The Different Types of Pre-cut Quilting Fabric
If you ever use quilt patterns, you have probably come across instructions that call for different types of pre-cut quilting fabric like “fat quarters” or “jelly rolls.” These terms refer to bundles of fabric you can buy from the manufacturer. These cuts are commonly used in quilting because they can save you a lot of time!
Instead of cutting every piece from a very large piece of fabric, you can use one of these bundles and work with small pieces of fabric that are much closer in size to the pieces you need for the quilt.
Specialty cut fabrics are also great because they can serve as a “sample pack” for a fabric collection. This is great if you are making a scrappy quilt and want to use lots of different colors or patterns throughout the quilt. All the fabrics in a pre-cut fabric bundle will be perfectly coordinated, so you don’t have to worry about whether different colors or patterns will clash with each other. This type of product is great for many reasons, so if you want to learn more, here is a guide to pre-cut quilting fabric.
Guide to Understanding Pre-cut Quilt Bundles
A charm pack is a bundle that comes with 5” x 5” squares of pre-cut quilting fabric. This is one of the smallest types of specialty cut, which means that it is often the most affordable cut as well. This is a great option for quilters because it is an inexpensive way to get access to the entire fabric collection and the size of the fabric squares is common in quilt patterns. You may want to choose a charm pack if you are creating one-patch blocks, four-patch blocks, corner triangles, flying geese blocks, or other simple quilting projects.
Mini-charm squares are itty-bitty 2.5” x 2.5” squares. Because of their diminutive size, mini-charm squares aren’t very versatile, but may come in handy if you are making a mini-quilt! This size can also be useful in more intricate quilts that use many very small fabric pieces in their patterns.
Fat Quarters are an extremely common specialty cut. This pre-cut quilting fabric pack consists of 18” x 21” rectangles. They are called fat quarters because each rectangle is slightly larger than a quarter yard of fabric. It’s a quarter-yard, but a little wider. There are so many quilts that you can make with a fat quarter bundle! And because of that fact, most fabric collections have a Fat Quarter bundle available. Some bundles will contain every print in the collection, while others will contain a selection of prints that are coordinated to go well with each other.
Though not as common as their larger counterpart, the Fat Quarter, Fat Eighths are still used frequently in quilting. This type of pre-cut quilting fabric is sold in 9” x 21” strips, slightly larger than an eighth of a yard of fabric. Many quilt patterns are “fat eighth friendly,” making this type of specialty cut fabric a valuable addition to your stash.
Jelly Rolls are a type of pre-cut fabric bundle that’s been increasing in popularity in recent years. This type of bundle usually includes 40 pieces of coordinating fabrics cut into 2.5” x 42” strips. They are called Jelly Rolls because when you buy the bundle, the strips of fabric are typically rolled together, resembling a pastry. There are many types of quilts that use a large number of fabric strips, so for that type of quilting project, a Jelly Roll is a huge time-saver.
Another food-themed bundle of pre-cut quilting fabric, a Layer Cake is essentially a charm pack with larger pieces (or a mini-charm pack with much larger pieces). This bundle of 10” x 10” specialty cuts comes in handy if you are making a blocky quilt with lots of squares or half-square triangles.
This type of bundle may also sound good enough to eat, but the term “Jolly Bar” actually doesn’t exist outside of quilting, though you’d be forgiven for thinking it was a type of candy. A Jolly Bar bundle consists of 5” x 10” fabric strips.
Half Yard Bundles
Half Yard Bundles are another common type of pre-cut quilting fabric bundle. The name of this bundle is self-explanatory: each bundle comes with pieces of fabric cut into half yards (18” x 44”). The advantage of a half-yard bundle is that with this size of pre-cut fabric, you have a lot more options for how you can cut the fabric piece. If you’re trying to waste as little fabric as possible, a larger cut may leave more room to cut more pieces out of the excess fabric.
Pre-cut quilting fabric can be so handy when you are making a quilt, whether it is helping you cut down on your cutting, or doing the work of coordinating fabrics for you. Many of the collections in The Little Fabric Shop offer these types of specialty cut fabrics, so check out our fabrics or our quilt patterns if you are looking for some inspiration for your next quilting project!