There are many kinds of pre-cut fabric that are sold in fabric shops. Some are sold individually, while others are sold in bundles. One popular pre-cut fabric piece is called a fat quarter. Fat quarters have a variety of uses. But before deciding if it’s something that you could use for your sewing project, you may be wondering, “Just how big is a fat quarter of fabric, anyway?”
A fat quarter is a piece that is cut from a yard of fabric with dimensions being 18 inches long and 22 inches wide. The shape of a fat quarter looks like a square, but it is actually a rectangle. Fat quarters are usually bought pre-cut, but you can cut them yourself.
If you’re still unsure about fat quarters, we will also discuss other characteristics of fat quarters, including what exactly they are and how they are used in sewing. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about fat quarters.
What Is a Fat Quarter of Fabric?
A fat quarter of fabric is a quarter of a yard of fabric. It is created by cutting both the width of fabric and length of a yard of fabric in half. The standard width of fabric is 44 inches wide. This is the width with which fabric is normally made and sold in stores.
When you purchase a yard of fabric, you are purchasing fabric that is 36 inches long. If you ask for your yard of fabric to be cut into fat quarters, it will be cut in half crosswise into equal pieces. This means that the length will be cut in half and the width will be cut in half. You will be left with pieces of fabric that are each 18 inches long by 22 inches wide.
Why Is It Called a Fat Quarter?
A fat quarter is called that because it is a quarter of a yard of fabric. The word fat comes in because a fat quarter is cut to be fatter than a typical quarter yard of fabric. Normal quarter pieces have a more rectangular shape. A fat quarter piece of fabric is cut in a shape that is still a rectangle but fatter than the rectangle of fabric you would be left with if you quartered the fabric normally.
How Many Fat Quarters Are In a Yard?
There are four fat quarters in a yard of fabric. If measured and cut precisely, the four pieces of fabric should be of equal length and width. The pieces will appear to be almost square in shape because the length and width dimensions are close to being the same, but two of the sides will actually be longer than the other two. You will be left with four “fat” rectangles of fabric.
Are All Fat Quarters the Same Size?
The actual size of a fat quarter will vary based on fabric width and where it was sold. Most fabrics are 44 inches wide. But some fabrics may have a width that is slightly different depending on the manufacturer or what type of fabric it is. A different fabric width would mean that the size of a fat quarter would be different than normal.
The size of a fat quarter also depends on the type of measurement that was used. In countries that measure fabric by the meter instead of by the yard, a fat quarter would be wider. This is because a meter equals 1.09 yards, meaning the fabric would be cut slightly longer than a yard.
Fat quarters in countries that use the metric system would actually be a quarter of a meter instead of a quarter of a yard. According to Japanese fabric store The Ikebana Shop, a fat quarter in Japan would measure 20 inches by 22 inches in America.
How Does a Regular Quarter Yard of Fabric Compare to a Fat Quarter?
There are a few key differences between a regular quarter yard and a fat quarter. Both cuts are made from the same amount of fabric, but the pieces will be different shapes.
We’ve already mentioned that a fat quarter is cut in half along both the length and width in a crosswise cut. This should give you four equal pieces that have dimensions of 18 inches x 22 inches with a shape that is almost square.
A regular quarter yard is only cut along the length of the fabric. The length of each piece is changed, but the width stays the same as it was in the original cut yard of fabric. Cutting fabric into regular quarters will give you four pieces that are each 9 inches long by 44 inches wide. The resulting pieces will be clearly rectangular in shape.
What is a Fat Quarter Used For?
Fat quarters are most commonly used in quilting. They are great for making sampler quilts because the pieces can be cut easier and more evenly than regular quarter yard pieces.
Being able to cut fat quarters easily comes in handy when creating patterns or different quilt blocks because if cut precisely, all the pieces will look exactly the same. Quilting shops will have the largest selection of pre-cut fat quarters.
How Can You Use Fat Quarters in Sewing?
There are other uses for fat quarters besides just quilting. Their shape makes them perfect for sewing bags or pillows. You can also cut them down into smaller quarters to make potholders and trivets.
