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Fat Quarters: What They Are and Two Ways to Cut Them Up

A fat quarter is a quarter-yard of quilting fabric that is cut in a taller and fatter shape than a standard quarter-yard. You will find fat quarters everywhere at your local quilt shop, either sold individually or packaged in bundles like the one above.

Fat Quarters in Detail

To be precise, a fat quarter is a quarter-yard of fabric that is cut into a blocky shape that measures about 18″ x 22″ (46 cm x 56 cm). This is a different shape from a standard quarter-yard, which is cut across the full width of the fabric and is longer and skinnier than a fat quarter. A fat quarter’s shape lends itself to making larger squares and triangles, or shorter strips than a standard quarter-yard. Compare this fat quarter:

 

To this regular quarter-yard, which is cut across the width of the fabric from selvage to selvage.

 

A standard quarter-yard measures 9″ by the width of the fabric (42″ to 44″, depending on the manufacturer). This long, skinny cut is great if you want to quilt with fabric strips, but not so great for cutting other shapes like larger squares or triangles.

Buying a fat quarter of a fabric is a great way to get your hands on a color or print you just have to have, without spending a fortune. Quilt shops make this easy for you by displaying fat quarters everywhere. I bought lots of them when I first started quilting. But how can you cut them up into useful shapes?

Cutting Up Your Fat Quarters

There are a number of different ways to cut your fat quarters. Here’s one way we like: cutting the fat quarter into four 9″ squares and one 3-1/2″ x 18″ strip. All very useful sizes.

Cutting Fat Quarters 1

Cutting Fat Quarters into Charms

And here’s a way to cut up your fat quarters into 5″ and 10″ charm squares, so you can make your own charm packs.

Post first published on November 3, 2014. Revised and updated on February 22, 2017.


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{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Betty September 24, 2015, 7:42 pm

    interesting information,

  • Marion Lyon October 22, 2015, 6:09 pm

    Useful information, thanks

  • Cheryl November 6, 2016, 4:50 pm

    Never thought of doing that. Great suggestions. Thank you

  • Karen White February 25, 2017, 10:23 am

    This was great information, especially the different ways to cut up a fat quarter.

    • cdmwriter February 25, 2017, 12:20 pm

      Thanks, Karen!

  • lola February 25, 2017, 10:28 am

    Just starting out, and this looks so helpfull, thanks.

    • cdmwriter February 25, 2017, 12:21 pm

      There are lots of tutorials and other resources for beginners here, Lola. Please look around and comment again with any questions you have.

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