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Guide to PreCut Fabrics and How to Use Them

You see terms like Rolie Polie, Jelly Roll, Charm Pack, Fat Quarter, and Fat Eight used a lot both on quilting patterns and in blogging tutorials, but do you know what they are? Today we are sharing all about precuts fabrics. Including yardage and quilt size pattern suggestions for each precut on the market! We’ve even included a free printable guide to precut fabrics for you!

stack of precut fabrics on books

I’ve been quilting for years and know that I always forget exactly what size all of the precuts on the market are! Fat eighths especially

I’m excited to share with you some of the knowledge I’ve gained thru my years of quilting with precut fabrics. I’ve broken down the post into sections, one section for each precut type. In each of those sections, I’ve included details about the specific pre-cut along with what size quilt can be made with that precut.

What is a Fabric Precut?

A fabric precut is a piece of fabric that is cut to a specific size by the manufacturer. The pieces of fabric are bundled into packs with several prints and colors of fabric that all coordinate with each other.

blue precut fabrics on white table

Most of the time, they contain all of the prints in a specific fabric collection and are used mainly for creating quilts. Most precut packs contain 42 pieces of fabric, with most Fat Quarter packs containing about 24 pieces.

There are four common quilting precut packs on the market today. A Fat Quarter, a Jelly Roll, a Layer Cake, and a Charm Pack. A few manufacturers also make Mini Charm Pack, Fat Eighth, and 1 1/2″ Roll precut packs.

What does the Term “Fat” Mean in Quilting?

The term “fat,” when used in quilting, refers to a precut that is cut wider than a normal cut of the same amount of fabric. Thus the term “fat.” A 9” x 44” and an 18” x 22” piece of fabric both contain a quarter yard of fabric. The difference is the way the fabric is cut.

Why Buy a Precut Pack of Fabric?

Purchasing a precut fabric pack is a great way to get a sampling of all of the different prints in a specific fabric collection at a reasonable price.

fat quarter bundle fox farm fabric

They also save you time while quilting as some of the cutting is done for you. When shopping, it’s also easier to pick up a precut pack of fabric than have small pieces cut from multiple bolts of fabric. In addition, many fabric stores do not sell pieces smaller than 1/2 yard, so it’s a good way to buy smaller cuts of fabric.

Many quilt pattern designers (myself included) create quilt patterns specifically for precut fabrics.

Precut Fabric Quilt Patterns

Many fabric designers create patterns specifically for precut fabrics. It takes a bit more effort to design this way, but in my opinion, the extra effort upfront is well worth the time saved while sewing the quilt top.

Below I’ve listed recommended quilt patterns for each specific precut in the section with details about the specific precut pack.

What is a Fat Quarter?

fabrics in circle on white table

A Fat Quarter is a cut of fabric that measures approximately 18” x 22”. The amount of usable fabric may be affected by the selvage. This varies by manufacturer. Bundle sizes vary, but most contain 18-24 fat quarters per pack. This number depends on how many prints are in a specific fabric collection, as most Fat Quarter packs only contain one piece of each print.

Total Yardage in Most Fat Quarter Precut Packs

Assuming 24 pieces in a pack, 6 total yards of fabric.

Quilt Size Made from one Fat Quarter Pack

diagram of quilt in blue, red, green and yellow fabrics

If you stitched all of the pieces in a fat quarter pack together, you could make a queen-size quilt. Sewing twenty-four 18 x 22 pieces together into six rows, with four in each row, would yield a quilt that is 80“ x 102”. (You would need to adjust it slightly to square up the edges of the precut and remove the selvage edges).

Things to Make with a Fat Quarter

You can make more than quilts with fat quarters of fabric. Here are some of my favorite fat quarter projects!

Fat Quarter Quilt Patterns

flat lay of colorful fabric, sewing supplies and pattern on white cutting mat

Starlight Sparkler Quilt Pattern

Snuggly Bricks Pattern Quilt tutorial on polkadotchair.com

Snuggly Bricks Quilt {free tutorial}

Triangle Quilt

Simple Sawtooth Star Quilt Pattern

Baby Quilt and Dress made from Fat Quarters

Fat Quarter Baby Quilt

What is a Fat Eighth?

A Fat Eighth measures approximately 9” x 22”. Not all manufacturers sell Fat Eighth bundles.

What is a Jelly Roll, aka Rolie Polie?

stack of precut rolls on table

A Jelly Roll contains strips of fabric, with each strip 2 1/2” wide by the WOF (width of fabric). The number of strips in a roll varies, but most contain 40 strips.

Total Yardage in a Precut Jelly Roll Pack:

Assuming the precut pack contains 40 strips, the total included yardage is 2 1/2 yards. Most Jelly Rolls contain 1-2 pieces of each print in a fabric collection.

