Pre-Cut quilting fabrics have taken the quilting world by storm. They make excellent fits, take the guesswork out of matching or coordinating fabrics, and cut down on the time required to quilt, especially if you’re using them for a project that doesn’t require more cutting. Some of them are also highly versatile and can be used in sewing projects as well. Jelly rolls and fat quarters make excellent bias tape, for example.
You may have seen some of these at your local quilting store or online and wondered whether they’re worth it or where to begin.
Different Sizes for Different Purposes
It all started with fat quarters. Fat quarters are a quarter yard of fabric cut into a rectangle, typically 18” by 21” in size. Plenty of quilters collect fat quarters because they’re cheap and come in a variety of great patterns that you can always match later. Fat quarters are just one of the sizes of this particular cut of fabric. You’ll always have to cut it down to use it, but fat quarters come in a huge selection and are sometimes sold in coordinating bundles to make it even easier for you to get started on a project.
Along the lines of fat quarters, some quilting shops also stock or make other sizes, such as fat eights (which are 9” by 21”), great for smaller projects, or half yards, which are 18” by 44” and go across the entire width of the fabric.
All cuts sold this way are suitable for quilting and 100% cotton.
Precision Pre-Cut Fabrics
Atop the more traditional pre-cut quilting fabrics, some fabric companies have capitalized on the convenience as a way to make it easy for people to find and use an entire collection of coordinating fabrics designed to be used together. Instead of just offering these collections in fat bundles, they will also offer them in pre-cut shapes that require little if any cutting in order to use them in a quilt top. Charm packs, mini charm packs, jelly rolls, and turnovers are cut exactly into various shapes. While Charm packs and mini charms (at 5” and 2.5” respectively) are well known, and jelly roll quilts are becoming more popular as people are learning new ways to use them creatively, there are other shapes that are less common that allow you to easily assemble other types of quilts. Turnovers are triangle shaped pieces. Jolly bars are rectangular pieces. Layer cakes, though less popular, are 10” squares that are perfect for larger prints that will look good in a framed “window” effect type of quilt. But don’t let the original or most common use of these pre-cut fabrics stop you from getting creative. Many quilters still make significant cuts into their pre-cut pieces for various reasons, and the internet is full of ideas others have shared. Moda in particular has a blog dedicated to showcasing the ideas of quilters doing amazing things with their products.
New pre-cut fabric shapes and sizes are coming out all the time. Don’t be afraid to experiment with the current cuts or new cuts as they show up. Buy them for yourself! Buy them for your friends! Use them to help you bust through some of the rest of your stash. They’re convenient and fun, and might just be the inspiration you need to finish a gorgeous project without having to worry about whether your seams are going to line up, because the cutting is done for you.
For more great tips and ideas, stay with Quilting Ace. If you have some pre-cut fabric desperate for you, check out this article on charm pack quilts or this one that has some great jelly roll quilts.