Fat Quarter – Cutting It Up

We are so excited to snatch up a little fat quarter and take it home….but now what?!  How do we get this fat, kind of lop sided piece into something that is useable?

If I don’t have something in mind or you are not making a big fat quarter quilt or bag…then it kind of just sits there on the shelf {still looking pretty though}.  Waiting, waiting.

Today we will tackle the fear that we have of cutting our fabric…..

How to cut your fat quarter into popular sizes you can use / patchworkposse.com

What’s the size of a fat quarter compared to a regular cut quarter?  It’s the same size actually, but the ‘fat’ refers to it being cut into a square piece instead of a long and skinny piece.  It can be more useful sometimes to gather fabric in this size, and to use, depending on the pattern.

To cut a fat quarter from one yard of fabric you would fold the yard in half, typically this measurement is 42″.   Open the fabric and cut on the fold line.  This will give you two big chucky fat quarters sized 18″ X 21″

How to cut a fat quarter from one yard

There are a few ways to get them into workable ‘normal’ or common shapes and sizes.

First off, let’s figure out How To Cut Up A Fat Quarter Into Popular Precut Sizes With No Waste (two layer cakes, four charm squares and one jelly roll slice).

Cut your fat quarter into layer cake, jelly roll strip and charm pack

Depending on what sizes your patches or squares that you cut-   Each one will have a little bit of extra or ‘wasted’ strip {never do I waste this strip though!}

Or you could cut it into 4– 9″ squares-

cut up your fat quarter into usable sizes

You can also get 25 patches that are 3 1/2 inch (cut size) squares.

16 patches that are 4 1/2 inch (cut size) squares.

12 patches that are 5 inch (cut size) squares.

How about half square triangles–

You can get 40 half-square triangles for 3 inch patches from a fat quarter.  To get them, you would cut squares that measure 3 7/8 inches –match them up right sides together to a different 3 7/8 inch square, draw a line from corner to corner, sew on each side of the drawn line, cut on the drawn line. half square triangle.

You can get 24 half-square triangles for 4 inch patches from a fat quarter. Follow the above instructions, cutting the squares to measure 4 7/8 inches.

Use any of these to mix and match also -for instance 10  3 1/2″ squares and 20 half square triangles.

How about strips only?

7– 2 1/2 strips

6– 3″ strips

phew! So many numbers….they have you spinning? Me too!

The purpose of all of this it to show you that pre cut fabric can be great…but sometimes we need some help to think outside of the box.  Show you that you can move beyond the size that was given to you, and put it into something that is workable, more your style if you need to.

Never will the fat quarter stump you again!

If you need help remembering what sizes those precut fabrics are– clickety click here to download your own precut fabric size chart you can carry in your wallet!

yardage chart printable. Know what you need cut at the fabric counter. patchworkposse

Here are all the printable cards too just in case you need something different.

Learn how to fold your fat quarters {if you’re not cutting them up}

Make a Fat Quarter Christmas Tree 

Add up your fabric requirements here.

Have any other measurements or tricks when it comes to using fat quarters? Leave me a note in the comments and tell me all about it!

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  1. Lori

    30 September

    Hello Becky, I like the layer cake size with the 5″, great for the drunkerds path I am working on…….

  2. Becky

    30 September

    Layer cakes are a bunch of fun aren’t they?!

  3. Cathie in UT

    1 October

    My problem is that I just don’t want to cut them up until I know what I am using them for! LOL Sure enough I will find a project that starts with…take a fat quarter(s) and….
    Thanks for the ideas though I can see some of my fq’s heading that way

  4. Judy Balek

    1 October

    My favorite right now are all strips cut length wise in various sizes.

  5. Becky

    2 October

    Judy- I love the various sizes idea…

  6. Krissy

    2 December

    Thanks for doing all that math for us! I know some of us can get intimidated by it.

  7. catrina

    7 December

    thanks! I’ve pinned this!

  8. Shannan

    13 December

    I think thе admin of this website iѕ in fact working hard foor his site, аs here every stuff
    iss quality bаsed material.

  9. Juna Hamilton

    18 July

    Thanks for the info this is very helpful and I really appreciate your chart.

  10. Evie H

    6 October

    I think you missed a step. A fat quarter is cut from ONE HALF yard of fabric.

  11. Ruth Bradford

    6 October

    T’would be really nice to be able to print those diagrams of the fat quarter cuts. “Print selection” does not work well….cuts the diagram in half. Same goes for some of your tutorials….would love to be able to pirnt them. Thanks, Becky.

  12. martha

    17 March

    i was wondering it made sense to cup all 4 sides of the fat quarters to make all sides even?

  13. Becky

    18 March

    Really, you just need one side even when you begin cutting. It can be squared up later when you cut into smaller pieces. Does that make sense?

  14. CC

    3 August

    Hello, I purchased some moda 1/8 fat quarters – I do not know whether to wash or not wash before starting my quilt, can you assist? I’m afraid they might shrink? what do you think? Thank you in advance.

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