Convert Fabric Measurements

Every quilter sometimes has to wrangle with a bit of math, and the most common calculation is to convert fabric measurements from one kind of unit into another. Often you are given a measurement in yards, but you need to know how that translates into inches.

Below are two handy charts that make that an easy task. I'm also explaining how these calculations are made in case you ever need to wrangle them yourself.

Convert Fabric Measurements

Yards to Inches

YARDSINCHES
1/84.5"
1/49"
1/312"
3/813.5"
1/218"
5/822.5"
2/324"
3/427"
7/831.5"

How to calculate yards to inches:

First, remember that 1 yard = 36 inches. To make the conversion, you must multiply the yardage fraction by 36.

To convert 1/8 yard to inches, here is what you would do:

First convert 36 to a fraction.  Since 36  is "1 whole number," that makes it 36/1 as a fraction. You then multiple 36/1 x 1/8.  Remember, you multiple the top numbers together and then multiply the bottom numbers together. This would give you 36/8, which equals 4.5."

Likewise, f you are multiplying 5/8 x 36/1, you would multiple 5 x 36 together to get the top number and 8 x 1 to get the bottom number.  This results in 180/8, which equals 22.5/"

Convert Fabric Measurements

Fractions to Decimals

FRACTIONDECIMALS
1/8.125
1/4.25
1/3.33
3/8.375
1/2.5
5/8.625
2/3.66
3/4.75
7/8.875

How to convert fractions to decimals:

You may remember learning in grade school that a fraction is just a fancy way to write a division problem.  The number on top is divided by the number on the bottom.

And that's all you do to make the conversion.  So, to convert 1/8 to a decimal, whip out your calculator and divide 1 by 8.  The result will be .125."