While the term “fat quarter” may sound peculiar, this article will demystify its meaning. I will clarify what a fat quarter is and its dimensions, and provide a useful chart. A fat quarter is obtained by cutting a piece of fabric, typically 36 or 44 inches wide, along its length. If the fabric is on a roll, approximately ½ yard (18 inches) will be trimmed. Quilting fabric is often folded in half, either on a roll or a flattish cardboard inner. Regardless of its presentation, the fabric will be unrolled, and ½ yard will be cut. This ½ yard is then folded in half lengthwise, aligning the selvage edges, resulting in two fat quarters. Each fat quarter measures 18″ x 18″ (when cut from a 36-inch-wide fabric) or 18″ x 22″ (when cut from a 44-inch-wide fabric).
Comparing Regular Quarter Yard and Fat Quarter
When it comes to fabric, a regular quarter yard and a fat quarter contain the same amount of material, assuming they have the same width. Fabrics can come in widths of 36″ and 44″ inches, or even wider. The difference lies in the proportion and usage. Fat quarters are more suitable for quilters as they are ideal for cutting squares. On the other hand, regular quarters are preferable for cutting long strips and stitching them along the length before cutting them into patchwork pieces.
What are Fat Quarters Used For?
Fat quarters are primarily favored by quilters due to their versatility in cutting various sizes of squares based on the chosen design. Quilters often prefer fat quarters over regular quarters because they offer more options with their wider width.
Additionally, fat quarters can be utilized for appliqué projects, providing greater flexibility compared to regular quarters. The larger dimensions of fat quarters allow for accommodating different appliqué shapes, minimizing wastage when cutting appliqué pieces.
Quilters have a preference for fat quarters due to the convenience they offer in terms of purchasing and color coordination. Many quilt patterns specify the number of fat quarters needed for a particular design, allowing quilters to easily procure the required pre-cut fat quarters from haberdashery shops.
The pre-cut fat quarters enable quilters to compare colors, patterns, and tones by placing them side by side. This makes it simpler to assess how well the fabrics work together, as opposed to dealing with large bolts of fabric. Recognizing the convenience and practicality, fabric shops often prepare popular quilting fabrics in fat quarter cuts, facilitating an effortless fabric selection process for quilters.
Another advantage of using fat quarters in quilting is the simplified cost calculation. Fat quarters are individually priced, eliminating the need to calculate costs based on a running ½ yard measurement. This avoids situations where quilters are required to purchase a minimum length cut of ½ a yard from a bolt of fabric, resulting in obtaining two fat quarters of a specific color or pattern that may not be needed. With individual pricing for fat quarters, quilters can precisely select and purchase the desired quantity of fabric, reducing unnecessary expenses.
How to Cut a Fat Quarter: Step By Step Instruction
To cut a fat quarter, follow these steps:
- Roll out the fabric bolt on the cutting table, allowing for approximately a yard and a half of the fabric. This provides space for maneuvering the scissors and ensures a straight cut. It also allows for folding the fabric over.
- Measure ½ yard or 18 inches from the top of the fabric across the selvage and 18 inches across the bottom selvage. If the fabric is folded on the bolt, measure both the top and bottom layers.
- Fold the fabric across to ensure that the top and bottom edges align with the fabric still on the bolt.
- Once you are confident that you have a piece of fabric measuring 18 inches across the top and bottom, cut along the fold.
- After cutting the half yard of fabric, roll the remaining uncut fabric back onto the bolt and store it to clear your workspace.
- Fold the ½ yard fabric selvage to selvage, aligning the corners to meet, and cutting along the fold. This will result in two fat quarters.
- If the fabric comes pre-folded on the bolt, it becomes even easier as there will be a crease line to guide your cut.
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Guide on how many fat quarters to make a quilt?
The number of fat quarters needed to make a quilt depends on the specific quilt design, size, and pattern you choose. Here are general instructions on how many fat quarters to make a quilt that help you estimate the number of fat quarters required for a quilt:
Determine the quilt size: Decide on the desired dimensions for your quilt, such as twin, queen, or king size.
Select a quilt pattern: Choose a quilt pattern that appeals to you. The pattern may specify the number of fat quarters required, or you may need to calculate it based on the pattern’s instructions.
Calculate the number of blocks: Determine the number of blocks needed for your quilt pattern. This will depend on the size and design of each block.
Determine fabric requirements: Check the pattern for fabric requirements, such as the amount of fabric needed for each block, sashing, borders, and binding.
Estimate fat quarter usage: Estimate how many fat quarters you will need based on the fabric requirements. Keep in mind that a fat quarter provides more flexibility for cutting different-sized pieces compared to a regular quarter yard.
Purchase the fat quarters: Once you have estimated the number of fat quarters needed, purchase them from a fabric or haberdashery shop. Consider buying a few extra fat quarters to allow for variations in cutting and piecing.
Follow the quilt pattern: Follow the instructions provided in your chosen quilt pattern to cut and piece the fat quarters into blocks, sashing, and borders as required.
It’s important to note that the specific instructions and fabric requirements may vary depending on the quilt pattern you select. Always refer to the pattern instructions for accurate fabric calculations and cutting guidelines to ensure the successful completion of your quilt.