What is Fabric Weight and Why Does it Matter?

As a screen printer or a new clothing brand, choosing the right fabric for your project is crucial. One of the factors you'll need to consider is fabric weight. But what exactly does it mean, and why is it important? In this beginner's guide, we'll introduce you to the basics of fabric weight and how it can impact your screen printing and clothing brand.

What is Fabric Weight?

Fabric weight refers to the weight of a piece of fabric, usually measured in ounces per square yard (oz/yd²) or grams per square meter (g/m²). It is a measure of how it holds up during screen printing and how the final product looks and feels.

Why Does Fabric Weight Matter for Screen Printers and Clothing Brands?

Fabric weight can impact your branding process and the final product in a few ways. A heavier fabric can take more ink without bleeding or showing through to the other side, while a lighter fabric may not be able to handle certain types of prints or embroidery the same way. 

Additionally, the fabric weight can affect how the final product looks and feels. A heavier fabric can give a more substantial and durable feel to the garment, while a lighter fabric can give a softer and more comfortable feel. Fabric weight can also impact how the garment drapes and hangs on the body.

ASColourSSweatshopChami_23Photographed by David Chami at SSWEATSHOP

How is Fabric Weight Measured?

Fabric weight is usually measured in ounces per square yard (oz/yd²) or grams per square meter (g/m² or GSM). To measure fabric weight, a small piece of fabric is cut from the roll and weighed. This weight is then divided by the area of the fabric to get the weight per unit of area.

Different Fabric Weight Categories

Fabrics can generally be categorised into three weight categories: lightweight, medium weight, and heavyweight. Here are some common fabrics in each of our categories:


4.4 oz/yd² or 150 gsm and below: silk, linen, tri-blend, polyester, baby rib & nylon.


5.3 oz/yd² or 180 gsm: ringspun cotton, chambray, 50/50 blends & twill.


6.5 oz/yd² or 220 gsm and above: cotton, canvas/duck canvas, twill, cotton flannel, sweatshirt fleece, wool & french terry.

Our Product Fabric Weight

To help you choose the right fabric weight for your screen printing project or clothing brand, you can refer to a fabric weight chart. This chart lists the different weight categories and gives examples of common fabrics in each category. Keep in mind that the fabric weight is just one factor to consider when choosing a fabric. You'll also need to consider the type of customer and what they are using their apparel for.


Choosing the right fabric weight can make a big difference in the success of your screen printing project or clothing brand. With this beginner's guide, you'll be able to choose the perfect fabric weight for your next project!

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