One of the most frequent questions I get asked is “How much fabric do I need for X project?” Well, to be perfectly honest most of the time I can’t answer that. Here’s why.
Everyone has a unique shape and body size. A costume that fits me may not fit you, so even if I say that it took me 7 yards of fabric to make my Krul cosplay you may need less/more than that amount. Also, the amount of fabric required varies based on the width of the fabric itself. Most fabrics range from 42-60 inches wide, which is a considerable difference. (In addition, I’m American so I’m used to thinking in yards not meters).
Commercial patterns take this discrepancy into account, so they are a great place to start. You don’t need to find a pattern that is the exact item, just similar. Read the size guideline on the back of the pattern envelope and use that to estimate the amount of fabric needed. If you are still uncertain you can get a little extra material as a precaution. It is often better to have too much than too little fabric.
If you still want suggestions a good rule of thumb is that you can make just about any ONE garment out of three yards of material. Three yards should give you enough to make a dress OR a pair of pants, but is not a guarantee.
I know this isn’t the response everyone wants to hear, but I get this question frequently enough that I wanted to address it. I hope you found this article informative, let me know in the comments below if there is another cosplay topic you would like me to discuss!