A tool to calculate fabric use

Awhile back, a new iPhone application was created to help people figure out yardage conversion. Say, if you had the fabric yield for a garment for 45″ wide fabric and wanted to know the yield for 60″ goods. I didn’t tell you about it. On purpose. I was holding out for something better and contacted the developer. That new and better application -called Fabric Calc– is ready to go. This utility will be invaluable whenever or however you’re sourcing (but especially at fabric shows), costing across the board and even being able to give quotes on the fly. This will be useful for anyone who deals with fabric and product costs, from designers and pattern makers to marker makers and production sewing rooms. There are four parts to the Fabric Calc application:

  1. Yardage width conversion, fabric width options are 33″-66″
  2. Compare costs to determine which fabric is the better buy.
  3. Calculates the allocation needed for a quantity of production units which includes number of yards to buy and the total fabric cost for the lot.
  4. Metric conversion: converts yards to meters and vice versa.

Here are some details on how each feature works.

yardage_width_conversionYardage width conversion
This first module can be used to do a straight yardage width conversion. Use this when you have the allocation for a given fabric width and want to know what it would be in another width -very useful at trade shows. Let’s say the allocation for a production run of your widget is 40 yards of 47″ fabric and you want to know how much fabric to buy if you find fabric that is 54″.

  • Move the scroll wheel on the left (A) to match the width of fabric (47″) for which you know the allocation.
  • Move scroll wheel B to match the allocation, namely 40 yards for our example.
  • Move scroll wheel C to match the new fabric width you’re considering buying (54″).

The answer is shown in D. You would need only 34.8 yards of the wider fabric rather than 40. You can also click on the answer (D) to toggle between a decimal or a fractional number, which will round up to the nearest 1/8 yard.

Yardage pricing comparison
The second portion is yardage pricing comparison by width. This will be extremely useful in purchasing or even on the fly at a fabric show. Let’s say you have the choice of two different fabrics you like and could go with either one but want to know the better value between the two.

  • Input the width of fabric 1 and its price.
  • Enter fabric 2 and its price.
  • Click “compare”.

The better value (view B) will be indicated with a check mark.

yardage_pricing_a yardage_pricing_b

Allocation/Yield and costing
The third function of the application aids in allocation and costing.

  • Enter the yield or allocation for one unit of production (“per unit usage”). The example shows 2 3/8 yds.
  • Enter how many units you want to cut for the order, our example shows we want to make 30 of them.
  • The quantity of needed yards will display below (A).
  • In the box labeled B, add the cost per yard of fabric.
  • The total fabric cost for this cut order will display in the box labeled C.

allocation_costingIf you can’t do these figures in your head, you can use a spreadsheet or a calculator to figure these things  out if you happen to be in front of your computer or have a calculator handy. But what if you’re talking to a vendor at a fabric show and are doing well enough trying to juggle a notebook and pen? Or, you’re meeting with a buyer in a hallway or something? Again, you may have a calculator with you but the calculator doesn’t put it all together for you so neatly.

I think this is a neat tool if you have an iPhone. If you don’t, well, I can’t be objective. I’m not one given to be fond of objects but I love my iphone.

The price for the application is $14.99 which I think is a great value. There are more details and purchase information on the site. You have to admit that having a tool like this handy when you’re sourcing at a show is pretty impressive considering how suppliers are technological laggards.

Disclosure: Yes, I had a hand in suggesting features for the application and for which I got a free app. No I don’t make any money on it. Please tell all your friends about it. People always complain there isn’t this or that such thing they need and when there is, nobody buys it and then people (like I said) complain about it. All told, it’s a nifty tool to have handy. I get a lot of oohs and aahs on the rare occasions I go to the fabric store.

This entry is the follow up to my premature announcement back in December.

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