Looking for the dimensions of a fat quarter? Fat quarters are a square shape of fabric sold at quilt shops the world over, and I myself have even purchased fat quarter bundles as a way of adding cut pieces of cotton fabric to my stash without having to buy a quarter yard of fabric for every fabric design that I like.
Usually when we buy fabrics, the absolute minimum purchase amount of a piece of fabric is 10″ / 25cm, though many shops and online fabric stores insist on a minimum of 20″ / 50cm.
This can then be an expensive way to build your fabric stash – trust me, I did this throughout my time at fashion school when I had to supply fabric swatches as part of my design process.
When a fabric store couldn’t guarantee that they’d have the fabric in stock 2 months later, I’d often have to buy more than an entire yard of fabric to make sure that I had a big enough amount of fabric to use in a design if my tutors insisted upon it.
Nowadays, a fabric shop is more accommodating and will sell you a half yard of fabric rather than a full yard or metre of fabric, but fat quarters really are a great way to get creative!
So, what is a the fat quarter size?
What Is The Size Of A Fat Quarter?
A standard size for an American fat quarter is usually 18″ x 22″ / 45cm x 55cm while the fat quarter dimensions of a Canadian fat quarter are 19.7″ x 22″ / 49cm x 55cm.
How Many Fat Quarters In A Yard Of Fabric?
There are four fat quarters in a yard of fabric. With one yard of fabric being cut from the bolt, it is then cut in half width-wise and length-wise and you’re left with four quarters, commonly called ‘fat quarters’, because they’re not quite square with each quarter being more of a rectangular shape.
What Can You Use Fat Quarters For?
Fat quarters are great for small and medium sized projects that you’d like to use a variety of fabrics on.
Quilts, quilted bags and clothes are just some of the projects you can use fat quarters on. Don’t let the ‘quilting cotton’ aspect put you off making clothes from fat quarters!
Other Pre-Cut Fabric Sizes
As well as creating quilts from fat quarters, they can also be cut down further to create your own:
- Charm packs
- Fat eights
- Jelly rolls
- Layer cakes
- Mini charm packs
You can also buy the above as ready made pre-cut bundles of fabric if you’d rather not cut fabric to size yourself, with Moda fabrics being a firm favourite. These smaller pieces of fabric have different names depending on size and the company creating them, but the ones listed will be easily recognized – even at your local quilt shop!
Charm packs contain charm squares which are 5″ x 5″ / 12.5cm x 12.5cm. Size wise these come out smaller than a layer cake piece of fabric but bigger than a mini charm pack piece.
Charm packs contain around 42 squares, and are great for smaller projects, like baby quilts, bags, purses and English paper piecing.
A fat eighth is a single fat quarter cut in half widthways, and measures 9″ x 22″ / 22.5cm x 55cm. From a fat eighth you can cut charm packs and mini charm packs for yourself.
Jelly roll strips are are 2.5″ / 7.5cm wide with their length being determined by the width of the bolt of fabric. Because of the continuous length of these strips, they’re a much better format for using on borders, creating binding, easy quilted placemats and more.
You can cut a fat quarter into smaller squares at 10″ x 10″ / 25cm x 25cm to create a layer cake. Layer cakes are great for creating small quilts or pillows as they usually come with a selection of fabric squares that are color co-ordinated.
They also work well to cut into smaller squares.
Mini Charm Packs
These mini charms are smaller than the charm packs created by Moda fabrics. Dimensions for each fabric piece are 2.5″ x 2.5″ / 6.25cm x 6.25cm. They’re great for making a small lap quilt if you’re a beginner quilter, coming with around 42 small squares of fabric
What Kind Of Fabric Are Fat Quarters?
Fat quarters are usually made from 100% cotton fabric. This fabric usually has a printed design and is used for quilting.
I recently bought some gorgeous fat quarter quilting fabrics from an online store in the UK which was closing its doors – I’ll take a photo asap and will add it below so that you can see how beautiful they are.
Is It Cheaper To Buy Fat Quarters?
Buying fat quarters is a great way to try fabrics from different fabric manufacturers or to buy different patterns, but they can end up being a more expensive way of expanding your fabric collection for quilting projects.
A fabrics do need to be pre-shrunk you may find that once you’ve washed, dried and squared up your fat quarters, you don’t have quite as much fabric as you started with!
How Many Fat Quarters Are In A Jelly Roll?
The length of the strips of fabric that make up a jelly roll are determined by the width of the fabric bolt it was cut from. Therefore the number of fat quarters in jelly rolls varies amongst suppliers, but there are usually 40 long strip included.
So there you have it. Fat quarters are the perfect way to get your hands on a wide assortment of quilting fabrics without having to buy whole cuts of different types of fabric making it a more popular and less costly way to increase your available fabric stash for future projects.
For my next project I quite like the idea of sewing together jelly roll strips from multiple packs and then cutting them into a biker style jacket. I think it could be quite a fun and unique look, don’t you? I just need to work out how much fabric I’ll need for it!
With that thought, if you want an easier way to work out fabric amounts, check out this great fabric yardage conversion chart – super helpful if like me you sometimes need to convert imperial to metric and back again!
Eve Tokens (aka The Creative Curator) is a fashion designer, creative pattern cutter and sewing pattern designer.
Eve graduated with a 2:1 in Fashion Design from the University of The Creative Arts in the UK, has a BTEC diploma in Creative Pattern Cutting, a Foundation Degree in Art & Design from Wimbledon College of Art and gained extensive experience in the fashion industry by interning and freelancing for London based fashion brands – Hardy Amies, Roland Mouret, Peter Pilotto and others.
As well as running her own small sustainable fashion brand, Eve has more than 25 years experience sewing and making clothes for herself and family members.