Ounces in Garments

Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa Mertes

Promo Expert

If you've ever shopped for custom t-shirts, hats, or cotton tote bags, you've probably seen a number in the item description followed by the abbreviation "oz". For example, "This durable bag is made from 6.1 oz. cotton canvas." But what does that actually mean?

No, Oz. doesn't mean your item came from a magical land where Munchkins frolic and sing. If you want to learn what Oz. really means when it comes to fabric, you're in the right place ... and you don't even have to follow a brick road to find your answers!

Will a 6.1 oz. cotton bag weigh 6.1 ounces?

Not likely. Here's the tricky thing about fabric weight: when people discuss it in terms of ounces, they're speaking a form of shorthand. We're going to break it down for you, right here!

Let's take that bag made from 6.1 oz. cotton. The manufacturer isn't referring to the weight of the entire bag, but rather how much a given amount of the cotton weighs. When manufacturers calculate fabric weight, they take a standard-sized piece of the material (often a square yard) and weigh that on a scale. A square yard of the cotton from the bag would weigh 6.1 ounces.

The proper unit for measuring fabric weight in this case isn't an ounce, but an ounce per square yard (oz/yd2). So why does it get shortened to ounce? Convenience, most likely. Or to give you another reason to go looking for answers on the marvelous Quality Logo Products website!

Is fabric weight measured only in ounces (or ounces per square yard)?

Ounces and yards are part of the Imperial system of measurement. Imperial units are used mostly in the United States, along with a couple of other countries.

The vast majority of the world's countries use the metric system of measurement. In the metric system, the common unit for measuring fabric weight is grams per square meter, or gsm.

Luckily, converting between the two systems is pretty easy. To determine the weight of your fabric in grams per square meter, multiply the weight in ounces per square yard by 33.906. You can also use a site with a fabric weight conversion calculator.

Is fabric weight the same thing as thread count?

Not quite. With thread count, instead of weighing the fabric, the manufacturers are telling you how many threads you will find in a swatch of fabric a square inch in size. As with fabric weight, the higher the number, the denser the fabric. Thread count, however, is generally used to determine how soft or how coarse a fabric will feel.

Is fabric weight the same as a fabric's drape?

Fabric weight and fabric drape are slightly different. Whereas fabric weight can tell you how heavy a fabric feels, drape will tell you how easily a fabric flows. It's true that lighter fabrics usually flow better (think silk), but that's not always the case; organza is a lightweight fabric that's considered to be pretty stiff. Unlike fabric weight, fabric drape won't get assigned a numerical value.

This is a lot of information about fabric. Can I just magically go elsewhere now?

Depends. Got ruby slippers you can click together, or a good witch who will point you in the right direction? I wonder what the fabric weight is of the chiffon that Glinda wears in the movie...

Now that you know all about fabric weight and the abbreviation Oz., you can browse our site and find the right fabric for your promotional needs. Whether you need a lightweight fabric item to fit your budget or a heavier, high-quality item to stand the test of time, the right product for you is just a click away!