Quilters used to purchase numerous yards of fabric to build their quilts. They did not have what we now call pre-cuts.
However, it wasn’t until the mid-1980s that the first pre-cut quilting fabric debuted.
Margaret Boyle’s book Country Needlework was the first to use the term fat quarter.
Quilters began to request this smaller piece of cloth, and the quilting industry changed overnight.
Fabric firms began reducing their collections into convenient fat quarter bundles, which quilters purchased. They could afford to buy their favorite designer’s whole collection.
Quilters enjoyed it when pattern designers created books and easy patterns to increase the potential of fat quarters.
Today, fat quarters are grouped together by color, genre, backdrop, and subject in almost every quilt shop.
Most stores sell single fat quarters that have already been cut from the bolts.
If you can’t locate a bundle or single fat quarter that you like, you can always have fat quarters cut for you at the shop. Most stores will gladly comply with your request.
The Ultimate Guide To Fat Quarter Sizes
What are fat quarters?
A typical one yard of fabric cut from a bolt measures 36″ length by 44″-45″ broad. A fat quarter is a piece of cloth that measures 18″ by 21″.
When gazing at a stack of fat quarters, you may notice that some are significantly larger or smaller than others.
What’s the difference?
Who chopped the fat quarter is a factor. Manufacturers use machines that are programmed to cut pre-determined sizes, resulting in a perfect cut.
When cutting fat quarters, a quilt shop may add a bit of fabric, resulting in an 18 12″ broad cut.
The most important thing to remember is that your fat quarter must be at least 18″ x 21″ in order to follow the pattern’s directions. Fat quarters measuring 18″ x 22 12″ were used in older patterns.
The selvage borders have increased over the years, limiting the size of the fat quarter to 21″.
How Many Fat Quarters in a Yard?
A yard of cloth contains four fat quarters.
How to Cut a Fat Quarter
Let’s imagine you have a yard of cloth and want to make fat quarters from it. The material should be laid out first with the selvage closest to you running left to right. The fabric should be folded along the top. Second, on your cutting mat, find the 18″ mark. Third, cut along the 18″ line with your rotary cutter. Two half yards of fabric will result from this. Finally, cut the material along the fold with your scissors. After that, you’ll have four fat quarters.
Fat Quarter Sub Cuts
A quilter can anticipate to acquire any combination of cuts from a single fat quarter. The bulk of quilting patterns are now written for pre-cuts. As a result, knowing what pre-cut sizes you can get from a fat quarter is useful.
- 56 – 2 ½” Squares
- 12- 5” Squares
- 4 – 9” x 11” (Fat Eighths)
- 7- 2 ½” x 18” Strips
- 6- 3” strips
- 2- 10” squares, 4-5” squares, 1- 2.5” strip
How To Plan A Quilt With Fat Quarters
You can build a variety of quilts with fat quarters thanks to the hundreds of patterns and publications dedicated to them.
1. Begin with an idea.
Quilting with fat quarters is actually fairly easy. You can start with an idea, a theme, or a specific occasion to commemorate. Is it necessary to have a pattern in mind before purchasing your fat quarter? I advise you to do so. When you know what fat quarters you’ll need, it’ll be much easier to find them.
2. What if you see a fabric you love, but you don’t have a pattern in mind?
Purchase two yards of the fabric. That cut will yield fat quarters and borders. That piece of fabric will serve as the foundation for the rest of your quilt’s fat quarters.
If you don’t have a pattern, buying six to eight fat quarters in a theme is a good place to start.
3. Keep fabric value and scale in mind.
Keep in mind that value plays a part in this. The fabric’s value is determined by its lightness or darkness. When selecting your 6-8 fat quarters, keep light and dark values in mind. The scale is another item to keep an eye on. A handful of little prints complement a couple of larger pictures beautifully.
Depending on the size of the quilt you wish to make, you may need to add extra.
Anything left over can be included into the quilt’s backside. Quilts with pieced backs are popular because they can be flipped over and still look nice. You’ll need to choose a background color that goes with the fat quarters.
4. Choose fabric for borders.
Next, choose the fabric for the quilt’s borders and select how many there will be.
If you’re having trouble deciding on coordinates, your local quilt store can help. Their employees are educated to help with color choices and, in many cases, yardage requirements for background and border needs.
Fat quarter bundles with complementing fabrics for the background and borders are frequently available in these same shops.
Of course, you may already have fabric on hand. Cut fat quarters from six fabrics that go nicely together. Select complementary fabrics for your background and borders once more.
Pre-Wash The Fat Quarter Or Not?
The washing of the cloth before cutting is a point of contention in the quilting industry. Some people claim that pre-washing removes sizing, allows for shrinking, and prevents color bleeding. Others believe it is superfluous and would rather the size be left in the fabric.
The shrinkage will be minor if the fabric is purchased from a quilt shop and is of quilt shop quality.
Anything red, on the other hand, should be pre-washed. The color red is known for bleeding. If you’ve elected to pre-wash with starch or Best Press, the size can be added back in. It all boils down to personal preference and where you purchased the fabric.
How Many Fat Quarters in a Bundle?
Because they include all of the fabrics from a designer’s line, fat quarter bundles are particularly popular.
A typical fabric collection has 25-35 bolts. A fat quarter bundle usually contains 25-35 fat quarters. Because batik collections include fewer bolts, fat quarter bundles are smaller.
Let’s imagine you want to make a quilt on the Civil War.
A Civil War Fat Quarter bundle will have a wide range of prints that are all coordinated to fit your quilt’s theme. It will be painted in the correct Civil War hues of Turkey Red and Poison Green.
The florals and prints will be precise replicas of mid-nineteenth-century cloth patterns.
With a fat quarter bundle of Christmas fabrics, you can construct a lap quilt with enough fabric left over to make placemats, stockings, or even a tree skirt.
Fat Quarter Exchanges
Do you have thick quarters that aren’t cooperating with your plans?
Consider joining a quilt guild in your area. Fat quarter exchanges are frequently held by quilt guilds.
You and the other members each bring a certain number of fat quarters. They all go on a table, and then everyone gets a turn picking fat quarters from the hoard of other members.
Monthly fat quarter exchanges are organized by subject by some internet communities. One month might be dedicated to the seaside, and the next to Halloween. Each member mails three fat quarters to a different member. After that, you’ll get three fat quarters in the mail. Getting a monthly supply of new fat quarters can be quite thrilling and inspiring.
Fat quarters give quilters a plethora of options for creating hundreds of different quilt blocks.
Fat quarter quilts are a good place to start if you’re new to quilting.
Start by purchasing a bundle or selecting fat quarters that appeal to you. This convenient pre-cut will quickly become a quilt for you to enjoy.