Fabric stores and quilting shops often have crazy deals on bundles of fabric called fat quarters. So when you find one of these too-good-to-pass-up deals, you’ll want to have an idea of how many fat quarters you need to make a quilt.
I’ve seen some bundles of 25 quarters for just $25 – that’s an awesome deal! Trying to buy all that fabric separately would greatly increase the cost, at least 3 to 4 times what you’d pay for the bundle.
How many fat quarters do you need for a quilt?
This is quite a subjective question since it depends on the size of the quilt you’re making, so here’s a table adapted from the superb information on this site:
Minimum number of fat quarters needed
Bare minimum amount vs conservative amount
The bare minimum amount of fat quarters is taking into consideration a 1/4″ edge around the fabric for the seam, and no room for selvedges.
Realistically, you’re not going to do this because normally you don’t make quilts by just sewing up large chunks of fabric together. The whole fun of quilting is the smaller pieces and designs.
Also, the minimum amount does not account for selvedges, which you will probably need to give the fabric a proper finish.
The conservative amount, on the other hand, has the 1/4″ edge for the seam plus a 2 inch allowance for the selvedge, and is a much more reasonable way of approaching a quilt.
Size of the quilt is also going to make a big difference!
How big is a fat quarter?
Fat quarters are special quarter yard cuts of fabric. Normally, the grain of the fabric is 44″ long, and if you picked up a quarter yard of fabric, you’d end up with one strip of fabric that’s 9″ x 44″.
These are useful for long strips but when it comes to cutting out squares for quilts, you won’t be able to cut that many different sizes, as you’ll be limited by the 9″ height.
Fat quarters are actually made using the area measurement!
So one whole yard of fabric is 36″ by 44″, and a fat quarter is a square quarter of the whole fabric, or 18″ x 22″ inches.
It’s still a quarter of the fabric, except it’s cut in the other direction to give you a square instead of a strip.
Now that you have a 18″ x 22″ square of fabric, you can cut a LOT more shapes and squares out of it that if you had a strip.
You could cut two 10″ squares and four 5″ squares and still have a strip of fabric left over. How awesome is that?
How much can you cut from a fat quarter?
- 99 x 2″ squares
- 56 x 2.5″ squares
- 42 x 3″ squares
- 30 x 3.5″ squares
- 20 x 4″ squares
- 16 x 4.5″ squares
- 12 x 5″ squares
- 12 x 5.5″ squares
- 9 x 6″ squares
- 6 x 6.5″ squares
Bear in mind that this is what you can get out of a single fat quarter. Now you can understand the advantage of getting entire bundles of this fabric!