What is WOF in quilting

Dimensions of a Fat Quarter: Easy Guide + Patterns


A fat quarter is a popular term you’ll hear tossed around in the world of quilting and fabric crafts. It’s not your typical quarter-yard cut from a bolt of fabric.

Instead of being a long, skinny piece, a fat quarter is a pre-cut square with the dimensions of a fat quarter usually measuring 18″ x 22″.

This size may vary slightly due to the width of the fabric bolt or how it’s trimmed, but it’s generally pretty close to this dimension.

Why are fat quarters so beloved by quilters and crafters? Well, that’s because the dimensions of a fat quarter make it incredibly versatile.

They’re big enough for you to cut larger pieces than you would get from a standard quarter-yard, but they’re also manageable and don’t require you to wrestle with a huge piece of fabric. 

This makes fat quarters perfect for small projects, piecing together patchwork quilts, or even making accessories like tote bags or cushion covers.

When you’re looking to stock up on some fat quarters for your next project, remember that they are a cost-effective way to get a variety of designs without purchasing larger amounts of fabric. 

Plus, they fold up neatly into little squares, making them a dream to store and organize.

Whether you’re a seasoned quilter or just starting out, the beauty of a fat quarter is that it gives you the freedom to create without the commitment to a massive amount of fabric.

Understanding Fat Quarters

What is a fat quarter? All the answers about this fabric including dimensions of a fat quarter
Photo Credit: Amazon.com

When you’re diving into quilting or any fabric-based project, knowing what a fat quarter is and the dimensions of a fat quarter can make a big difference in your planning and fabric selection.

Defining a Fat Quarter

A fat quarter is a type of fabric cut often used in quilting and sewing. You might think of it as a special cut that gives you more versatility compared to standard linear yards or meters. 

It’s literally a quarter of a yard of fabric, but cut differently than a regular quarter yard.

Dimensions Of A Fat Quarter

stack of fat quarter in browns and greens.
Photo Credit: Amazon.com

So, how big is a fat quarter of fabric? Here’s the standard size:

  • Width: approximately 18 inches
  • Length: approximately 22 inches

This creates a rectangle that’s larger than a standard 9×44 inch quarter yard. To visualize, check out this table:

Cut TypeDimensions
Regular Quarter9 inches x 44 inches
Fat Quarter18 inches x 22 inches
Photo Credit: Nanasewing.com

In total, a fat quarter provides you with about 396 square inches of fabric.

Fat Quarter Vs. Regular Quarter Yard

Regular quarter yards are more suited to projects requiring narrow but long strips of fabric. In contrast, fat quarters are more adaptable for smaller, more diverse pieces allowing you to make the most out of your fabric with less waste. 

This smaller size and shape give you more options for cutting out different shapes and sizes for your quilting projects.

Other Pre-Cut Sizes

Jelly Rolls: Typically 2.5 inches in width, these long strips come rolled up and contain an assortment of coordinated fabrics. Perfect for strip quilting, they can save you time on cutting.

Layer Cakes: These are 10-inch squares of fabric, often sold in a stack with assorted prints. A layer cake offers a great sampling of a collection and is versatile for larger blocks or geometric patterns.

Charm Squares: Charm squares measure 5 inches and usually come in packs of 42. They’re ideal for small projects, such as patchwork, and allow you to mix-and-match with ease.

Mini Charm Packs: For the smallest of details, mini charm packs come in 2.5-inch squares. Use them for intricate piecing or to add a splash of variety without the commitment to a larger precut size.

Width of the Fabric (WOF): Pre-cuts also come in different widths, which is important to consider for the scale of your project.

Note: Most pre-cut fabrics come from the same collection, providing a harmonious blend of different patterns for your designs.

Choosing the Right Cut for Your Project

Deciding on the proper pre-cut fabric largely depends on the project you have in mind.

  • For small projects such as quilting, charm squares or mini charm packs can reduce cutting time.
  • Large projects might benefit from layer cakes or jelly rolls, which offer more flexibility with patterns and larger pieces.

Your choice should consider the pattern’s scale, the size of the finished project, and how much time you want to spend on cutting. Prep work can make or break the efficiency of your sewing projects, so choose wisely to ensure a smooth crafting experience.

We have an entire section for Fat quarter projects that are so much fun to make. 

Utilizing Fat Quarters

book pillow pattern finished with turqiose pillow and flowered fabric for pockets.
Photo credit: nanasewing.com

When you get your hands on a fat quarter, you’ve got a versatile piece of fabric ideal for various small-scale sewing ventures.

It’s the perfect size to add diversity to your fabric stash or to undertake a project that’s both creative and manageable.

