What is a Fat Quarter?
Welcome to Fat Quarter Month! Beth got us off to a great start with our first two Projects of the Day. We’ll continue that every day this month, plus we’ll be bringing you tutorials, interviews, a sew-along, a swap and giveaways. Before we go any further, let’s get down to the basics–what, exactly, is a fat quarter?
Although you often see fat quarters in beautiful stacks, rolled and tied with a ribbon, or folded neatly into stars, the “fat” in fat quarter is not just a matter of presentation–it’s all about the cut.
|Most quilt-weight cotton is 44″ wide. It comes doubled over on the bolt. When we cut a regular quarter yard (.25), we cut 9″, which is 1/4th of 36″ (a yard.)|
|Open it up and you have a long, skinny piece that is 9″ x 44″.|
|To cut a fat quarter, we first have to cut a half yard (18″) off the bolt.|
|We cut along the fold.|
|We’re left with two fat quarters–each one 18″ x 22″.|
There are several benefits to fat quarters, as opposed to a regular 1/4 yard:
- You can use fat quarters for projects that require pieces larger than 9″ wide.
- The most common charm square for quilting projects is 5″. You can get 12 5″ charms from a fat quarter, but only 8 from a 1/4 yard.
- With large-scale prints you’re more likely to get the entire design in your cut.
- Fat quarters allow you to cut longer strips along the lengthwise grain of the fabric (parallel to the selvage edge), which is preferable to crosswise because it is less stretchy.
- Fat quarters offer you much more flexibility to work with the directionality of the print. (Consider stripes that typically run parallel to the selvage edge.)
- Fat quarters are often pre-cut and sold with coordinating fabric, so they’re easy to pick up and add to your stash.