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GSM in Fabric – The Ultimate Guide

GSM is an abbreviation that represents Grams Per Square Meter. This is the standard unit of measurement utilized for gauging the thickness of the fabric. This parameter is also a means of determining the overall quality of the fabric.

Fabric Gsm Testing Machine

Importance of Understanding GSM in Fabric

Understanding GSM has very many benefits more so when selecting the right kind of fabric. The benefits include;

  • GSM is an essential method of differentiating between two fabrics of the same material. Fabric is normally categorized according to the GSM which in turn indicates the density of the material.
  • GSM is an independent unit of measuring the density of a material. However, based on the weight other factors such as stiffness, thickness, and absorbency can easily be determined based on the value of the GSM. The higher the GSM the thicker, stiffer, and more absorbent the material will become.
  • Understanding the GSM can also offer you insight into the requirements of your different projects. For example, when it comes to the thread count denser fabric will require heavy thread while thinner fabric will need fine thread.
  • GSM equally affects the general fall of your clothing. Fluidity if the drape is more prominent in the less dense fabrics while thicker material is less fluid but more structured.

How to Calculate GSM in Fabric

Select fabric manufacturers include the GSM value of the fabric in the description of its features.

However, if not present you can also easily calculate the GSM of your fabric at home. You first need to determine the basic weight of your fabric as well as the density of fibers utilized during the design of the fabric.

You can efficiently determine this value by dividing the total weight of the fabric by the total square meter to get the GSM. You can also utilize a device known as a GSM cutter that will help you ascertain the GSM of the material.

GSM of Fabric Calculation Example

Ideal GSM for a Good Quality Fabric

GSM is merely a unit used to determine the density of the fabric. However, depending on how thick or thin a fabric is can help determine other factors including quality.

The ideal GSM of the quality of fabric may differ according to other determining features. These features include;


Weather conditions commonly determine the choice of attire. During hot seasons thinner fabric is preferred and during winter the thicker the fabric the better.

Therefore, GSM has a direct impact on designing the best clothing according to the prevailing weather conditions. Fabric with higher GSM produces better quality winter wear while those with lower GSM are better suited for summer wear.

Category of Clothing

The category of clothes used is another key determining feature regarding the idea of GSM for the garment.

Sundresses or summer tops have a lower GSM because they are clothes that are designed for thinner wear as jeans or jackets should have higher GSM because the materials are not only thicker but stronger as well.


Quality garments used for intense activities are most often designed with lighter more breather fabric that usually has a lower GSM.

Activities such as running, cycling, or other forms of exercise should use fabric with a GSM value of 150 or less. On the other hand, an activity like hiking or climbing mountains may require fabric with medium density with GSM values ranging from 200 to 250.

The main categorization of fabric according to their GSM is grouped according to their weight class. The types of fabric GSM include;

  • Lightweight fabrics, which feature the least GSM values that range from 1 to 150. The materials included in these categories include taffeta, voile, chiffon, and organza
  • Medium Weight fabric, whose GSM ranges from 150 to 250. Materials under this category include sateen, chambray, cambric, and velvet.
  • Heavy Weight fabrics, which have the highest GSM value ranging from 250 and above. The fabric includes, twill, hessian, denim, and wool felt

How GSM Affects the Fabric

There are different factors that are affected by the GSM of the fabric. These factors include;

Density of the Fabric

GSM is a unit of measurement used to determine the thickness of the textile.

A higher GSM value is an indication of thicker material and a lower GSM usually categorizes lighter fabric. Different types of textiles may weigh the same but have different GSM values because of their contrasting fiber density

Quality of the Material

You can gauge the quality of the material using its GSM in terms of the intended application of the finished garment.

Quality garments intended for more active applications require a lower GSM and less strenuous activities medium valued GSM fabric can be efficiently used.

Fabric Warmth

Quality cold wear is fashioned from thicker materials that have a higher GSM. It is therefore safe to assume the higher the GSM of a fabric is the warmer the garment will be.

The materials that have a lower GSM are less dense and will therefore be less warm and better suited for warmer conditions

More Resources:

Units of Textile Measurements – Source: Wikipedia

Silk Fabric – Source: SINO SILK

One Stop Silk Product
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