What is a fat quarter? All the answers about this fabric including dimensions of a fat quarter

What Is a Fat Quarter? Easy Answers For All Sewers


What is a Fat Quarter? A fat quarter of fabric is a term you might stumble upon in quilting and sewing circles. At its core, it’s a specific cut of fabric, measuring 18 inches by 22 inches, which is a quarter of a yard.

Unlike the more common linear quarter-yard cut that you get at most fabric stores, which is typically 9 inches by the width of the fabric, a fat quarter is cut in a way that gives you a larger, almost square piece of fabric.

You might be wondering why you’d use a fat quarter instead of a regular quarter-yard cut. Well, the beauty of the fat quarter lies in its dimensions, which make it a versatile choice for various projects. 

With a fat quarter, you can easily cut larger pieces for your quilting blocks, small pouches, or any number of crafting projects because of its squarer shape. It’s particularly handy when the project you’re working on requires a chunk of fabric larger than what a straight quarter-yard could provide.

Fabric stores often bundle these plump little quarters into coordinating sets, which gives you the chance to play with a variety of prints and colors without committing to larger cuts of each design. 

These bundles make for an excellent way to build up your fabric stash, allowing for more flexibility in your crafting.

Whether you’re quilting, crafting small items, or just accumulating different patterns, a fat quarter has got your back with its shape and size.

What Is A Fat Quarter?

Photo Credit: Amazon.com

When you dive into the world of quilting or crafting with fabric, you’ll quickly encounter the term “fat quarter.” It’s a popular cut of fabric, especially handy for a wide range of projects.

Fat Quarter Fabric

Quilting and fabric stores often sell fabric by the yard, and a regular quarter yard of fabric is a straight cut measuring 9 inches by the width of the fabric, usually about 44 inches.

However, a fat quarter is different; it’s a half-yard of fabric cut in half widthwise, giving you a piece that is typically 18 inches by 22 inches.

With a fat quarter, you get a squarer shape, which offers more versatility for your projects without having to step up to a half-yard. It’s particularly useful when you need a bit more room than a standard quarter provides but don’t want the bulk of additional fabric. Here’s how both stack up:

  • Regular Quarter Yard: 9″ x 44″ (approx.)
  • Fat Quarter: 18″ x 22″ (approx.)

Fat Quarter Size

fat quarter size with a pile of fabric
Photo Credit: Canva.com

Understanding the size of a fat quarter can help you plan your fabric needs more effectively. Since a fat quarter originates from a half-yard of fabric, knowing how they’re related helps you visualize fabric requirements.

To create a fat quarter, imagine a yard of fabric cut in half along its length and then in half again widthwise. Each resulting piece, or fat quarter, is a nearly square cut.

This size is particularly convenient for smaller projects, when a full yard or even a half-yard is too much. Here’s the simple math:

  • Half-Yard of Fabric: 18″ x 44″ (then cut in half across the width to create two fat quarters)
  • Fat Quarter Size: One-fourth of a yard but cut to yield a wider, shorter piece than a regular quarter.

Whether you’re whipping up a patchwork pillow, piecing together a quilt, or embellishing a tote bag, fat quarters give you a manageable and usable piece of fabric that can fit a variety of patterns and shapes. Sifting through the diverse patterns and colors available in fat quarter cuts is part of the fun in your fabric adventures.

Fat Quarter Sewing Projects

Fat quarters are like the Swiss Army knife of fabrics, providing endless possibilities for your crafting projects, from DIY crafts to quilting masterpieces.

DIY Projects and Fat Quarters

Starting with DIY projects, you’ll find fat quarters to be incredibly resourceful. Craft unique items like cosmetic bags, book covers, or even bibs with these versatile fabric cuts. They are ideal for smaller projects where you need different shapes and a splash of color. For example:

  • Pillowcases: Cut two fat quarters in half, sew them together, and you’ve got a vibrant pillowcase.
  • Tote Bags: With just a couple of fat quarters, some lining material, and handles, a bespoke tote bag is within reach.

Mixing and Matching in Quilts

Moving on to quilting, fat quarters are a quilter’s best friend. They’re the go-to for when you want to mix prints and hues without committing to larger quantities of fabric.

  • Patchwork Quilts: Create a patchwork quilt with an eclectic mix of small squares from different fat quarters.
  • Quilting Projects: Combine bold prints with solid colors for a new design that pops.

Quickly build a diverse and colorful fabric collection, affordably experimenting with textures and shades. Whether you’re looking to start small or go big with your crafting, fat quarters provide a great way to express creativity in your sewing projects.

