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Fat Quarters and Fussy Quilters

Summertime Fat Quarter Pack by KerrynB

Nostalgic Winter Fat Quarters by KerrynB Designs are available exclusively from The Textile District

Fat Quarters?  What are they?  What is the difference between a quarter cut and a fat quarter?  Why does it matter how my fabric is cut and why are patchwork quilters so fussy about their fabric?  Is it still the same amount of fabric?  Does it really matter? Well actually, yes it does matter when it comes to getting the most out of a fabric piece and especially as a patchwork quilter.  There is good reasoning to buying these cuts and I’m about to explain why.

Firstly, lets talk about fabric cuts.  If you go in to a fabric store and ask for a quarter of a yard (or meter), you will end up with a piece of fabric which measures ¼ of a yard x width of the fabric (usually 44” for quilting fabrics).  It would be a long strip which is great for small projects requiring strips, small squares or applique and is definitely usable.  However, patchwork is often made up of half square triangles and larger squares and these long strips may not be as usable.  This is when a fat quarter cut can be a lot more appropriate for your patchwork project.  A fat quarter is simply a whole yard x width of fabric which is then cut into four quarter rectangle pieces similar to the way you would cut a sandwich into quarters.  Rather than a 9” x 44” cut, a fat quarter cut is 18” x 22”.  Quilters can utilize this cut better and waste less of their fabric and just in case you haven’t heard, quilters strongly dislike wasting fabric. Accuracy and precision is paramount in the craft of patchwork especially when it comes to cutting and seam allowances.

There are also other benefits to using fat quarters.  They often come in a bundle of coordinating fabrics from the same collection, saving you the effort of having to pull designs and colours together.  Fat quarters are also great for making smaller projects, such as table runners or placemats.  This is a great way to get started with patchwork because you don’t have to make a full quilt at first. You can make a smaller project and then move onto a larger project once you get the hang of it. There are also lots of different patterns and designs that use fat quarters.

Now that you have a clear understanding of fat quarter cuts, what project will you be using them for?

Kerryn Egel

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