How Many Meters of Thread Does It Take to Make a Shirt?

Thread needed to make a shirt

Thread requirement per shirt depends on the size (i.e. Small, Medium, Large) of the shirt and shirt design. Sewing threads are used to prepare the shirt components, and then stitch the shirt components together and hem the bottom. For preparing a woven shirt components and assembling those components to make a shirt different amounts of thread are needed.

Some sources provide thread requirements for a shirt between 100 meters to 300 meters covering different sizes and shirt patterns. For an average-size (Medium size / 40 size) shirt you need around 130 meters of sewing thread.

If you like to calculate the sewing thread requirement for your shirt designs, you can use our thread consumption guide and template.

Factors affect thread consumption

Although you have a reference of how many meters of threads are needed to make one shirt, you should be aware that the thread requirement will vary depending on various factors. Here I have shared major factors that affect thread consumption. 

1. Shirt Design and Styling:

Shirts are available in casual styling and formal style. Like, half-sleeved shirts and full-sleeve shirts. A full-sleeve shirt normally takes more threads compared to a half-sleeve shirt. Shirt designs come with different placket designs. Making the placket with a 4-needle chain stitch machine will consume more threads than finishing the placket with a single-needle lock stitch machine and two stitching lines. Stitch density is part of product design and stitching quality. If you increase the stitch density, it will take more threads. 

2. Use of stitching machines types and technology :

The average thread consumption of a shirt also depends on the use of sewing machines to make a shirt. One can make the whole shirt by using only a single needle lockstitch machine. In industrial production 6-7 different types of sewing machines are used. For example, side seam joining and finishing are in different methods depending on the machine's availability. One can use feed off the arm machine. Alternatively, one can use a 5-thread overlock machine for the side seam.

3. Size of the Shirt:

Shirts come in different sizes for different human body sizes. Like Extra small size, Small, Medium, Large, Extra Large, etc. For each size the length of the stitching for various components is different. Without going to that much variation, shirt manufacturers measure average thread consumption considering a size that falls in the middle among the size array.

Also, the average thread consumption per shirt would vary depending on the product volume. And minimum thread purchase volume. Ignore the mass production or one single shot making.

Related articles:

Shirt manufacturing process

Sewing Thread Consumption for a T-Shirt

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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