Fabric Weight: Deciphered!

120 GSM, slub, twill, all this fabric lingo is on par with Enigma code...

When browsing our site, you probably have a project already in mind. But what in tarnation is the most suitable fabric?!

First things first, the acronym GSM is short for "(G)ram(S) per square (M)eter". It is the most commonly used measurement for fabric weight, however "Ounce per Square Yard" is a close second, for those of you who prefer the imperial system.

Now, the vast majority of the fabric we stock is a 100% quilting weight cotton 150-160gsm but we also stock cotton linen mix fabrics. Cotton is of course made from the fluffy cotton plant. Linen, on the other hand, is made from flax stems. If you can't get your head around this like me, check out Victoria & Albert Museum's take on it below!


So other than the plant, what differences can be noticed?

We couldn't put it any better than Montaukstyle,

"Thread count refers to the number of horizontal and vertical threads per square inch. Pure linen thread is naturally thicker than cotton so by comparison has a lower thread count. Average pure linen fabric will have a thread count of between 80-180. Because cotton yarn is finer, cotton fabric only starts at about 200."

You may already be thinking it, but to confirm: yes, linen is resultantly much more durable.

Check out the comparison of 100% cotton to 100% linen below:



Because of the strength of individual linen fibres, linen pieces will not lose their shape as easily as cottons. Another fun fact, is that linens absorb water without the feeling of dampness on your skin. Pretty nifty, right?

Not to worry, depending on how they're woven, cottons can be very strong too. A great example is "slub" available in our Premier Prints range. This fabric has a lower thread count but thicker thread than standard cottons. The thread is looser, knobbled and knotted, creating a more organic look. Perfect for country style curtains!



Premier Prints also offer twill variations of their fabric. It has a higher thread count than slub but again, individual threads are more imperfect creating a thick overall look. What adds to its strength, is that its weaved in diagonal parallel ribs, as pictured below:



So, in terms of designers, what's what? Here's a low down:


Standard Quilting Weight

(including Alexander Henry & Michael Miller)



approx 160gsm

100% cotton





Andover Tiger Range

190gsm or 5.6oz/yd²

55% Linen, 45% Cotton







Premier Prints (Slub)

200gsm/7oz slub

100% cotton




Premier Prints (Twill)

200gsm/7oz twill

100% cotton










7.9 oz./yd²

85% Cotton, 15% Linen (Gauze)



So really, the devil is in the [weaving]. We hope this clarifies a thing or two and makes your browsing that much easier!

Until next time

-Fabric Yard


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