A bookcase with a fat quarter assortment with accurate Fat Quarter Measurement

Easy Fat Quarter Measurement Guide For Beginners

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A fat quarter is a popular term you’ll come across often if you’re into quilting or sewing projects. A fat quarter measurement refers to a specific piece of fabric that measures approximately 18 inches by 22 inches. 

This size is a quarter of a yard, but instead of being cut in the typical strip, it’s a squarish piece that gives you more versatility for different types of projects. 

The unique dimension of a fat quarter makes it an ideal addition to your fabric stash, giving you the flexibility to create without the constraints of narrower fabric cuts.

When you’re building up your collection of textiles, fat quarters are a great way to accumulate a variety of patterns and colors without purchasing large amounts of fabric. 

This can be particularly handy if you’re working on projects like patchwork, where variety is key, or if you just want a little bit of a special fabric for a small part of a project. 

Fat quarters are widely available at fabric stores, and they often come in coordinated bundles, which can take some of the guesswork out of selecting fabrics that look good together.

For many sewing aficionados, fat quarters not only make the crafting process more efficient but also more enjoyable. 

These pre-cut pieces allow you to get straight to the fun part of your sewing projects without the initial hassle of cutting yardage into usable pieces. 

They’re especially ideal for small projects like bags, cushions, and toys, or for adding diversity to quilts without breaking the bank. 

Whether you’re new to sewing or a seasoned pro, fat quarters are a neat trick to have up your sleeve.

Understanding Fat Quarter Measurement

When you’re working with fabric in quilting or small sewing projects, knowing your materials is crucial, and fat quarters offer a versatile option. 

Dimensions and Size

A fat quarter of fabric is typically a piece that measures approximately 18 x 22 inches (45.7 x 55.9 cm). This is roughly a quarter of a yard but cut in a way that provides a squarer shape compared to the more rectangular cut of a straight quarter-yard from a bolt of fabric. 

These are the standard dimensions of a fat quarter:

MeasurementsInchesCentimeters
Width1845.7
Height2255.9
Photo Credit: Nanasewing.com

Remember, sizes can vary slightly depending on the width of the fabric bolt.

Fat Quarter vs. Standard Cuts

Your main difference between fat quarters and standard fabric cuts lies in their shape and utility. 

Unlike the standard quarter-yard cut that measures 9 x 44 inches (22.9 x 111.8 cm) and is long and skinny, a fat quarter is almost square, giving you more flexibility.

This is how they compare:

  • Standard Quarter-Yard: 9 x 44 inches | Long and narrow, limiting some project types.
  • Fat Quarter: 18 x 22 inches | Wider and shorter, allowing for diverse project shapes.

Fat Quarters in Quilting

red and pink hearts with dark and cream color squares create fat quarters quilt patterns
Photo Credit: Etsy.com

In quilting, fat quarters are favored because your square shape accommodates a wider array of pattern pieces without waste. 

You can cut larger blocks, strips, or shapes that wouldn’t fit the narrow width of standard cuts. They’re also easy to handle and perfect for building a diverse fabric stash without purchasing large quantities.

Purchasing and Usage Tips

When you’re adding to your stash of fat quarters, smart shopping and usage practices can make your quilting more enjoyable and cost-effective.

Finding the Right Fabric

Before you head to the fabric store, have a project in mind. Knowing whether you’re working on a quilt, a small pouch, or a set of coasters will guide your purchase. 

When inspecting fabric at a shop, check for:

  • Quality: Is the fabric soft to the touch? Does it have a high thread count?
  • Grain: Are the edges trimmed correctly, parallel to the weave?
  • Colorfastness: Rub a piece of white cloth on the fat quarter to see if the color bleeds which is important when creating different patterns.

Maximizing Fabric for Projects

Each fat quarter is typically 18″x22″. To ensure you have enough fabric, consider the following:

  • Layout: Plan your cutting layout before buying. This might save you from purchasing extra fabric.
Piece SizeNumber per Fat Quarter
5″ squares 12
2.5″ strips (Jelly Rolls) 3
10″ squares4
Photo Credit: Nanasewing.com

Shopping for Variety

Embrace the variety of fabrics available to you. Fabric stores often offer:

  • Fat quarter bundles: Curated collections ensuring a variety of patterns and colors.
  • New fabric collections: These can provide coordinated patterns that take the guesswork out of matching.
  • Focus on individual fat quarters with unique prints to add flair to your quilting projects.

When exploring a fabric shop or quilt shops, feel free to mix pre-cut fabrics with yardage to tailor to your project’s needs. The goal is to curate a selection that inspires your next creation.

Creative Ideas with Fat Quarters

yellow with pink flowers shopping bag patterns
Photo Credit: Nanasewing.com

When you’re holding a fat quarter, you have a bundle of possibilities ready to unfurl into a variety of creative projects. From delightful smaller projects to more ambitious pieces, your options are practically limitless.

Small Projects and Crafts

Fat quarters are perfect for trying out those smaller project ideas you’ve been eyeing. Get your creativity flowing with a quick and satisfying task:

  • Scrunchies: Every one only takes a tiny bit of fabric.
  • Coasters: A set makes a lovely handmade gift.
  • Drawstring bags: Store your treasures in custom-made carriers.

A Fat eighth are even smaller and can be combined with fat quarters to add variety to your designs or to make mini projects like keychain quilts.

Combining Pieces for Larger Designs

Think of fat quarters as puzzle pieces to create something greater. The easy way to use them in quilts is to dive into these ideas:

  • Sampler Quilts: Each square showcases a different pattern or skill.
  • Scrap Quilts: A harmonious chaos that’s as fun to make as it is to behold.
  • Baby Quilts: A cozy welcome for the newest members of the family.

Decorative Uses

Your living space can be spruced up using fat quarters in these inventive ways:

  • Cushion Covers: Swap them out with the seasons or on a whim.
  • Tote Bags: Transport your essentials with a personal touch.

Dress up tables or walls with strips or blocks of fabric from your fat quarters to add a splash of color and pattern where you need it most. 

Consider creating a joint project combining fat quarters with other materials for unique home decor items.

Fabric Fat Quarters

Multi colored fat quarters which fit fat quarter measruement
Photo Credit: Canva.com

Here are some of our favorite fat quarter bundles to buy from our favorite online stores. 

We also buy from our local quilt shop. A fat quarter size is perfect to use as quilting fabrics for a quilt top. You will also need some cotton fabric for the quilt back. The size of a fat quarter will not be enough to create your backing. 

Fat Quarter

​To learn more about fat quarter fabric piece check out our library of resources

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