Friday, March 09, 2018

Let's Talk About Fabric Size.....

~ Greetings Friends and Fellow Stitchers ~ 
Warm welcome to you all, today we are going to discuss:

How to Calculate Fabric Sizes

This seems to be a big burning question for many stitchers...
I get e-mails about this 2-3 times per week and I see it asked often on stitching boards: 
"how much fabric do I need if I am going to stitch ______?!?!?!"

That's a loaded question people...
because what count fabric you are using and how you are going to stitch on it makes a whole lot of difference and it seems that some don't take that into consideration. What may be the size I cut my fabric may not be the size you should cut your fabric because of count of fabric could be different or we are stitching differently (over 1 thread versus over 2 threads).
So let's delve a little deeper into this...

Let's say for instance:
DESIGN SIZE: 100 w x 75 h
and I am using, FABRIC: 14 ct. Aida

The equation that we will *always* use is: 
STITCH count  divided by  FABRIC count = stitched size

you take *stitched size* and add 4 or 6 inches for margins (for finishing or framing)

Our example, then
100 w / 14 ct. =  7.14 inches 
I'm going to frame this so I am going to add: 6 inches (3 on each side of the stitching)
7.14 + 6 = 13.14 (let's just round it down to 13)
so now we know that: 13 inch is the width of our fabric

Now let's figure our height of fabric:
75 / 14 = 5.36
now we add 6 inches for framing: 
5.36 + 6 = 11.36 (let's just round up to 11.5 or 11 1/2)
so the height of our fabric is: 11 1/2 inches

we will cut our fabric: 13 x 11 1/2

FOR LINEN users it depends if you are stitching over 1 thread or over 2 threads, when you do your calculations. 
Let's use the same example, DESIGN SIZE: 100 w X 75 h

if we are stitching over TWO THREADS, on 28 ct. linen we would divide the linen count by 2:
28 / 2 = 14 ct. (thus we see we would have the same calculations as above)

if we are stitching over ONE THREAD, on 28 ct. linen that means we do nothing we calculate using the same equations as above:

100 / 28 = 3.57
now add our margins:
3.57 + 6 = 9.57 (let's round down: 9 1/2)

75/28 = 2.68
add margins:
2.68 + 6 = 8.68 (let's round up: 8 3/4)

so stitching over 1 we cut our fabric: 9 1/2 x 8 3/4

Clear as mud?
Well if you don't like math, I have a solution for you:
a FREE stitching calculator may be found: HERE
and the free calculator gives the option of adding the margins in, changing thread options and all of that. Just pay attention, fill in the appropriate holes with the correct information 
(*HINT* don't forget to change to over 1 thread or over 2 threads in that option)
and bingo bango out spits all the answers. 


May I suggest....
That we NOT be stingy with our stitching fabric, please. How many times (and I know we have all seen this) people cut too narrow margins and the stitching doesn't fit. How many times have I gotten a piece of linen with items that need to be finished into ornaments or smalls and cut apart and there is less than 1 inch (not kidding people!) BETWEEN the stitched items. My best advise:

Leave 4 inches between items when they need to be cut apart (if you are stitching on one large piece of linen - this mean top/bottom and left and right sides: 4 INCHES BETWEEN for finishing)
For framing, just add the 6 inches (3 on each side top/bottom and left and right sides)'ll be happy you did. 

Until Next Time...
when I will discuss how to set up a series to be stitched all on one piece of fabric, to determine fabric size...
because that appears to blow a lot of people's minds too. 

Stitch Happy,
Vonna xxxx


  1. Vonna, thanks for the information on fabric size. We had this discussion at the stitch retreat I just returned from. One of the stitchers couldn't believe how I was "wasting" fabric by leaving the margins I had left on my projects. So, thank you!

  2. Hi Vonna - just a huge “Thank You” to you for all the wonderful, valuable information you so willingly share to all of us stitchers. You are so generous to pass along so much knowledge and we are so lucky to benefit from your skills. I truly can’t thank you enough but everything I read from you is so helpful. Thank you only begins to express my appreciation for your generosity.

    Barb R.

  3. Vonna: You my Dear are one amazing lady, thank-you for the information and links.
    I am one who is not very smart when it comes to conversions of fabris.


  4. Thank for all that wonderful information Vonna. I do use a calculator but you gave us other information that is not as easily available.

  5. I was reading all you math and thinking “there’s an app for that!” It is really lazy, isn’t it? I usually buy plenty of fabric, but do you have any ideas for better finishing methods when you have an oops and don’t have enough fabric around all four sides?

  6. I'm GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY of being stingy. I didn't think I was. With the Farmhouse Christmas I wanted to stitch them all on one piece of fabric, then cut them apart at the end of the series and make smalls or ornaments. Since I was thinking of 3/4 inches on each side I allowed what I thought was a generous 2 inches in between-that would be 1 inch around each-1/4 inch more than I thought would be required sooooo I guess I'm being too stingy ? ? ? ? I do leave more for framed items. Back to the drawing board, I mean measuring board for me. Thankfully I haven't started pattern # 2 but on another SAL I've already stitched 3 with only 2 inches between. Can't wait for the next topic. Thanks

  7. Thank You for all the informations Vonna. Thay are very useful.

  8. Great post! I see that question all the time as well
    My favorite calculator online is the one from Yarn Tree. I even have it linked on my iPhone for quick reference.
    3" is my go-to for most things. I will do 2" if I have to but never lower.

  9. Another great topic that will help so many! Hugs!

  10. Vonna Just now finding the time to caught up on your blog. Thanks so much for being so generous with your time to share your knowledge. It is so helpful. Happy stitching!


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The Twisted Stitcher