Fat Quarter? Charm Pack? Jelly Roll? What does it all mean?! Whether you’re a beginner Quilter or a seasoned pro, pre-cut names can be confusing. You might be asking what EVEN is a Pre-cut??
A pre-cut is the name given to a bundle of fabric that has been cut to a uniform size and sold together, simply put it is quilting fabric that has been cut for you. They come in a variety of sizes, including Fat Quarters, Fat Eighths, Jelly Roll/Design Rolls, Layer Cakes, Charm Packs & Mini Charm packs. They normally contain fabrics from one designer collection meaning the fabrics coordinate together. You also might be asking why you would want the fabric cut for you? Well, they can be a huge time saver! Say, a quilt is using lots of 5” square blocks. Instead of having to cut them all (and be accurate!), you could just use a Charm Pack! They’re also super beginner-friendly.
So, today I’m going to go through all the different types of pre-cuts!
(Please note, in the UK we use metric to sell fabric but still use imperial to cut fabric for quilts.)
Meterage/Fabric By The Metre
So, this is all where it begins! Meterage isn’t normally thought of as a pre-cut, but a lot of pre-cuts are based on a metre or yard of fabric so it’s a good place to start to understand how the fabric is cut. Quilting Cotton generally comes on a “bolt”. This is normally a continuous length of fabric that has been folded widthways so that the two selvage edges meet and then wrapped around cardboard. Quilting Fabric by the metre is generally 112cm wide (selvage to selvage) and the amount your purchase will be cut from the length. So for example, if you purchase a metre of Quilting Fabric it will measure 1m long by 112cm wide. You can purchase whatever length of Quilt Fabric you require and this will generally be a contentious length. You can then cut this fabric into whatever sizes you need.
Half Metre Bundle
A half metre bundle is as simple as it sounds. Each piece of quilting fabric in the bundle will measure 50cm long by 112cm wide, so you’ll receive a half metre of each fabric. These are a super popular way to own all the fabrics in a given collection as the amount of fabric allows for a variety of projects to be made. There are also lots of quilt patterns that are “half metre friendly” which means the cutting layouts are ideal for fabric of this size.
Fat Quarter Bundle
Even if you don’t know much about Quilting, you would have seen the term “Fat Quarter”. It’s one of the most common cuts of fabric around! Here at Floss Candy, it’s the default cut if you purchase one quarter metre of Quilting Fabric. So, why is it called a Fat Quarter? Well, it’s the opposite of a Long Quarter which is cut similarly to a half metre, so it would measure 25cm by 112cm. Very long! A Fat Quarter on the overhand is 50 x 55cm approximately. First, you cut a half-metre length of Quilting Fabric and then fold it selvage to selvage and cut through the fold. A half metre of fabric will produce two Fat Quarters. A Fat Quarter is the same amount of fabric as a Long Quarter but is shorter and fatter. A lot of cuts for quilting don’t require long pieces of fabric, so therefore a Fat Quarter is ideal and wastes less fabric.
Fat Eighth Bundle
Less common than Fat Quarter Bundle, Fat Eighths are even smaller. They’re great for smaller projects or those that use a lot of different fabrics but in small quantities. A Fat Eighth is half again of a Fat Quarter however, this can be cut width or lengthways.
Jelly Roll/Design Roll
Here’s an unusual pre-cut for you! Jelly Rolls/Design rolls are made up of thin strips of fabric that are 2.5” (6.35) wide by the width of the fabric (approx. 112cm). There are usually around 40 strips of fabric in this bundle. You may be asking, what can I use a Jelly Roll/Design Roll for? Well, there are lots of quilt patterns out there that use this pre-cut to create beautiful designs! You can create Jelly Roll Race Quilts or even Adventureland by Suzy Quilts! Imagine having to cut all those strips by hand, no thank-you! Some companies cut the strips so they fray less, similar to using pinking scissors.
Layer Cakes are a stack of 10 x 10” squares, they are the big sister of Charm Packs! Like a Jelly Roll/Design Roll they contain around 40 squares of fabric. While not as common as other pre-cuts, Layer Cakes are great for making super easy beginner quilts.
Charm Packs are a stack of 5 x 5” squares, usually containing around 40 pieces of fabric. They are another common pre-cut and also due to their size, make fantastic gifts! You can also make an easy small quilt using just one pack.
Mini Charm Packs
Mini Charm Packs are super dinky and cute! They’re a stack of 2.5 x 2.5” squares and generally contain the name number of fabrics as their larger counterparts. There’s something so charming about this little bundle. I think these are great for smaller projects, as well as adding to larger ones. I made a huge scrap quilt and incorporated several Mini Charm Packs into it! These also make a cute gift, especially as they’re inexpensive and you can easily have a small collection of them.