What is a fat quarter?

When I taught we threw around all kinds of acronyms and most of the time, I knew what they stood for. Since I retired, they have added new ones so every once in a while, I stop my daughter and say, what does that mean? Lingo is part of any group, workplace or hobby. On my Quilting page I sometimes get messages or questions about terms I throw around. So today I decided to address those questions. In this blog I explain What is a fat quarter? While we’re at it, let’s examine some other quilter jargon!

fqre1This is the question I’ve been asked the most, What is a fat quarter?  ? (Or should we be hip and say Phat quarter?)

You can see that the dark orange is a fat quarter and the light orange is a traditional quarter yard. A yard is 36 inches by whatever the width of the fabric is. Have you noticed that it used to always be 44 inches and now can be only 42? Not liking that trend.

At any rate, a quarter yard was 9 inches by 44″ and a half yard was 18″ by 44 inches. If you cut the half yard in half at the 22″ point you get a piece of fabric which is 18″ by 22″ or a fat quarter. It’s still just a quarter yard of fabric but the width is fatter and quilters feel they can do more with it. And you can unless you are making a strip quilt and want lots of different wof (width of fabric) strips.  I have a blog on 6 projects I made from a fat quarter bundle. You can read it here!

OK, onto the next mystery. fqre2 Charm packs.

I don’t buy a lot of fat quarters, I tend to buy a half yard but I am a sucker for charm packs. I probably have 40 of them. They are fairly inexpensive so I toss them on the counter at quilt shops and think, put ’em on my tab. Yep, I am quite the big spender.

They are 5″ square collections of fabric. They are priced differently depending on how many there are in the pack. There can be from 20 to 50, make sure you read on the back.

They are great for quilts or bags!


Layer cakes are charm packs on steroids. OK, not exactly but they are 10 inch squares. Now I don’t know about you but I haven’t seen too many square layer cakes but what the heck, it works. And it leads into all kinds of food names for other precuts. All of these packs are precuts, they save you the time of doing the initial cut.

Often you sew them together and cut them however, depending on how clever the pattern is. If a pattern calls for a sugar bun or something foody, it’s a precut.  Read on the back of the label and you will get it!

Last one is a jelly roll. fqre4 These and layer cakes are often around 40.00 so I have only purchased three of each.  Maybe four.

A jelly roll is precut strips, these are 2.5” but there are some which are narrower. Read the label as you are looking at them. Buying precuts makes me happy and sewing with them?

That makes me Sew Happy!

Want to see fabric, threads and quilts I love as well? Check out my Facebook page. Like the page and join the conversation or at least smile at my quilt jokes! If you want to keep reading my blog, you can subscribe. To do so, type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button. That’s all, you’re done. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.

Want to read post about precut quilts I have made? Then click here or here.

Leave a comment