A bolt is a piece of cloth woven on a loom or created by a knitting machine, as it is processed, stored and/or marketed. Consequently, its dimensions are highly variable – flexible and dependent upon the manufacturing, machinery, quantity, size, thickness and quality of the product. It is a unit used in manufacturing, transport and inventory. It is also used as a descriptor for wallpaper, which uses different fabrication machinery.[A] Being encompassing, it is by its nature a generic and ambiguous term of convenience and context, used to describe fabric and wallpaper.
Textile manufacturing is about converting fiber into yarn, yarn into fabric, and finally, the fabric into clothing and other useful products. At every stage, production activity is managed by unique batches. When it comes to fabric, a set of bolts or rolls forms a batch, representing the production.
The yarn is processed by knitting or weaving, which turns the yarn into cloth. The machine used for weaving is the loom. and knitting is another method of cloth manufacturing.
Bolts[B]are the rolls of cloth manufactured by a loom or knitting machine, which moves through subsequent processes of textile finishing.
Looms are equipped with devices that can measure the length of the bolt during manufacturing on the machine itself.
Cloth merchant were marking the end of bolts with notations. This practice is continued in the industry to avoid mixing.
After fabric inspection, the bolts are layered manually or fabric spreading machines for relaxing and cutting with patterns.
For more information, see Pattern; Ready-made garment
The length of a bolt varied according to the type of material measured. The length is usually either 40 or 100 yards (37 or 91 m), but varies depending on the fabric being referred to; for example, a bolt of canvas is traditionally 39 yards (36 m).
The width of a bolt is usually 45 or 60 inches (1,100 or 1,500 mm), but widths may include 35–36 inches (890–910 mm), 39 inches (990 mm), 41 inches (1,000 mm), 44–45 inches (1,100–1,100 mm), 50 inches (1,300 mm), 52–54 inches (1,300–1,400 mm), 58–60 inches (1,500–1,500 mm) and 66 inches (1,700 mm), 72 inches (1,800 mm), 96 inches (2,400 mm), and 108 inches (2,700 mm). For more on breadths of bolts, see narrow cloth.
The word has been long-lived. For example, Herman Melville, “All Astir”, in Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, 1st American edition wrote: "Not only were the old sails being mended, but new sails were coming on board, and bolts of canvas, and coils of rigging; in short, everything betokened that the ship's preparations were hurrying to a close." It is also the standard linear measurement of canvas for use at sea: 39 yards (36 m).
Typically, a bolt of fabric contains anywhere between 30 and 100 yards of fabric. However, a lot also depends on the type [and thickness] of fabric in question. For example, a bolt of the canvas is generally 39 yards. Widths may include: 35–36 inches (890–910 mm) [up to] ... 108 inches (2,700 mm)
A measure of length, usually for fabric. A bolt of wallpaper equals 16 yd and a bolt of fabric equals 40 yd.
a commercial unit of length or area used to measure finished cloth. Generally speaking, one bolt represents a strip of cloth 100 yards (91.44 meters) long, but the width varies according to the fabric. Cotton bolts are traditionally 42 inches (1.067 meters) wide and wool bolts are usually 60 inches (1.524 meters) wide. Thus a bolt of cotton is 116.667 square yards (97.566 m2) and a bolt of wool is 166.667 square yards (139.355 m2).