Tips and Tutorials Tuesday – What is A Fat Quarter? A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words

July 28, 2015

How to Fold a Fat Quarter Like the Quilt Shops

Do you remember the first time you heard the words fat quarter?  I recall my Aunt Ginger talking about fat quarters when I visited her during my childhood.  I remember it because it’s the most ridiculous sounding phrase I think I’ve ever heard.  No wonder normal people are totally confused by quilters; we have a secret language that rivals both Klingon and Dothraki.

You probably know that a fat quarter is simply a 18 inch  x 22 inch  (50 cm x 56 cm) cut of fabric.  This differs from a regular quarter yard cut, which is 9 inches x 44 inches.

Here’s a simple, pinnable diagram for your reference.

Fat Quarter Diagram:

Quarter yard cuts fat and skinny

Benefits of Fat Quarters:

  • We read a lot about the importance of avoiding cross-grain cuts of fabric, which may cause more stretching and distortion when we piece our quilts. Fat quarters allow us to cut more pieces parallel to the selvage, which is the lengthwise grain.
  • If you have a pattern that calls for a piece that is any larger than 9 inches (22 cm) wide, you’re out of luck if you have a long, narrow quarter yard of fabric. A fat quarter offers the same square inches as the quarter yard cut, but in a form that allows you to slice off a larger chunk when needed.
  • A fat quarter is a nice, manageable size for most home cutting mats; it doesn’t hang over the edge of your table.
  •  If you’re using your favorite Amy Butler large scale print, you’re more likely to get closer to the full repeat with a fat quarter, instead of just a sliver of the print with a long, skinny quarter yard cut.

In your experience, what are some other benefits of buying and using fat quarters?  Leave me a comment and let me know!

Since I’m talking about fat quarters today, I want to point out a few fat quarter friendly links from last week’s Tips and Tutorial’s Tuesday (there were some really amazing tutorials last week so click back and take a look if you missed it).

Leslie, the Seasoned Homemaker linked up a lovely post highlighting 13 Projects to Make With Fat Quarters!  Perfect timing Leslie!  Thank you for linking up with me.

FatQuarter Projects at the Seasoned Homemaker

And Jan, my friend who blogs at The Colorful Fabriholic linked up with a fantastic fat quarter friendly project, her Plus Plus Quilt.  I love the crosshatch quilting and the color palette.  This is one of those quilts that everyone should make at least once in their lives.  Be sure to pin her tutorial for later!

Plus Plus Quilt Colorful Fabriholic

And did you see these adorable fruity coasters by Vicky at Venividivicky?  It’s a free tutorial that is fat quarter friendly!


Okay, it’s time to link up again!  I’ll feature some more of your fabulous projects next week when I show you my favorite method for folding fat quarters.

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  • Reply venividivicky July 28, 2015 at 3:33 am

    What a nice and clear lesson on Fat Quarters. I wish they were sold more in Germany =/
    Thank you for including my little project.

    • Stephanie Palmer
      Reply Stephanie Palmer July 28, 2015 at 9:03 am

      I had no idea that fat quarters are not offered in Europe as often! Thanks for letting me know. And thanks for linking up your tutorial today!

  • Reply Patricia Cash July 28, 2015 at 8:03 am

    Thank you for this information, as a new quilter it will be a help.

  • Reply Yvonne @Quilting Jetgirl July 28, 2015 at 8:15 am

    I think fat quarters can be a great way to get a fabric line so that you can see all the prints. I guess i have personally been migrating to use larger cuts of fabric, but a fat quarter is still my favorite pre-cut size.

  • Reply Jayne July 28, 2015 at 9:31 am

    I love fat quarters! They are a great way to build your stash. You can pick specific colors you are lacking (or print). Like Yvonne said, a great way to get a fabric line too!

  • Reply Jan O July 28, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    Thanks so much for the shout out and for featuring my FQ-friendly Plus quilt! It’s amazing how versatile fat quarters are.

  • Reply Chelsea Huckins August 9, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    I love fat quarters for fabric I love but doesn’t really go with my stash, so I just get a little piece, but it’s still enough to be useful 🙂 Thanks for this great bundle of knowledge.

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