inventory management

How to Track Fabric Inventory: A Guide for Makers

Discover how to manage your fabric inventory effortlessly with our comprehensive guide. Ideal for makers and craft enthusiasts, this blog post shares insightful tips on tracking, organizing, and maintaining fabric stocks.

For fabric product creators, keeping track of your fabric inventory is an absolute necessity. Without a proper system in place, it can be incredibly easy to misplace materials or miscalculate orders.

At its core, fabric inventory management is the process of tracking the materials you have on hand and ensuring you have enough to complete your orders. With a few simple steps, anyone can set up a successful tracking system.

In this guide, we will cover the basics of fabric inventory, materials that should to be tracked (and why!), methods of tracking inventory, common ways to measure out your fabric, and software that can help you manage inventory with ease.

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What is Fabric Inventory?

Fabric inventory refers to the materials you have on hand to complete orders. It covers everything from the raw fabric to the finished product, such as thread and zippers.

Why is it important to track your fabric inventory?

Keeping track of your inventory is essential to ensure that you always have enough materials on hand to fulfill orders, and it also prevents the waste of materials by avoiding over-ordering.

Having only half the zippers you need can stop production in its tracks - quite literally. Additionally, tracking your fabric inventory accurately and often can help you identify which products are selling well and which ones may need to be discontinued.

Common Fabric Materials That Need to Be Tracked

As mentioned earlier, fabric inventory is not just about your rolls of fabric - there are other materials that also need to be tracked alongside.

Here are the common materials that need to be tracked along with their standard unit of measurement:

  • Fabric rolls or bolts, often measured in yards or meters
  • Thread, typically accounted for by the spool or cone
  • Zippers, measured by individual units
  • Buttons, accounted for by individual units or sets, if they come in pairs
  • Interfacing and lining, usually measured in yards or meters
  • Trims and embellishments, tracked by length (yards/meters) or individual units, depending on the item
  • Labels and tags, counted by individual units or sets

Tracking and Measuring your fabric inventory

Each of your materials will differ in the way that you measure and track them. As an example, fabric is often measured in yards, while thread is measured by the spool or cone.

It’s important to understand how each material should be measured and tracked in order to maintain an accurate inventory count.

Some fabric materials will be difficult to measure accurately, such as lace or sequins. In these cases, it may be helpful to weigh the materials or use an estimating method based on previous usage.

Fabric Units of Measure

When tracking fabric inventory, it’s important to understand the units of measure for fabric. The two main units of measure for fabric are yards and meters.

A yard is a unit of measurement commonly used in the United States, while the meter is used in most other countries. Knowing the units of measure for your fabric is essential to ensure you’re ordering the correct amount.

You should also be aware of any specialty measurements that your fabric supplier may use and understand the conversions required if any to translate these amounts into your own tracking units for manufacturing.

How to measure fabric

  1. Lay the fabric out flat
  2. Measure the width (selvage to selvage)
  3. Measure the length (cut edge to cut edge)

Calculating Fabric Yardage

Once you’ve measured the length and width of your fabric, the next step is to calculate the total yardage. This can be accomplished with a simple formula:

Convert the width and length measurements from inches to yards (since 1 yard = 36 inches) Multiply the converted width and length measurements to find the total square yardage of your fabric.

Here’s a step-by-step procedure:

  1. Convert your measurements to yards. If you’ve measured in inches, divide your measurements by 36 (since there are 36 inches in a yard). For example, if your fabric measures 90 inches in length, you would have 2.5 yards (90 ÷ 36 = 2.5).
  2. Once both measurements are converted to yards, multiply them together to find the total square yardage. For instance, if your piece is 2.5 yards long and 1 yard wide, you’d have a total of 2.5 square yards (2.5 x 1 = 2.5).

By following these steps, you can effortlessly calculate the yardage of your fabric, ensuring better management of your fabric inventory.

Methods of Tracking Fabric Inventory

There are several methods of tracking inventory, from manual spreadsheets to specialized software. The most common methods include using an Excel spreadsheet, pen and paper, and apps designed specifically for inventory management. Each method has advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to choose the one that works best for your business.

Excel spreadsheets for tracking your fabric inventory

Excel spreadsheets are an accessible and cost-effective option for tracking fabric inventory. With Excel, you can create a customizable spreadsheet to log and monitor your stock levels. However, this method requires manual data entry and updating, which can be time-consuming and for fabric businesses looking to grow it can quickly become unwieldy.

Download our free fabric inventory spreadsheet to start tracking your fabric materials and finished products.

Software to help track your fabric inventory

Several software options can help make fabric inventory tracking more manageable. These software options range from free apps for small businesses on a tight budget to specialized software designed for large enterprises.

Craftybase is a leading apparel manufacturing software that is specifically designed for small DTC makers. It’s an all-in-one solution that empowers you to effectively manage your fabric inventory, track costs, and monitor your business growth.

Craftybase allows you to keep track of your raw materials, work in progress, and finished products in real time. It also enables you to generate detailed reports that provide key insights into your sales and inventory trends.

From tracking materials like fabric, thread, zippers, and buttons, to calculating yardage and costs, Craftybase has got you covered.

Take control of your fabric inventory with Craftybase now! Take our free 14 day trial to see how we can help your fabric business to grow.

Tracking fabric inventory can seem like a daunting task, but with a few simple steps, it’s achievable for any fabric product creator. Understanding the basics of fabric inventory, the materials that need to be tracked, and the units of measurement are essential components of fabric inventory management.

By choosing the right method for tracking your inventory, whether that be an Excel spreadsheet or specialized software, you can ensure that you’re never left without the materials you need. With these tools in hand, you can focus on creating beautiful fabric products without worrying about inventory management.

Nicole Pascoe Nicole Pascoe - Profile

Written by Nicole Pascoe

Nicole is the co-founder of Craftybase, inventory and manufacturing software designed for small manufacturers. She has been working with, and writing articles for, small manufacturing businesses for the last 12 years. Her passion is to help makers to become more successful with their online endeavors by empowering them with the knowledge they need to take their business to the next level.