Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tips & Techniques - What Size Fabric Should I Get?

With so many stitchers buying patterns only, and not complete kits like was the norm of the past, I'm often asked for help in figuring out what size fabric they should get to go with their next project, so today I thought I'd try to tackle that question.

First, the count of the fabric is all a personal preference.  If you're purchasing Aida you can get 11, 14, 16, 18 or 22 count.  If you're going with a type of Evenweave or Linen you can go anywhere from a 20 to 40 count.  The count fabric you choose will depend on the size (dimensions) of the fabric you need to get.

And yes, I know there are many "fabric calculators" online that you can use, but what do you do if you're in a bind at the store and you're like me without a smart phone?  You have do to things the "old fashioned" way.

So here goes...

Basically you divide the number of stitches by the count of the fabric.  So for example, if you have a pattern that is 98w x 144h and you want to use an 18 count fabric instead of the 14 count the pattern suggests, you would divide like this:
98 / 18 = 5.4 inches
144 / 18 = 8 inches

Now you need to remember, the dimensions above would only be for the stitched area, and don't include any border that would be needed for finishing the piece.  You typically want to add 2-3 inches PER SIDE.  So your 5.5" x 8" fabric now becomes a minimum size of 9.5" x 12", with a 2 inch border.  If you want a bigger border you will need a bigger sized piece of fabric.

If you're using an evenweave or linen and stitching over 1 thread, you would use the same type calculation.  However, if you're stitching over 2 threads, you need to remember to "change" the count size.  Here's and example using a 32 count linen:
32 count fabric stitched over 1 thread
98 / 32 = 3.0 inches
144 / 32 = 4.5 inches

32 count fabric stitched over 2 threads
98 / 16 = 6.13 inches
144 / 16 =9 inches

I'm sure you can see it will make a big difference in choosing the right sized piece of fabric.

Hopefully you're not reading this post thinking it's "clear as mud" and it has helped at least one person that may have this question.

Happy fabric shopping!

P.S.  Our 50% off hand-dyed fabric sale is still going through September 30th.  Click here to see what is still available.

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