Quilting 101: Fat Quarters

Well, hello there.  Welcome back to Quilting 101!  One of the best parts of starting this blogging journey has been the friends that have reached out with their own excitement over quilting.  Each message makes me so excited, and I can’t wait to have quilting parties.  And now back to the point!

When I first starting collecting fabric, I did not understand what fat quarters were at all.  Now, I am obsessed.  I want to buy them all.  I might before it’s all said and done.  Sorry, Hubs.

So, what exactly are these magical gems?  They are quarter yards of fabric.  So, are you just asking for a quarter yard cut at the store?  Oh, no.  The cut is different.  These guys like their brownies, and they are fat.  Here’s an image to help you out from about.com:

ImageOne yard of fabric is 36″x44″.  So, a regular quarter yard is 9″ x 44″.  Which is great if you need long strips, binding, sashing, or a few pieces.  However, a quarter yard is cut from a half yard of fabric so that yes, it’s shorter, but it’s wider – 18″.  This gives you more choices for various larger cuts.  I found this image from Pieceful Living really helpful:


You could never get all those cuts from a regular quarter yard, which means you’d have fabric left over from a larger cut – which, really isn’t a problem…

Here’s another handy chart thanks to Pinterest.  What did I do before Pinterest? 


Now, once you know how many squares you have to cut for your pattern, you can use this handy chart to see if you can use fat quarters for your quilt.  For example, I’m making a baby quilt this weekend, and I need 80 4.5 inch squares total.  Since I can get 16 from a fat quarter, I would only need to buy 5 fat quarters.  I want more variety in fabric, but it’s a handy tool!  I know that I can get enough squares from a fat quarter, so I don’t need to buy a 1/2 yard cut… unless I really want to…

Now, onto why you should buy fat quarters.  Fabric stores know you’re going to buy them so they have them everywhere.  Don’t believe me?  Try to walk into a quilting store and walk out without a fat quarter.  I’ve only done it once.  They are super cheap, and they also package them individually or in bundles.  Tied with a ribbon.  It’s like Christmas.  They have basically already designed the quilt for you.  Either an entire fabric line is packaged as a fat quarter set or they mix and match fabric lines to create a bundle.

Here are a few images from my favorite Etsy shops.  (I’m not linking to the actual item, since it might sell out, but I am linking to the stores because I’ve bought from them and received prompt, quality service!)

  Moona Fabrics


Left ($19.25) Right (27.50)

Southern Fabric


Top (19.99) Bottom (31.99)

My Fabric Store

Narrowing down this shop was impossible. I could spend my entire budget and then some.


$24.40.  Say WHAT?!  I would love this as a baby girl quilt.


$38.50.  For 14 Fat Quarters.  Which is 3.5 yards.  Want.  Like, yesterday!

And, who could forget Fat Quarter Shop?!

So, there you have it.  Fat quarters.  Buy one, buy one hundred.  I don’t care.  As long as you are buying them.  You can also buy them for me.  Whenever.  Valentines, Birthday, Wife Day, Anniversary, Christmas… (Hey Mom and Hubs!)

So, what are you waiting for – go buy some fabric!


11 thoughts on “Quilting 101: Fat Quarters

  1. Thanks for the info and charts! I have only been quilting for about a year but seem to collect a lot of FQ’s. I love them! I love the look & feel of them! On a day that I can’t afford much and am feeling broke, I can always pop into my favorite quilt shop and pick up a couple of beauties and feel rich! The best part is when I’m in-between big projects I can look through my stash of FQ’s and come up with quick & nifty projects out of them.

  2. I just understood how to use all the fat quarters I had been buying,Loved them at first sight,but didn’t know what to do with them!!!!! (as you can see I am a beginner) THANK YOU!

  3. Have always loved the look of fat quarters but never bought any because I didn’t know how to us them or how big they were but now I do! Thank you and look out fabric shops ’cause here I come! Sorry Hubby!

  4. I’m thinking of experimenting with quilting; never done it before. So, to make a basic 4’X4′ square, how many fat quarters should I buy? Also, what is a fabric quarter?
    Hoping to hear from you. Thanks.

    • When figuring how much you need for a 4×4 foot quilt, first think about how the design is made. If there are lots of small pieces, (under 3×3 inches), you will have to buy slightly more yardage (or fat quarters) because of the fabric in the seams. The normal seam is measured one fourth inch from each side of the ‘piece’, or 1/2″ per ‘piece’. So first check the design. And have fun.

Comments make my day!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s