Where to Buy Fat Quarters

Photo Credit: Amazon.com

Check Fat Quarter Prices on Amazon

When searching for fat quarters, your two best options are value bundles and reputable stores for quality purchases.

Fat Quarter Bundles and Deals

Fat quarter bundles typically offer a mixture of coordinating fabrics at a reduced price. These can be a great choice if you’re looking to add to your fabric stash without breaking the bank. For example:

  • Best Sellers: Some fabric stores highlight their best-selling bundles, which can include anywhere from 5 to 40 fat quarters.
  • Big Savings: Often, buying a bundle will cut costs compared to purchasing individual fat quarters, so look out for deals where you might save 10% to 20%.

Where to Find Quality Fat Quarters

Your local quilt shops or specialty fabric shop is a valuable resource for high-quality fat quarters. These shops often have a diverse selection, which is ideal if you’re looking to buy specific colors or patterns. Additionally:

  • Fabric Stores: Many larger fabric retailers also stock fat quarters, typically sorted by fabric type and design.
  • Online Shopping: For more convenience, several online stores offer extensive collections and user reviews to help you make informed choices.

Remember, the number of fat quarters you buy should align with your project needs and your budget.

Maximizing Fabric Usage

When you’re diving into a project with a fat quarter, the goal is to get the most bang for your buck. Making the most of each piece means you’ll reduce waste and may even have enough left over for future mini projects.

Strategic Cutting Techniques

With the right approach, you can make your fat quarter stretch further than you might expect. First things first: get your cutting table ready and ensure your rotary cutter is sharp. A dull blade can lead to fabric snags and inaccurate cuts.

  • Measure Twice, Cut Once: Check the pattern requirements and lay out the designs before cutting. This can save you from making mistakes that could waste fabric.
  • Cut Larger Pieces First: Start with the biggest pieces you need to cut from your fat quarter. It’s easier to cut smaller pieces from scraps than the other way around.
  • Cut in Strips: Cutting your fat quarter into longer strips or sections can be a versatile first step. These strips can be subdivided into smaller units like charm packs or pieces for strip piecing.
  • Optimize Your Layout: Arrange your patterns to fit tightly together, reducing the amount of unused fabric. Think of it like a game of Tetris where each piece should snugly fit into place.
  • Think in Square Inches: By considering the total area of your fat quarter in square inches, you can plan out how many pieces of a certain size you can get from it.
  • Pre-Cut Fabrics: If you’re using pre-cut fabric like a jelly roll, consider arranging them in creative ways to get the most out of their uniform size.

Here’s a quick guide to help you cut efficiently:

Pattern SizeNumber from Fat Quarter
5” squares (Charm Pack)Up to 12
2.5” strips (Jelly Roll)Up to 8 strips
Photo Credit: nanasewing.com

Always remember that careful planning and strategic cutting are key to maximizing the use of your fat quarter. Happy crafting!

Fat Quarter Inspirations

When you pick up a fat quarter, you’re holding a bundle of creative potential. Whether you’re crafting smaller items or incorporating them into larger quilts, these fabric cuts are your canvas for personal expression.

Unique Projects and Ideas

Fabric Designers: You’re surfing a wave of imagination with fabric designers paving the way. Their prints can inspire your next project—maybe a vibrant scrap quilt showcasing eclectic patterns or a sleek pouch for your sundries.

Use fabric designers’ work as a jumping-off point to mix and match, creating something one-of-a-kind.

Individual Pieces: Elevate your everyday items with a personal touch by sewing unique individual pieces. A cozy mug rug or an eye-catching book cover can be crafted from a single fat quarter, turning ordinary objects into expressions of your style.

Smaller Pieces: Your fat quarters can be deconstructed into even smaller pieces for intricate work. Consider a set of patchwork coasters or assemble a colorful bunting for festivities. These small projects are perfect for trying out new techniques without a big commitment.

Larger Pieces: Combine multiple fat quarters to tackle larger pieces. Friendly quilt patterns often cater to fat quarter bundles, making them ideal for bed-sized quilts or sampler quilts where each square tells a story.

Sampler Quilts: Sampler quilts especially showcase the versatility of fat quarters. With each block offering a different pattern or color, your quilt becomes a gallery of textures and shades.

Scrap Quilt: Unleash your creativity with a scrap quilt. Fat quarters are perfect for adding variety and ensuring that no two blocks are the same. This patchwork masterpiece becomes a storied tapestry, rich with the fabrics you’ve chosen.

Personal Touch: Add your own personal touch. Customize a tote bag or create a soft toy that bears the hallmark of your imagination. With each stitch, your project becomes more uniquely yours.

Embark on your fat quarter adventure with these suggestions, and watch your fabric stash transform into a portfolio of personal masterpieces.

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