A practical guide to pre-cut fabric sizes

Fat quarters, fat eighths, charm packs, and jelly rolls. If you're new to quilting and sewing, chances are you've heard of these specialty-cut fabrics and aren't quite sure what they all mean.

So if you don't know your fat quarters from your jelly rolls, no need to worry! We've put together a practical guide to pre-cut fabric sizes below. Give it a quick read and you'll be a pre-cut pro in no time!

So what's a manufacturer pre-cut?

Manufacturers of premium quilt-shop quality fabric release fabric collections, which are coordinated groups of prints and/or solids. Knowing that quilters (in particular) often need lots of variety for their sewing projects, manufacturers will cut and bundle all the prints from one collection to make these speciality pre-cut bundles. It's the ultimate way to sample complete collections without having to purchase lots of yardage individually.

Now let's talk specifics.

What is a fat quarter?

Put simply, a fat quarter is a quarter-yard cut of fabric that measures approximately 18" x 22". It's called a fat quarter because it's wider then the typical quarter-yard cut, which is long and thin at 9" x 44". Both of these cuts yield the same square inches, however they are drastically different in their shapes and uses.

It's worth noting here that a fat quarter's size is ultimately determined by the width of the fabric. While a yard is always 36" long, quilting cotton widths can vary from 41"-45". Therefore, it's normal to see some fat quarters measure 18" x 20" and others measure 18" x 22". These sizes vary by collection and manufacturer so be sure to check the measurements of your fat quarters to make sure you're getting the size needed.

The fat quarter is a very useful cut of fabric, and as such, many fabric manufacturers have been wise to produce fat quarter bundles. These fat quarter bundles typically contain 1 of each print from a collection and are a great starting point for quilts.

What is a fat eighth?

A fat eighth is an eighth-yard cut of fabric that measures approximately 9" x 22". It's called a fat eighth because it's wider than the typical eighth-yard cut of fabric, which is long and thin at 4.5" x 44".

Like with fat quarters, the length of a fat eighth is ultimately determined by the width of the fabric. Some fat eighths may measure 9" x 21" while others will measure 9" x 22". Always check the measurements to make sure you're getting what you need.

Fat eighths are a fun cut of fabric and a bundle of these is great for scrappier projects. Fat eighth bundles are affordable and they are a great way to sample complete collections or add variety to your stash. 

What is a charm pack?

Charm packs, charm squares, and stackers are just a few of the names we've come across for this next pre-cut. Charm packs are packs of 5" squares and they typically contain 1 of each print from a collection -- though duplicate prints within the pack are often seen.

For Moda Fabrics, one of the most popular makers of pre-cuts, charm packs contain 42 5-squares. The number of duplicate prints depends on the size of the fabric collection. 

Charm packs are popular pre-cuts here at Bloomerie Fabrics, second only to fat quarter bundles. Charm packs are great for making quilts, pillows, and smaller patchwork items.

What is a jelly roll?

Perhaps one of the most puzzling of all pre-cuts for quilters and sewists is the jelly roll. It's certainly the one we've received the most questions about, so let's demystify this fun pre-cut.

Jelly rolls, also referred to as fabric rolls or roll-ups, are 2-1/2" x 42" strips of fabric. They come rolled up, typically about 40 strips per roll, and can be used in quilts, bindings, strippy bags, and more. Check out our jelly roll strip quilt-along for a great beginner tutorial in using jelly rolls.

Let's get sewing!

So there you have it: our practical guide to manufacturer pre-cuts. And now the only thing left to do is figure out which one is your favorite. See all our manufacturer pre-cuts here, alongside our in-house coordinated (and cut) Bloomerie Bundles.

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