Monday, March 26, 2012

How to figure fabric repeat for the mathematically challenged!

Gate in charcoal from Dwell Studio Robert Allen

Math was never my strongest subject (not even close) so this is for any of my mathematically challenged designer and decorator friends and any home owner that is planning a drapery or curtain project to do themselves.

You've found the perfect fabric for your drapery panels but now you need to know how much to order. Use these handy instructions for figuring fabric that has a repeated pattern (don't worry if using stripes or plain fabric, that'll be the next blog post)

I keep these instructions handy, you never know when you might need to figure this stuff out! :)

1. Determine your cut length. (this is the finished length you want the drapery panel plus at least 12" for hemming top and bottom)
Cut length ______ divided by the repeat (take the vertical repeat that the fabric has) ______ = ______
2. Take the amount from Step 1 and round up the # of repeats. This is the number of repeats that will be in each cut ______
3. Multiply your new number ______ by the amount of the repeat ______ = ______ new cut length.
4. New cut length ______ x number of panels needed ______ = ______ total fabric in inches.
5. Add one additional repeat to the total fabric in inches. (this is needed because part of the first repeat will be wasted depending on where the pattern starts)
Total fabric in inches (from above) ______ + ______ one repeat = ______ your total fabric in inches.
6. Divide this number ______ by 36 = ______ the total number of yards.

Here's an example so you can see actual numbers and follow along with yours.

Example: Your finished length is 102" and you'll add 12" for hemming top and bottom (16" if you wish) The pattern repeat is 4.5" vertically and you want 1 width of fabric for each side of your window, so 2 panels in total.

Step 1: Your cut length is 114" divided by 4.5 = 25.33.... so round this up (step 2) to 26. You will need 26 repeats in your cut length. Take 26 and (step 3) multiply by 4.5 = 117" This is your new cut length. (step 4) 117" x 2 panels = 234" add 4.5" (step 5) = 238.5" divided by 36 (step 6) = 6.625 yards.... you can round this up to 6 3/4 or 7 yards.

Remember if you want 1 and 1/2 widths of fabric on each side of the window, this means 3 widths in total and you'll want to multiply (step 4) by 3 instead of 2.

I found the above information from Lydiablogg an eHow member on but can no longer locate the original source, the above is my version.

You could also use this handy calculator I found at Wesco Fabrics but sometimes you like to do your own calculations. My math teachers would be so proud I'm sure!


  1. Great information to have handy Heather. Thanks for posting.

    1. thanks Donna, it's a life line... I should have it memorized but it is handy!

  2. That was so helpful! I am bookmarking this so that I remember all of your great info.

    Love your blog - come visit me as well!