Sew several different fabric designs together to create patchwork scarfs, dresses, shirts, and other articles of clothing. There are endless creative possibilities for using fat quarters.
How Many Fat Quarters Do You Need For a Quilt?
Since fat quarters are often sold in bundles for cheaper than buying individual ones, many people wonder how many bundles they will need to make a quilt. The amount of fat quarters that you need to make a quilt depends on the pattern you are trying to make and the size quilt you want.
There are estimated amounts based on the size quilt you want to make. It’s important to keep in mind that these amounts assume that you will be using whole fat quarters and not cutting them into smaller pieces. These amounts are also minimums. You will more than likely need more than the recommended minimum amount.
- Throw- 12
- Twin- 24
- Full/Queen- 30
- King- 42
Cutting your fat quarters into smaller pieces to create different designs means that you will need more fabric than the recommended minimum amount. This is especially true of designs that are consistent across the whole quilt. Before you purchase a bundle, make sure that you like a majority of the fabrics. Or, you can purchase a bundle and then design a quilt based on the fabrics in the bundle.
How Do You Cut a Fat Quarter?
If you have a particular quilt design or sewing project in mind, but you don’t see any pre-cut fat quarters that work for your project, you can always cut your own. Cutting your own fat quarters out of a yard of fabric is actually really easy and can be done in just a few steps.
To cut your own fats quarters, you will need:
- A yard of fabric
- A quilting rotary cutter
- An 36 inch x 48 inch cutting mat
- Cut a yard of fabric in half so that you have two half yards that measure 18 inches x 44 inches.
- Fold one of the halves in half along the width. Make sure the selvages (or the edges) line up. Lay your fabric on the cutting mat.
- Check your measurements.You should be left with a piece of fabric that is 18 inches long on two of its sides and at least 22 inches on the other two sides.
- Open the fabric.
- You will see a crease in your fabric. The crease should be exactly at the 22 inch mark on the cutting mat if it was folded correctly.
- If the fabric was folded exactly in half, use the rotary cutter to cut along the crease.
- If it wasn’t folded exactly in half, measure 22 inches across the fabric and cut on that line.
- You should be left with two fat quarters of fabric that measure 18 inches x 22 inches.
- Repeat with the other half yard to end up with four fat quarters.
Watch this video for a demonstration on how to cut a fat quarter from half a yard of fabric:
Cutting Up Fat Quarters
Oftentimes in quilting, you will want to cut your fat quarters into smaller pieces to create specific shapes. These shapes are used to create the patchwork and patterns on a quilt. The following are all ways you can cut a fat quarter to create different sizes and shapes.
|99 squares||2 inches x 2 inches each|
|56 squares||2 ½ inches x 2 ½ inches each|
|42 squares||3 inches x 3 inches each|
|30 squares||3 ½ inches x 3 ½ inches each|
|20 squares||4 inches x 4 inches each|
|16 squares||4 ½ inches x 4 ½ inches each|
|12 squares||5 inches x 5 inches each|
|9 squares||6 inches x 6 inches each|
|6 squares||6 ½ inches x 6 ½ inches|
You can also cut a fat quarter into four 9 inch x 9 inch squares and one 3 ½ inch x 18 inch strip. To do this, measure 3 ½ inches from the top down the 22 inch side. Cut across the fabric to be left with a 3 ½ inch x 18 inch strip. Cut the rest of the fat quarter into four equal 9 inch x 9 inch strips by cutting it in half across the length and width.
Check out this diagram from the Missouri Star Quilt Company for more ways to cut a fat quarter.
How Much Does A Fat Quarter of Fabric Cost?
Fat quarters can be purchased individually or as a bundle. If you’re ordering fat quarters online, they can usually only be purchased as a bundle. Prices depend on two things: where they are sold and how many come in a bundle.
The average price for prints is $3.00 per fat quarter, while solids average $3.02 per fat quarter. Sometimes bundles can be purchased at a discounted price.
There are other pre-cut bundles in different sizes that you can buy as well. These take the work out of having to cut down the fat quarters yourself and can save you money as long as you like all of the different fabrics that are sold in a bundle. Here are some other sizes and their average cost per bundle, but the prices will differ based on where they are purchased.
