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What is a Fat Quarter?

Fat quarters of floral cotton fabrics hanging on s hooks from a chrome rail

A fat quarter seems a pretty odd name for a measurement of fabric so it is no wonder our Fabric Love ladies are always being asked what it is! In this short article, I will show you how and why a fat quarter is named as such and why fat quarters can come in different measurement.

The "quarter" part is fairly straightforward. A quarter in this instance is a quarter of a one metre length of fabric. We all know a quarter is when something is cut into four equally sized pieces but when it comes to fabric, the dimensions of that quarter make the difference between being able to make something with the fabric or just having a skinny strip of fabric that isn't much use!   

A metre of denim fabric measuring 110cm wide is cut into fat quarters

So why "fat"? Well picture a metre length of fabric. That metre of fabric could have been cut from a roll or bolt measuring from between 110cm (45 inches) wide to 150cm (60 inches). If you cut the metre of fabric in half horizontally and then half again vertically, you will have a piece of fabric that is 50cm in length by between 55cm and 75cm wide. The picture above shows a roll width of 110cm and the picture below shows fat quarters cut from a wide roll of 150cm width. Either way, the fabric is wider than it is long hence why it is called "fat". This also explains why fat quarters can come in different sizes, it really depends on the width of the roll it was cut from.

A piece of denim is measured at 150cm wide and 100cm long and cut into fat quarters

Quite often, sewing projects, in particular quilting and patchwork, require lots of small pieces of fabric and for many quilting patterns, you would want to repeat the same printed design several times. Fat quarters are often sold in fat quarter bundles containing a few different coordinated designs so purchasing fabric in this way allows you enough fabric for many patchwork pieces of different designs for your project. 

A collection of fat quarter bundles in floral designs


Of course, many other sewing and craft projects only need a small amount of fabric and fat quarter sewing projects are growing in popularity. There are even books available dedicated to projects that only require a fat quarter of fabric! Our team at Fabric Love are all keen sewists and we try to share all our work with our customers so why not check out some of our sewing tutorials that only require a fat quarter of fabric?


All of our fabrics can be purchased by the fat quarter as well as being cut in any length from the roll. We have a great selection of fabric prints, from kids designs to florals, spots and stars and plain fabrics. If you are looking for coordinated fabric bundles then check out our range of fat quarter bundles which takes the hard work out of coordinating fabrics for your projects.

 

 

Kelly Connell

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