What is a Fat Quarter? A Guide for Quilters & Crafters

Fat quarters are a type of precut fabric that have become popular among quilters and sewists. Measuring 18 inches x 22 inches, they are used for a variety of quilting, sewing, and crafting projects that require a variety of small fabric pieces. This article will discuss what a fat quarter is, why they are popular, free projects, tips for storing them, and more.

image showing dimensions of a fat quarter, answering the question "what is a fat quarter?"

What is a Fat Quarter?

A fat quarter is a piece of fabric used in quilting and sewing that measures 18 inches by 22 inches. It is called ‘fat’ because it is deeper than a standard quarter-yard cut of fabric, which measures a ‘skinny’ 9 inches by 44 inches.

Fat quarters are commonly used in quilting projects because they provide a larger piece of fabric to work with, which can be useful for creating patchwork or other fabric designs. They are also a popular choice for toy making, applique, scrapbooking and other crafting projects.

Fat Quarter Bundles – Why Are They So Popular?

fat quarter bundle

A fun and practical way to buy fat quarters is as packs of coordinating fabric packs. Indeed, we specialise in providing unique fat quarter bundles like this.

These bundles can help save time and money. They eliminate the need to purchase multiple metres (or yards) of fabric, but still allow you to have a variety of fabric patterns. You can also be confident that the fabrics match in colour/design which can save you time in planning your project. They can even provide inspiration, as they may be in colour combinations you had not previously considered

Fat quarters also offer a convenient way for quilters to experiment with different fabrics and patterns. You can try out new fabrics and patterns without committing to a full metre of fabric, making it easier to find the perfect fabric for your next quilting project.

Whether you’re a quilter just starting out or have been quilting for years, fat quarters offer a unique and cost-effective way to add variety to your fabric stash and create beautiful quilting projects.

Fat Quarter Projects

Fat quarters are a versatile fabric that can be used for quilting, toy making, applique and all manner of sewing projects. Here are some projects that I’ve created to make use of these versatile fabrics:

Japanese Knot Bag

japanese knot bag

This clever design of bag doesn’t need to have a zip or clasp and is a real talking piece. Our free Japanese Knot Bag project requires 4 fat quarters to complete.

Quilted Cushion Cover

Quilted patchwork cushion cover.

This cushion cover project is ideal if you want to try your hand at quilting, but do not want to make a full-size quilt. You can make this project using one pack of 6 fat quarters. It’s a perfect project for a beginner at patchwork or quilting.

Armchair Sewing Organizer

sewing organizer

This nifty little tool fits over the arm of a sofa to hold all of you sewing or crafting materials while you enjoy watching TV! This sewing organizer project requires 4 fat quarters to complete.

Union Jack Cushion Cover

Union jack cushion

This striking Union Jack cushion cover can be created from one pack of 6 fat quarters. We produced this project to coincide with the Queen’s Jubilee, but this statement piece is perfect for any time and would look great in any room.

How to Store and Organize Fat Quarters

If you’re anything like me, your stash of fabrics can quickly start to get out of control! However, with a little bit of planning and effort, it is possible to keep your fat quarters organized, protected, and easy to access. Here are some tips for storing and organizing your fat quarters:

  1. Invest in clear plastic storage boxes: Clear plastic storage boxes are an excellent way to protect your fat quarters from dust and moisture. They also make it easy to see what you have on hand and quickly locate the fabric you need. I like the ‘Really Useful Boxes’ brand, but any clear boxes will do.
  2. Fold and stack neatly: When storing your fat quarters, be sure to fold them neatly and stack them in a way that minimizes creasing. You can also use fabric organizers, such as file folders, to keep your fat quarters organized.
  3. Categorize your fat quarters: Keep similar fat quarters together in categories e.g. plains, patterned, florals etc. This will make it much easier to find the fabric you need when it’s time to start your next project.
  4. Store in a cool, dry place: Store your fat quarters in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and moisture. This will help to prevent fading and deterioration of your fabric.
  5. Keep a fabric inventory: Keeping a fabric inventory can help you to keep track of what you have on hand and avoid duplicating your fabric purchases. You can create a simple spreadsheet or use a fabric inventory app to keep track of your collection.

By following these tips, you can store and organize your fat quarters in a way that makes them easy to access, protected, and well-organized. Whether you are a seasoned quilter or just starting out, taking the time to properly store and organize your fat quarters will make your sewing projects much more enjoyable and efficient.

How to Cut a Fat Quarter

Does your project or quilt pattern require you to cut your fabrics into fat quarters? Here’s a guide on how to cut your stash fabrics into fat quarters:

  1. Gather materials: To cut fat quarters, you will need a rotary cutter, a cutting mat, and a ruler.
  2. Preparation: Iron your fabric so that it sits flat
  3. Cutting: Lay your fabric so that you have the straight selvedge edge to the left-hand side. Place your ruler at the top of your fabric and position it so that it is at right angles to your selvedge and cut. Measure down 18” and cut again, parallel to the initial cut. Finally measure 22” from the selvedge edge to the right-hand side, place your ruler so that its at right angles to your cut edges at the top and bottom and cut.

You now have an accurate fat quarter, ready to use in a project.

Common Questions About Fat Quarters

How Many Fat Quarters Do I Need for a Quilt?

The number of fat quarters needed for a quilt will vary depending on the size of the quilt, the design, and the desired look of the quilt. The quilt pattern should guide you on the exact requirements. As a general rule, you can expect to need between 30 and 50 fat quarters for a double bed sized quilt.

What is the Difference Between Fat Quarters and Jelly Rolls?

A Jelly Roll is a precut fabric bundle that consists of 40-42 strips of fabric, each 2.5 inches wide by 44 inches long. Fat Quarters, on the other hand, are single pieces of fabric that measure 18 x 22 inches. While both Fat Quarters and Jelly Rolls can be used for quilting and other sewing projects, Fat Quarters provide a bit more versatility in terms of fabric selection, as they are larger pieces of fabric.

What is the Size of a Fat Quarter in cm?

The size of a fat quarter can vary slightly from shop to shop. Despite selling fabric by the metre, most quilting shops in the UK still sell their fat quarters in the traditional size of 22 inches x 18 inches, which is the equivalent of 56cm x 46 cm.

There are some fabric stores that sell a slightly different size of fat quarter which measures 55 x 50cm, so it is worth checking with your supplier.

What are Fat Squares?

Don’t be confused by the term fat squares! People sometimes refer to fat quarters as fat squares, they are the same thing.

What is the Difference Between a Fat Quarter and a Quarter Yard of Fabric?

A fat quarter is a piece of fabric that measures 18 x 22 inches, while a quarter yard of fabric measures 9 x 44 inches. Fat quarters are commonly used for quilting, patchwork, and other projects requiring small pieces of fabric, while a quarter yard of fabric is typically used for larger projects such as clothing construction.

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