How Can We Calculate Fabric Consumption without Mini Maker from CAD or any Pattern?

This question is received from an OCS reader. "How can we calculate fabric consumption without any mini maker from CAD or any pattern? I have only a garment sample to take a reference. The fabric is woven cotton or polyester, it is not a knit fabric and don’t know the fabric GSM". 

Yes, you can calculate fabric consumption for woven garments without paper patterns or CAD marker. But I would suggest readers use paper patterns and prepare marker for estimating fabric consumption if you don’t own a CAD system. You know, the fabric is a costly item in garment making and if you buy excess fabric due to incorrect fabric consumption, it would be a loss in your order.

First method

You can estimate fabric consumption by using formula. Using the formula calculate total fabric area required making the garment. To do so, first measure all the parts of your reference garment - by length and width. In another article we have discussed how to calculate area of garment components.

Formula for calculating total area for all parts = Sum of (component Length x component Width) for all components.

(Don’t forget to add seam allowance in your measurements as needed depending on the seam location)

For woven fabric consumption, you need to know the fabric width.

Fabric consumption in length = (Total area required to cover all components / Fabric width).

Note: When doing the calculation of area and measuring the fabric length you must use the same unit of measure. Like, if you measure fabric in square meter then measure the fabric width in meters. Normally fabric width is marked on the label in inches.

Remember: The estimated consumption may vary from the actual consumption. 
Using block for each garment patterns. Take your sample garment and measure the length and width of all garment parts. You will get square blocks for all garment components. Instead of making patterns, use those blocks for estimating fabric consumption. In your blocks, add seam allowances on each side.

You need to know the fabric width (cut-able width) that you will buy and use for making your garment.

Mark two lines on a flat table place following the fabric width and then place the garment components' blocks lengthwise by covering the maximum possible width.

You mentioned you will be using woven fabric. Now measure the length covered by your pattern blocks. This will be your fabric consumption for the given garment in linear length. Further, add a waste percentage to cover the cut waste as end loss and end bits. By using blocks in place of pattern, you will lose fabric as wastage. The reason, by using the real pattern, by placing a marker in opposite direction and filling the gaps for small parts you can increase marker efficiency.

Remember, by using square blocks instead of real patterns, your consumption may go much higher than actual fabric consumption.

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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