What is a bolt of fabric?
Simply put, it’s a roll of fabric.
A bolt is a unit of measurement used as an industry
standard for a variety of materials from wood to canvas, typically materials
stored in a roll. The length is usually either 40 or 100 yards, but varies
depending on the fabric being referred to, for example, a bolt of canvas
is traditionally 39 yards. You really would need to consult with the
fabric mill regarding the yardage on the bolt before you make your purchase.
A bolt is a commercial unit of length or area used
to measure finished cloth. One bolt typically (but NOT always) represents
a strip of cloth 100 yards (91.44 meters) long. The width varies according
to the fabric. Cotton bolts are traditionally 42 inches (1.067 meters)
wide and wool bolts are usually 60 inches (1.524 meters) wide (again this
is NOT “always" the case). The bolt of cotton fabric is generally 116.667
square yards (97.566 m2) and a bolt of wool is generally 166.667 square
yards (139.355 m2).
You should always check on the length and width of
the fabric bolt. Some fabric is made more narrow than other fabrics.
The width of the fabric will affect your
fabric utilization if you are planning to produce clothes based on a
The width of a bolt is usually 45 or 60 inches, but
widths may include 35–36", 39", 41", 44–45", 50", 52–54", 58–60" and 66",
72", 96", and 108". Keep in mind that some fabric has selvedge
on the edges of the fabric. This should be considering when planning
how much fabric is needed for garment production. A selvage (US English)
or selvedge (British English) is a self-finished edge of fabric. The selvages
keep the fabric from unraveling or fraying. The selvages are a result
of how the fabric is created. In woven fabric, selvages are the edges that
run parallel to the warp (the longitudinal threads that run the entire length
of the fabric), and are created by the weft thread looping back at the end
of each row. In knitted fabrics, selvages are the unfinished yet structurally
sound edges that were neither cast on nor bound off. Learn more about
fabric selvedge in the fabric definitions section. Note: raw denim
selvage is a bit different. You can learn about
denim selvage if you wish in our industry terms area.
You may also want to read the
fabric definitions in our glossary section.
Learn more about the
textile industry here on Apparel Search.
You may want to read our fashion blog post about
buying fabric by the yard, just in case you can't buy the entire