How Do We Calculate Fabric Consumption for Garments

Fabric consumption calculation

Fabric consumption means the length or weight of fabrics needed for making a single piece of garment (apparel product). You know that for making apparel items, either you use knitted fabrics or woven fabrics. Fabric consumptions are measured in two different units (UOM) for knits and for woven fabric. Fabric consumption of knits garment is calculated in Kgs and the consumption of woven garment is calculated in meters or in yards.

Calculate fabric consumption for woven garments

The following steps are taken to measure fabric consumption.

1. You need a garment size chart (as per the design specification). If the size chart is not available, factories measure the sample garment and get the measures required for making patterns. Using the size chart, garment patterns are made (manual paper pattern or CAD pattern).

2. After making patterns for all the garment components, the factory prepares a sample marker for checking the area of the fabric needed to make a single piece of garment. The fabric area is calculated considering the maximum utilization of fabric in widthwise.

3. Then the factory measures the length of the fabric needed to make one garment. If you know the area and fabric width, you can calculate the length of the fabric. The linear length of the fabric (in meters) is the fabric consumption. You know in the garment production order, the factory receives an order for multiple sizes (like Small, Medium, Large, Extra-large sizes, etc.). The sample marker is made of multiple garments of different sizes to calculate average consumption for all garment sizes. When multiple sizes are taken into consideration, it gives better accuracy in consumption estimation. Then divide the length of the marker length by the number of garments used in a marker and calculate the average length of fabric per garment.

Let’s say your sample marker is made using 3 garments patterns (3-way marker) and the marker length is 4.2 meters (including with end loss). Here fabric consumption would be 4/3 = 1.4 meters (this is before adding the fabric wastage).

There are few technical things that need to be considered for calculating optimum fabric consumption - deciding fabric width and utilizing maximum width, cutting wastage in end loss and end bits. Use multiple markers for bulk cutting to reduce end losses.

4. After getting the length of fabric, add cutting wastage percentage to calculate fabric consumption for fabric purchase. If you know fabric shrinkage is there, you need to add fabric shrinkage (percentage-wise) as well. Finally, you get fabric consumption in meters for woven products.

Next, you calculate fabric consumption for the whole order quantity of a single style. If you decided to cut extra garments against as order, consider purchasing extra fabric. Let’s say order quantity 500 garments and extra cutting to be done 10 pieces (2% extra).

Garment having more than one type of fabric in the same garment, calculate fabric requirement fabric wise considering specific patterns. Also note, during the marker preparation, you can decide the fabric width to be procured.

Calculating fabric consumption of knitted garments

For the knitted fabric, follow the same steps of making a sample marker to calculate the area of fabric needed for making one garment. When you measure the area (in marker) you must include the unutilized fabric area in the marker.

Once you get the fabric area for making one garment, measure it in square meters. Check the fabric GSM requirement in the techpack. Multiple the fabric area by fabric weight (GSM) and calculate fabric requirement per garment in grams. Then convert the fabric consumption per garment into Kg.
Let's say, fabric area for making a t-shirt is 1.2 square meters and fabric GSM is 210. Fabric consumption in Kg =(Area x GSM)/1000 
= (1.2 x210)/1000 =0.252 Kg

Next, add cutting waste, fabric shrinkage percentage to calculate fabric consumption for fabric purchase.

Read this post to know the fabric consumption calculation method for knitted garments.

Prasanta Sarkar

Prasanta Sarkar is a textile engineer and a postgraduate in fashion technology from NIFT, New Delhi, India. He has authored 6 books in the field of garment manufacturing technology, garment business setup, and industrial engineering. He loves writing how-to guide articles in the fashion industry niche. He has been working in the apparel manufacturing industry since 2006. He has visited garment factories in many countries and implemented process improvement projects in numerous garment units in different continents including Asia, Europe, and South Africa. He is the founder and editor of the Online Clothing Study Blog.

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