What Is gsm In Fabric - Ice Fabrics

Fabric weight is a crucial factor in the textile industry and plays a significant role in determining the suitability of fabric for various uses. Whether you’re a fashion designer, a hobbyist, or someone simply looking to understand fabric better, knowing about fabric weight can greatly influence your choice of material. Fabric weight impacts the drape, durability, and overall feel of the material, making it an essential consideration in both garment creation and fabric selection. One of the most common ways to measure fabric weight is through GSM, or grams per square meter.

Here we will provide complete details on what GSM is, how it impacts fabric characteristics, and how to measure and choose the appropriate fabric weight for your projects.

What Does GSM Stand For?

GSM stands for grams per square meter. It is the metric measurement used to denote the weight of a fabric, giving a clear idea of the fabric's density and thickness. Understanding GSM is essential for making informed decisions about fabric selection, as it directly influences the material's characteristics and suitability for different applications.

The weight of a fabric is not just about how heavy it feels but also about its structure and durability. For instance, denim jeans are made from a high GSM fabric, which is why they are thick and long-lasting. In contrast, a lightweight fabric like linen requires more delicate handling. GSM provides a standardized way to compare different fabrics and choose the right one based on the intended use, ensuring the material meets the necessary requirements for the project.

What to Consider When Choosing a Weight

Selecting the right fabric weight involves considering several factors that can influence the final outcome of your project. Here are some key considerations:

Weather Conditions

The weather plays a significant role in fabric selection. Lightweight fabrics, ranging from 1 GSM to 150 GSM, are ideal for summer clothing as they are breathable and comfortable. These fabrics are often used for making dresses, t-shirts, and underwear. On the other hand, medium-weight fabrics (150 GSM to 350 GSM) are more versatile and can be used for trousers, shirts, and home furnishings. Heavyweight fabrics (350 GSM and above) provide excellent insulation and are suitable for coats, jackets, and upholstery, making them ideal for colder climates.


The comfort of a fabric is closely tied to its weight. Heavier fabrics, like denim, are more durable but can be less comfortable due to their stiffness and density. Lightweight fabrics offer a softer and more flexible feel, making them perfect for garments that require more movement and comfort. However, heavier fabrics are often chosen for their durability and ability to maintain their shape over time, even if they are less comfortable to wear.


The weight of a fabric can also affect the aesthetics of a garment. Lightweight fabrics create a flowy and breezy look, suitable for summer dresses and delicate blouses. Medium-weight fabrics provide a balance between structure and flexibility, ideal for garments that require both durability and style, such as trousers and jackets. Heavyweight fabrics offer a sturdy and robust appearance, making them perfect for outerwear and upholstery that need to maintain their form and provide long-lasting wear.


What is GSM in Fabric?

GSM, or grams per square meter, is a standard unit of measurement for fabric weight, indicating how much a square meter of fabric weighs. This measurement helps determine the density and thickness of the fabric, which in turn affects its suitability for various applications.




50-100 1.47-2.95 gauze, lawn, voile, batiste,
chiffon, charmeuse
Lined dresses and skirts, floaty
100-170 2.95-5.01 rayon challis, quilting
weight cotton, double
gauze, ikat, shirtings,
chambray, silk noil
Dresses, skirts, blouses, shirts,
and more. This is your standard
dress-making fabric.
170-230 5.01-6.78 tencel twill, cotton/spandex
knit, linen and linen blends,
barkcloth, stretch sateen
Pants, lightweight jackets,
structured dresses and skirts
230-340 6.78-10.03 stretch denim, canvas,
sweatshirt fleece, heavy
linen, ponte knit
Pants, stretch jeans, fall jackets,
sweaters, bags
340-450 10.03-13.27 rigid denim, canvas, wool
Non-stretch jeans, coats,


Lightweight Fabrics (1-150 GSM)

Lightweight fabrics are thin and often used for summer clothing and items that require a soft drape. Examples include organza, chiffon, lace, and linen. These fabrics are breathable and comfortable but may require additional care and backing for structure.

Medium-Weight Fabrics (150-350 GSM)

Medium-weight fabrics offer a balance between lightness and durability. Examples include velvet, sateen, polyester, and nylon. These fabrics are versatile and can be used for a wide range of garments and home furnishings, providing a good combination of comfort and structure.

Heavyweight Fabrics (350 GSM and Above)

Heavyweight fabrics are thick and durable, often used for items that need to withstand wear and tear. Examples include canvas, suede, wool, poplin, and denim. These fabrics are ideal for outerwear, upholstery, and other applications where strength and durability are crucial.


How to Check a Fabric Weight?

Determining the weight of a fabric is a straightforward process, and knowing how to do it can help you make better-informed decisions when selecting materials for your projects. Here are some steps to check fabric weight:

Measuring GSM

To measure the GSM of a fabric, you need to cut a small, rectangular piece from the fabric. Use a ruler to ensure the lines are straight and measure the width and length to calculate the surface area. Weigh the rectangle using a precision digital scale and note the weight in grams. The formula to calculate GSM is:

GSM=   Weight in grams


              Area in square meters​ 


This calculation gives you the fabric's weight per square meter, allowing you to categorize it as lightweight, medium-weight, or heavyweight.

Comparing Fabric Qualities

If you are unable to measure the fabric's weight, you can often determine its category by comparing its qualities to known examples. For instance, lightweight fabrics are typically sheer and soft, while medium-weight fabrics offer more structure and thickness. Heavyweight fabrics are dense and robust, providing significant durability.

Checking Labels and Product Information

When purchasing fabric, the GSM is usually displayed on the website or in-store labels. This information can help you quickly determine whether the fabric meets your needs without having to measure it yourself. Additionally, understanding the typical GSM ranges for different fabric types can guide you in making the right choice.


Typical Weights & Uses – What is GSM in Fabric?

Understanding the typical weights and uses of different fabrics can help you visualize how GSM impacts their application. Here are some common examples:

Light Weight (1-150 GSM)

Lightweight fabrics are perfect for summer clothing, t-shirts, leggings, and underwear. These fabrics are breathable and comfortable, making them ideal for warm weather and intimate apparel.

Medium Weight (150-350 GSM)

Medium-weight fabrics are suitable for trousers, thicker shirts, and t-shirts, as well as home furnishings like cushions. These fabrics offer a balance between durability and comfort, making them versatile for various applications.

Heavy Weight (350 GSM and Above)

Heavyweight fabrics are used for coats, jackets, hoodies, and upholstery. These fabrics provide excellent insulation and durability, making them suitable for items that need to withstand frequent use and harsh conditions.


How to Check a Fabric Weight?

Knowing how to check the weight of a fabric can be incredibly useful, especially if you have fabric scraps or are curious about the weight of fabrics you already own. Here’s how you can determine the weight of your fabric:

Practical Tips

A precise digital scale ensures accurate measurements, crucial for calculating GSM accurately.

Ensure the fabric is flat and not stretched when measuring dimensions and weight, as stretching can affect the measurements.

Keep a record of your measurements and compare them with known GSM values to understand the fabric category.

Comparing and Categorizing

By following these steps, you can accurately determine the weight of any fabric piece. This knowledge allows you to categorize fabrics and choose the right material for your specific needs, ensuring your projects meet the desired standards of quality and functionality.


Knowing fabric weight and GSM is fundamental for anyone working with textiles. Whether you are a designer, a hobbyist, or simply interested in fabric, knowing how to measure and choose the right fabric weight can significantly impact the success of your projects. GSM provides a standardized method to compare different fabrics, helping you make informed decisions based on the material's characteristics and intended use.