What is a Fat Quarter and What Can I Make With It?

I noticed there are lots of bloggers offering fat quarters for Giveaway Day this week, including me.  If you’re a newer sewer (say that ten times, fast), you might not be familiar with the term or what they’re good for.  Welcome to Fat Quarters 101.

Giveaway Day 2013 - Crafty Staci 3

Fabric is sold on bolts, folded in half with the selvage edges together.  Cotton fabric, of the type usually used by quilters and crafters, once measured 45 inches from selvage to selvage, but the size has magically shrunk while the price tag grows.  Most fabrics are now about 42 inches wide.

A yard of fabric is 36 inches, just like a yard of anything else.  That means if you buy an entire yard of fabric, unfold it and spread it out, it will measure 36 inches by 42 inches.  If you request a quarter of a yard at the cutting counter, you’ll receive a piece of fabric as shown below.

Ordinary Quarter Yard of Fabric - Crafty Staci

A fat quarter is the same number of square inches in size, but is cut differently, as shown here.

Fat Quarter of Fabric - Crafty Staci

If you get the same number of square inches of fabric, why would you care which way it’s cut?  Let’s say you want to make a bag.  The pattern instructs you to cut a rectangle that’s 12 by 20 inches.  You’d have to buy more fabric cut the regular way just to fit your pattern.  There’s less waste with a fat quarter, and they’re sometimes less expensive than buying cut yardage.

Now that you know what a fat quarter is, what can you make with them?  Quilters love these because they’re better suited for squares and other shapes, but they don’t have to be limited to quilting.  You can find gazillions of projects out there that are meant for fat quarters.  Here’s a few of my own projects that are perfectly suited to these cuts.

Squares and Stripes Mug Mat     Disney-Inspired Luggage Tags     Ruffled Oven Mitts     Fabric Daffodils     Fat Quarter Half Apron     Pencil Drink Sleeve and Paper Mat     Flowered Flip Flop Covers     Ruffled Flip Flop Covers     Reversible Coffee Cup Sleeve     Quick and Easy Fabric Coaster     Take Out Wristlet     Oval Mug Mat     Reusable Snack Bags     Patriotic Fabric Pinwheels    

Now that you know what a fat quarter is, what are you going to make?