Quilt Size from a Precut Jelly Roll:

Sewing 20 of the strips together would yield a baby quilt that is 40” x 42”. You could make two baby quilts from one precut roll.

diagram of quilt in blue, red, green and yellow fabrics

If you’d like to make a quilt in another size, purchase 1 Jelly Roll for a twin quilt, 2 for a queen quilt, and 2-3 for a king-size quilt.

Jelly Roll Quilt Patterns

colorful flag quilt on beach

Breezy Bunting Quilt Pattern

What is a Layer Cake or 10″ Precut Stack?

A Layer Cake is a pre-packaged pack of 10″ x 10″ quilt fabrics. Most packs contain 42 pieces of fabric, each 10“ x 10”. Most contain 1-2 pieces of each print in a fabric collection.

pre cuts of fox farm fabric on cutting mat

Total Yardage in a Precut Pack

Assuming 42 pieces in the precut stack, a layer cake package contains almost 3 yards of fabric.

Quilt Size from a Layer Cake Pack

If your quilt is six squares across and seven squares down, you can make a quilt that is 57“ x 66”.

diagram of quilt in blue, red, green and yellow fabrics

If you’d like to make a quilt in another size, purchase 1 Layer cake for a twin quilt, 2 for a queen quilt, and 2-3 for a king-size quilt.

Layer Cake Quilt Patterns

cropped-giant-bear-paw-quilt-pattern.jpg

Giant Bear Paw Quilt

seas the day nautical quilt on wood beach chairs on beach

Seas the Day Quilt

letterboard quilt

Letterboard Quilt Pattern

collage of two gingham quilts

Gingham Daydream Quilt Pattern

What is a Charm Pack? 5″ Precut Fabric Stack Details

Easy Charm Pack Quilt Pattern with Safari Party Fabrics from Riley Blake Designs

A Charm pack is a pre-packaged stack of 5″ x 5″ quilt fabric squares. Most packs contain 42 squares and contain 1-2 pieces of each print in a fabric collection.

Total Yardage in a Precut Pack:

Approx 7/8 yards of fabric.

Quilt Size Created with 1 Charm Pack:

diagram of quilt in blue, red, green and yellow fabrics

Assuming your quilt is six squares across and seven squares down, you can make a quilt that is 27“ x31”.

diagram of quilt in blue, red, green and yellow fabrics

However, I recommend using two precut packs to make a quilt that is 9 rows of 9 squares, each yielding a baby quilt that is 40” x 40”.

To make quilts in other sizes, purchase 1 pack for a baby quilt, 2 for a crib quilt, 3 for a lap quilt, 4 for a twin quilt, 5-6 for a queen, and 6-7 for a king. (this is just an estimate, and the exact fabric requirements will change with each specific pattern.

Charm Pack Quilt Patterns

white quilt with hearts hanging on flowering tree outdoors

Heart of Hearts Quilt

blue white and gray baby quilt on door

Colorblocked Baby Quilt

Free Printable Precut Fabric Guide

diagram of printable precut fabric sheet

Worried you’ll forget everything you just read? You can get a free printable of most of the information in this article. I’ve also included an inventory sheet to keep track of your fabric purchases and a few very simple quilts created from a precut pack.

diagram of printable precut fabric sheet

To get the printable, simply fill out the form, and we will email you.

Frequently Asked Questions About Precut Fabrics

What Is The Most Popular Size of Precut Fabric?

In my opinion, a Fat Quarter is the most popular size of precut fabric.

Should I Prewash Precut Fabrics?

Personally, I do not prewash any of my quilting fabrics. However, I know many people that always prewash their fabric.
You should not prewash any precut fabric. It may change in size after it is washed and will no longer be the specific size you purchased, which is why you probably purchased it in the first place!
The exception would be a Fat Quarter, which you could prewash since, most of the time, it is meant to be cut into smaller pieces.

What is the Most Versatile Cut of Fabric?

I would say that a 1/2 yard cut or a Fat Quarter cut of fabric is the most versatile.

What are the Cons of Buying Precut Fabrics?

Not all quilt patterns are written for precut fabrics. In addition, you may have some waste if the pattern you are using does not utilize all of the fabrics in the pack. You also can not pick which fabrics are in the pack.

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4 Comments

  1. I may have missed this detail in the article. When you buy a precut that has a pinked edge… that pinked edge is included into the size of ytge precut. For example a 2 1/ 2 inch size is really only 2 1/4 inch of usable fabric as the pinked edgeis cut into the edge. This may not be a problem for your project…but it could potentially be a big problem if you need consistant dimensions for a pattern. Just be aware. I learned the hard way and it took a lot of time to get it right.

    1. If you keep your seam allowances at 1/4″ then you’re ok. It would only be an issue if you’re using a seam allowance less than 1/4″

  2. There are also Honey Buns. They are like Jelly Rolls but only half the amount of strips. 20/21 strips.
    There are mini charm packs too that are 2 1/2 inches.

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