Creative Projects with Fat Quarters

  • Baby Quilts: A single fat quarter can become part of a colorful baby quilt. If you mix and match several, you can create a cozy, patchwork pattern without buying new fabric for each square.
  • Tote Bags: Tote bags are great for showcasing an eye-catching fat quarter. Use one for the bag’s sides and part of another for sturdy straps.
  • Hair Scrunchies: A small accessory like hair scrunchies requires minimal fabric, making scraps from a fat quarter ideal for creating these fun items.
  • Piecing Together Scraps: As you work on projects, you’ll accumulate scraps. Combine these with a new fat quarter for an eclectic look in smaller projects.

Building a Fabric Stash

  • Start Small: Begin your stash with a variety of fabrics from different fat quarters. This way, you’re prepared for when inspiration strikes.
  • New Fabric Collection: When a new fabric collection catches your eye, consider acquiring fat quarters from the line. This allows you to have a sample of the new patterns without committing to larger, more expensive cuts.
  • Organize by Theme or Color: Keep track of your fat quarters by organizing them either by the color palette or theme, which can streamline the process when you start a new project.

Buying and Storage of Fat Quarters

When you’re looking to expand your fabric collection, fat quarters are a practical and versatile buy. You’ll need to know the best places to shop for them and effective methods for keeping them tidy and ready for use.

Where to Buy Fat Quarters

Fabric Shops and Quilt Shops: Your local fabric or quilt shop often carries a wide variety of fat quarter bundles.

These bundles are precut fabric pieces, usually themed or color-coordinated, and are great for building your collection with matching patterns.

Online Store and Big Box Stores: Don’t overlook big box stores and online outlets for fat quarters.

They typically offer a range of options, often at competitive prices. Buying online is an easy way to browse through selections and find the precise prints and colors you’re after.

Amazon has a great selection of fat quarters on clearance as they own their own fabric store. 

Storing and Organizing Fat Quarters

fat quarters storage using a closet organizer that hangs over door
Photo credit: nanasewing.com

Storing Tips:

  • Keep them flat: Storing your fat quarters flat prevents creasing and makes it easier to see what you have at a glance.
  • Visibility: Clear containers or shelving are a good idea to keep your fabric visible.

Organizing Tips:

  • By color or theme: Sorting your fabric by color or theme can speed up your selection process for projects.
  • Labeling: Consider labeling your storage areas or containers for quick identification.

Storage Accessories:

  • Bins: Bins can be stacked and often fit nicely on shelves or under workspaces.
  • Hanging organizers: These make use of vertical space and can be hung in closets or on doors.

Patterns and Techniques

In the realm of quilting and sewing, fat quarters offer you a versatile canvas for a range of patterns and techniques.

Their generous size allows for both simple and complex designs, perfect for personalizing your projects.

Quilt Patterns for Fat Quarters

quilt with fat quarter fabric
Photo Credit: Etsy.com

You can transform a single fat quarter into several smaller squares or strips, maximizing the potential for your quilt patterns. Here’s a quick guide to get you started:

  • Sampler Quilts: Use one fat quarter for each unique block to create a sampler quilt rich with variety.
  • Strip Piecing: Cut your fat quarters into strips for a quick and easy assembly of a strip-pieced quilt.
  • Friendly Patterns: Look for patterns specifically designed for fat quarters to make the best use of the fabric’s size.

Remember, the number of fat quarters you’ll need depends on the overall size and design of your quilt.

Advanced Sewing Techniques

Take your sewing to the next level with these techniques:

  • Patchwork: Combine pieces from different fat quarters to create a patchwork design. This can add visual appeal and texture to your project.
  • Appliqué: Use smaller cutouts from your fat quarters to appliqué onto larger quilt backgrounds, achieving intricate designs.

Crafting with fat quarters gives you the flexibility to experiment and express your creativity through your sewing projects.

Beyond Quilting

Fat quarters aren’t just for quilting; you can create stunning home decor and unique apparel with these versatile fabric pieces.

Fat Quarters in Home Decor

  • Tea Towels: Grab a cotton fabric fat quarter and turn it into a custom tea towel. With a fat quarter size of approximately 18″ x 22″, you can hem the edges for a quick DIY project. Bonus points if you add tea towel designs to match your kitchen theme.
  • Accent Pillows: Mix and match different fabrics in fat quarter dimensions to craft one-of-a-kind accent pillows. We used a fat quarter to create our book pillow pattern.

Apparel and Accessories

  • Small Pouches: Use smaller pieces of fabric from a fat quarter to sew together little pouches or coin purses.
  • Hair Accessories: Cut strips or shapes out of your fat quarter to make headbands, scrunchies, or bows. Whether it’s bold patterns or solid colors, they’re a great way to accessorize your outfit.
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