WHAT IS FABRIC WEIGHT? WHAT DOES FABRIC WEIGHT TELL?
GSM and OZ:
GSM is a metric measurement meaning grams per square metre- it is how much 1 square metre of fabric weighs and the higher the GSM number the denser the fabric will be. Ounce per square yard (oz/sq2) is the imperial measurement which is also commonly used. A lightweight fabric is typically between 30- 150 GSM, medium weight 150-350 GSM and heavyweight 350+ GSM, such as our clear window PVC (640 GSM), although this can vary depending on the type of fabric.
These fabrics generally fall into these categories:
Lightweight fabrics: chiffon, linen, organza, cheesecloth, lace, voile, mesh, habutai.
Medium weight fabrics: sateen, oxford, velvet, taffeta and charmeuse.
Heavy weight fabrics: upholstery fabric, canvas, brocade, poplin, denim and peau de soie.
How fabric weight affects application
The heavier the weight, generally the thicker the fabric will be, although bear in mind that the weight does not tell you how thick the fabric is. Fabrics with different fibres or weaves but with the same weight may not have the exact same thickness.
Choosing the right fabric:
Typical fabric weights and uses
- Lightweight fabrics are suitable for underwear and summer items such as dresses and shirts. A lightweight t-shirt fabric will be about 5.3 oz, a standard weight 5.5 oz and a heavier t-shirt 6-7 oz.
- Fabrics classed as ‘upholstery’ fabrics are heavyweight and are known to be stronger than other textile materials. They are suitable for cushion and furniture coverings and can be used for curtains but should not to be used for anything requiring intricate effects such as gathering because the fabric will be too thick and stiff. Thin curtain fabrics have a GSM of around 140. The heavier the material is, the denser it will be which means it will block out more light and insulate the room better.
- Wool is a luxurious warm fibre often used for tailoring. Three season wool is suitable for autumn/ winter and spring and weighs about 10- 12oz. For very cold countries you can get heavier winter wool which can weigh as heavy as 600 GSM. Wool can also be woven specially to make it into a much cooler, lighter fabric for hotter countries.