calculate fabric and other material cost read our earlier article "How to calculate the raw material cost for a garment?"

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