- Candy- 2 ½ inch squares, $3.75 per 42 piece bundle.
- Jelly Roll- 2 ½ inch wide strips, $34.95 per 40 strip bundle.
- Charm Packs- 5 inch squares, $8.95 per 42 piece bundle.
- Layer Cake- 10 inch squares, $35.95 per 42 piece bundle.
Where Can You Buy Fat Quarters?
There are many popular retail and online stores that sell fat quarters. Remember that if you buy online, you’re most likely going to have to purchase a bundle. If you have a certain idea or fabric style in mind, it is better to go to a store in person to buy fat quarters.
Fat Quarter Shop
An online store, fatquartershop.com sells a wide variety of pre-cut fabric bundles. Their fat quarter bundles sell for as low as $12 on sale for solid colors. Most other bundles sell for between $15 and $135, depending on the designs and how many pieces are in the bundle.
In addition to fat quarter bundles, they also sell bundles of fat eighths, jelly rolls, layer cakes, charm packs, and more. This is a great one-stop shop for all your quilting needs.
Missouri Star Quilt Company
Missouri Star Quilt Company sells fat quarters both individually and in bundles online. When you buy individual fat quarters, they are listed as being a mystery, so you don’t know what you’ll get. Individual fat quarters cost around $2.00 for a mystery solid color and $3.00 for a mystery print.
Fat quarter bundles range from $12 to $143 depending on fabric type, pattern, and how many comes in the bundle. They also sell other pre-cut fabric bundles, as well as digital or printed quilt patterns.
Joann is a very well-known fabric and crafts retailer with physical stores and an online store. This is one of the cheaper places to buy fat quarter bundles, but they don’t sell individual fat quarters online. The bundles range from $10.99-$14.99 for a 5-pack of assorted patterns. They also sell books with ideas for other projects besides quilts that you can make using fat quarters.
Walmart is another great and inexpensive place to buy fat quarter individuals and bundles. Online, individuals can be purchased and prices range from $1.50 to $4.00. Bundles start at around $5.50 for a 5-pack bundle. There is also a large selection of fat quarter bundles on the website that are from third party companies. These cost anywhere from $6.50 for a 5-pack to $100 for a 27-pack.
Similar to Joann, Hobby Lobby also sells both individual and fat quarter bundles in both their physical and online stores. Individual ones cost around $2.50, while a 5-pack bundle costs $10. They don’t sell any larger bundles, but they do sell jelly roll fabric strips for $12.99 for 20 of them.
Etsy is an online crafts marketplace where you can find a large selection of fat quarters and bundles from individual sellers. There is no way to give an exact price range, as prices vary among sellers. One thing that is certain is that you will find some unique prints and patterns that you won’t find at any of the other shops we mentioned. You can even find vintage fabrics here.
What Is a Fat Eighth?
A fat eighth is a fat quarter that is cut in half. These are another common size of pre-cut fabric often used in quilting. They can be bought in a bundle or you can buy them yourself from a yard of fabric. If you cut them yourself, you will get eight fat eighths from a yard of fabric.
Fat eighths can be cut in two different sizes. You can cut them in half either lengthwise or widthwise. Cutting them lengthwise from a fat quarter will give you a fat eighth that is 9 inches long x 22 inches wide. Cutting them widthwise will give you a fat eighth that is 18 inches long x 11 inches wide. You will get two fat eighths per fat quarter.
How Many Fat Eighths Do You Need For a Quilt?
There is no way to give a specific number of fat eighths needed for a quilt. The amount that you need depends entirely on the quilt size and pattern you are trying to make and if you are using other sizes of pre-cut fabric as well. Consult your pattern to determine how many you will need.
We hope you found this information about fat quarters to be helpful. Remember that a fat quarter is just a quarter yard of fabric that is cut differently than a normal quarter yard. It will have dimensions of 18 inches x 22 inches.
You can cut them yourself or buy in pre-cut bundles and use them for quilting or other projects. If you enjoyed the article, share it with other people who could use this information and leave a comment. Thanks for reading!