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What Do GSM Numbers Mean For Fabric?

GSM stands for grams per square meter and is a metric used to measure the density of the fabric. The higher the GSM number, the denser the fabric. Fabric with a high GSM is typically heavier and more durable, while fabric with a low GSM is usually lighter and more delicate.

For instance, a linen shirt with a label of 180-200 GSM would be made of thick material that would keep the wearer warm. When choosing a shirt for warmer days, go for one that is 100-150 GSM. This type of shirt is airy and flimsy, making it the ideal choice for hot weather. This rule applies to all types of towels, upholstery linen and clothing, from winter to summer wear. Therefore, when considering the value of a fabric's GSM, think about what the fabric will be used for.

Why Do You Need To Measure Fabric Weight?

There are a few reasons why you might need to measure the weight of a fabric. For one, you may need to know how much fabric to order for a project. Additionally, the weight of the fabric can affect how the finished product hangs or drapes. Knowing the weight of the fabric can help you make sure that your project turns out exactly as you envision it.

To explain this better, here is a breakdown of fabric GSM:

  • Lightweight Fabrics: Chiffon, Linen, Organza, Cheesecloth, Lace Voile, and Mesh 

  • Medium Weight Fabrics: Face Towels, Hand Towels, Bath Towels, Pool Towels, Sateen, Oxford, Velvet, Taffeta, and Charmeuse.

  • Heavy Weight Fabrics: Face Towels, Hand Towels, Bath Towels, Pool Towels, Upholstery Fabric, Canvas, Brocade, Poplin, and Denim.

Lightweight Fabrics are mostly used in the manufacturing of summer clothes and underwear, while heavy-weight, dense materials are popularly used for upholstery and furnishing. 

GSM For Different Types of Fabric

Below is a handy guide to fabric GSM to give you a better idea of the meaning behind those numbers and how to properly use them.

50-100 GSM

  • Type of Fabric: Gauze, Lawn, Voile, Batiste, Chiffon, and Charmeuse

  • What To Make: Lined Dresses, Lined Skirts, Floaty Blouses

100-170 GSM

  • Type of Fabric: Rayon Challis, Quilting Weight Cotton, Double Gauze, Ikat, Shirtings, Chambray, Silk Noil

  • What To Make: Dresses, Skirts, Polos, Blouses, Shirts and more. This is the standard dress-making fabric. 

170-230 GSM 

  • Type of Fabric: Tencil Twill, Cotton/Spandex Knit, Linen and Linen Blends, Barkcloth, Stretch Sateen

  • What To Make: Pants, Lightweight Jackets, Structured Dresses and Skirts

230-340 GSM

  • Type of Fabric: Stretch Denim, Canvas, Sweatshirt fleece, Heavy Linen, Ponte Knit

  • What To Make: Pants, Stretch Jeans, Fall Jackets, Sweaters and Bags.

340-450 GSM 

  • Type of Fabric: Rigid Denim, Canvas, and Wool Coating

  • What To Make: Non-stretch Jeans, Coats and Upholstery


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