Good Morning, Quilters!
Today from my notebook: Quilting 101 , What is a fat quarter? This post was requested by my daughters, Faye and Nora, who are just learning to quilt. Understanding the terminology of quilting is one of the details that experienced quilters take for granted, but cause confusion for new quilters.
Fabric on a Bolt
To understand a fat quarter, begin by looking at a typical bolt of fabric. Fabric on a bolt is folded in half. The typical width of fabric is around 44-45 inches, so when it is folded in half, the bolt reveals about 22 inches.
Regular Quarter Yard of Fabric
When you take the bolt to the counter to be cut, most often you will receive a regular quarter yard of fabric. One yard of fabric is 36 inches long, so a quarter yard is 9 inches long.
Width of Fabric (WOF)
A regular quarter yard of fabric is 9 inches by the width of fabric (WOF). Usually, the WOF is 44-45 inches, though it can be more or less. So when you purchase a regular quarter yard of fabric, you will receive a long strip of fabric.
Twice as Wide
A fat quarter is cut differently. The fabric is cut on the 18 inch line first and then again along the fold line
This produces TWO quarter yard pieces of fabric call fat quarters. Each piece of fabric is 18 inches wide and 22 inches long.
Regular vs. Fat Quarter Yard of Fabric
A regular quarter yard of fabric is 9 x 44″ (or WOF)
While a fat quarter is 18 x 22″ (or 1/2 WOF).
They are both the same amount of fabric!
For many quilts, it doesn’t matter which quarter yard you purchase, but for some patterns and uses, the fat quarter may be more convenient. I LOVE quarter yards of solid fabric (Fat Quarter Shop) to make mini whole cloth quilts. I usually buy fat quarter bundles to get a wide variety of colors. The square size is perfect! I just ordered this Tula Pink collection.
How Much Should YOU Pay?
Some quilt stores will cut a fat quarter for you if you ask, but don’t expect them to because they are left with a piece of fabric separated from the bolt. Also, it is more time-consuming to cut a fat quarter. They have to make two cuts and then they have to re-package and label the leftover fabric.
Many stores have fat quarter bins where you can find a variety of fabrics. Be a little cautious about price. Multiply the bin price by 4 and ask yourself, ” Would I pay that for a yard of this fabric?” For example, if the fat quarter price is $3.50, that means you are paying $14/yard for the fabric. It may be worth the convenience, but you may prefer to buy a 1/3 yard for almost the same price. I have found pre-cut, fat quarter prices vary from $2-$3.50.