Gsm or gm/2
Is it as simple as how much one metre of fabric weighs? And why does it matter?
Quite often, you'll see a weight of fabric measured in gsm or gm/2. This represents "grams per square metre". You may also see oz/sq2 which means ounce per square yard. As fabric comes in different widths, it would become complicated to visualise how much a fabric would weigh and look. Whereby measuring in metre squares, you have a general idea of a standard size of fabric, in which to compare weights.
There are lots of things to consider when buying a fabric, especially when buying online. The fabric weight gives a good idea as to what applications the fabric may be suitable for.
This is a general guide as to what kind of fabrics fall into which weights. Though not a definitive guide, it gives a good idea to sewers what fabrics may be like.
|Lightweight:||0gsm - 150gsm||
Fabrics under 80gsm can generally be quite sheer.
Blouses, Shirts, Summer Dresses
|Mediumweight:||150gsm - 270gsm||Linen, Cotton Drill, Lyocell Twill, Jersey, Interlock, French Terry||Structured dresses, Suit Jackets, Trousers, Skirts, Sweatshirts|
|Heavyweight:||270gsm upwards||Denim, Wool, Canvas, Upholstery||Jeans, Workwear, Utilitywear, Coats, Jackets, Bags, Curtains, Furnishing Covers|
Bear in mind that you can also get linens or denims that are more lightweight than the standard, and this is a very basic guide!
Naturally it's fair to assume that this would mean the heavier the fabric, the thicker the fabric will be, due to the weight created by the density of the fabric. There are of course exceptions to this, for example, a cotton double gauze weighs in around 125gsm, making it a lightweight fabric. Though lightweight, the fabric is bulkier than a heavier cotton poplin, as the construction of double gauze fabric is an open weave, with two layers of fabric, creating more air pockets within its gaps.
In terms of drapery and opacity, one can look into the weave of the fabric, and the yarn construction. As these can get very technical, it is often quite difficult to find this information from the suppliers. So the more you feel and touch fabric, the more you'll experience and be able to have an understanding without all the technical jargon! For example, many sewers may already know that Viscose and Modal fabrics have a more fluid drape than that of cottons and linens.
But not to fear if you're just starting out. As your experience in sewing grows, you'll become more comfortable with recognising fabric properties. Though even so, there are now so many blends and mechanical and chemical finishes added to fabrics, it is always best to feel and see the fabric first before you commit to buying it for your project. Most fabric shops will offer some sort of Samples Service so you can get a little feel of the fabrics first.
At A KIND CLOTH, we offer a Samples Service of up to 5 fabrics for only £1.95 (which includes free 1st Class P&P). You can choose any fabric that is in stock (up to 5) for which you will receive 7cm x 7cm square swatches. You can find this service here at: https://akindcloth.co.uk/products/samples-service
As always, if you aren't sure whether the fabric will be suitable for your project, do contact the shops, and we'll do our best to help you. Here at A KIND CLOTH, you can email: email@example.com to drop us a line.