How Much Fabric Do I Need?



One of the most often asked questions is “How much fabric do I need?”

The answer is “It depends.”

It depends on the block size.  It depends on the size of the project.  It depends on the width of your fabric.  It depends on if you are using the same fabric throughout or if it will be different from block to block.  And so on…

While there is no definitive way to take into account everything that is unique to a particular project, below are some guidelines for calculating yardage.


First, you need to decide your project size and the block size. Then you can calculate the total number of blocks needed.




Second, to calculate the amount of fabric needed, you will also need to know the unfinished size of your block and the width of your fabric in addition to the total number of blocks.  (This calculation, of course, assumes you are using the same fabric throughout.  If you are using more than one fabric you will need to adjust accordingly.)



Now, some examples…

Example 1: This example calculates the background fabric for a Lapsize (50”x65”) quilt using 5×5 blocks.


Calc 3 Wedding Ring

Example 2: This example calculates the background  (132 cm x 173 cm) Sweet Pea Wedding Ring Quilt using 13×13 cm finished blocks.

Calc 4 Wedding Ring cm

Example 3:  You can also use these calculations to determine how much fabric is needed for sashing or appliqué features that are repeated in each block.  This example shows the calculations needed for the ring fabric in the 5×5 lap size quilt in Example 1. Since you need 2 rings per block and there are 130 blocks in the quilt, yardage needs to be calculate for 260 units.

click here to Calculate Yardage


That’s it!  This should help you better estimate the amount of fabric that you need for your next Sweet Pea project.


Finished Block Size:  size of your block after it is sewn into your project.  This is usually listed in Sweet Pea’s descriptions (i.e. 4×4, 5×5, 5×7, 9×12, etc.)

Unfinished Block Size:  size of fabric or size of an appliquéd feature needed while embroidering.  This is listed under Fabric Requirements in your Sweet Pea instructions/PDFs.

Width of Fabric:  width of fabric is measured from salvage to salvage if using yardage.  (If using pre cuts, then measure one side of the pre cut.)



  1. I’m a new quilter, and I’m sooooo grateful for this information! Thank you! Although it’s still a bit double-Dutch to me, I know it will be vital to keep it on hand.

Leave a Reply