How Big Is A Fat Quarter? Cuts, Guidance & Sizing Standards Explained

How Big Is A Fat Quarter

If you love sewing, chances are you are into design as well. You want to come up with your own clothes – something that you dream about, but you cannot always find in commerce. You have your own vision, be it a crazy one or a super simple design that has no logos and accessories. All in all, at this point, you need to do some research when it comes to finding fabrics.

You can buy fabric from a local fabric store, but chances are you will find cheaper options online. Either way, fabric is sold in different ways. You can get a yard of fabric, pre cut fabrics, jelly rolls and so on. Fabric manufacturers also sell things in various ways. Most commonly, you will find fat quarters. But then, you might ask yourself – how big is a fat quarter?

How Big Is A Fat Quarter

So, you have a new project going on. You check out a few tutorials and you get your sizes set. But then, sizes are given in inches or centimeters. You go shop for fabric and you find quarters and fat quarters. What do they mean? You must become familiar with fabric sizes before making a decision.

A piece of fabric given as a fat quarter will practically measure 50×55 centimeters. In inches, the fat quarter measures 19.6×21.6 inches. How is it obtained? Simple. Most manufacturers will cut half a meter – 50 centimeters – from the full fabric. Then, they set the size and cut it again in order to achieve the regular quarter. Obviously, they measure everything upfront.

Different types of fabrics are given in different measurements. You might get one fat quarter, but you can also get a half yard, a yard cut or a regular quarter. When it comes to fat quarters and fabric sizes, this measurement is usually given for quilting fabrics. They usually require a smaller piece of fabric, yet the overall size gives you enough to play with – some extra.


Fat Quarters Versus Regular Quarters Yards

Whether you are into a new tutorial or you go on a different guide, you may also notice the quarter yard advertised by some tailors. A classic quarter yard is about nine inches across. In terms of width, it depends on the fabric. Since most quilting fabrics are 44 inches in width, the classic quarter yard is 9×44 inches. Again, it depends on the type of fabric you purchase.

Regular quarter yards are used for all kinds of sewing projects. However, given their size, they are most commonly recommended in strip piecing. The technique involves using long strips of material. They are normally sewn together in one piece before being cut into the parts required. They are quite handy and popular when making quilt blocks.

It does not mean that you have to stick to this certain measurement standard for strip piecing. For example, you are free to use a fat quarter in terms of strip piecing as well. Come up with more strip sets of various lengths until you get the required amount of parts for your pattern. Practically, it is all about your creativity and imagination, yet certain sizing standards help preventing fabric waste and loss.

YouTube What is a Fat Quarter vs. A Quarter Yard of Fabric

What Makes The Fat Quarter Fabric So Popular

There are more reasons behind the popularity of a fat quarter. For instance, the fat quarter is ideal for sewing projects involving quilts or other relatively square pieces. Pieces are standard, but small variations in sizes are accepted. Many projects involve sizes similar to the fat quarter, hence its popularity.

The fat quarter is a front runner if you are after versatility. It makes no difference if your project involves patchwork, appliqué or other operations. Given the high versatility and popularity, many shops – both online and offline – provide a wide array of assortments. They are usually stacked and ready to ship.

Moreover, fat quarters are relatively easy to work into quilts – new, sampler, scrap and other types. Get the fat quarter and you can start working on your quilt with minimum preparation. As for the size, you get enough fabric to come up with pretty much any type of block in terms of patterns. Chances are you will have some leftovers as well.

How about the actual usage then? A fat quarter makes it relatively simple to come up with big blocks – you would not be able to do it with a regular quarter yard. You can also come up with long strips suitable for all kinds of sewing projects.


Other Similar Options For Sewing Projects

While the fat quarter is the most popular choice out there, the fat eighth is not to be overlooked either. Many shops stack fabrics in this size too. In theory, it is half of a fat quarter. Unlike the fat quarter, the fat eighth does not feature a standard size.

Differences can easily exceed a few inches here and there, which may seriously affect your project. Therefore, if you need a fat eighth, make sure you inquire about the size upfront.


Most Common Ways To Cut A Fat Quarter

There are literally dozens or maybe even hundreds of ways to cut a fat quarter into useful patches – most specifically for quilts. Ideally, you should plan everything upfront and decide on the total amount of blocks you may need, as well as their sizes. It will help with planning, as well as fabric waste.

Keep in mind that small differences in sizes may apply based on the manufacturer. Also, if you prewash the fabric, it might shrink a little, go distorted or even fray. Here are some of the easiest ways to cut a fat quarter for the most common applications:

  • 20 different squares of 3.875×3.875 inches
  • Six 7.25×7.25 inch squares
  • One 12 inch square, two six inch squares and four five inch squares
  • 48 2.5 inch squares


Frequently Asked Question

Still unsure about the fat quarter? Here are some of the most common misunderstandings out there.


How many inches is a fat quarter?

A fat quarter is normally 19.6×21.6 inches. Sometimes, it might be given in 18×22 inch sizes. Small differences apply from one manufacturer to another. If you are very specific about the sizing, inquire upfront. Either way, make sure you have a bit of extra fabric left. You do not want to waste it, but unexpected surprises may cause you to stop the project and buy more fabric.


How many fat quarters are in a yard?

A yard of fabric is larger than the fat quarter. In fact, there are four fat quarters in one yard. Cutting four fat quarters out of a yard requires precision and a bit of common sense. Simply cut the yard in half, then cut each half in another half.


Why is it called a fat quarter?

The fat quarter is called this way because of the cutting method. A yard is cut into four equal parts. Therefore, you get a quarter. Ages ago, the yard was a standard measurement in the industry. With time, different projects and needs asked for new measurements, so this is how the fat quarter came out. It is a quarter. But due to the way it is cut, it provides a fatter cut.


Is a fat quarter enough to make a mask?

A fat quarter is more than enough to make two large masks.



Bottom line, it is easy to understand what makes the fat quarter so popular. It is a standard size that helps in a plethora of different projects.

Meta: How big is a fat quarter? Discover the origins of a fat quarter, the reasons behind its popularity and clever ways to cut it.


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