Monday, August 28, 2006

Fat Quarters

These two pictures are the fat quarters that I have been collecting to make a Yellow Brick Road quilt for my bed. I wanted a quilt that said, "Spring", so I have been saving florals and blenders for a few months now. I have machine quilted several quilts from this pattern for customers; I will now have one for myself.

For those who are unfamiliar with quilting language; a fat quarter is a yard of fabric which has been cut into 4 pieces, first down the fold and then in half width wise. Most quilting cottons are sold on the bolt with a single fold down the middle. When opened, the fabric is 44" wide. If you were to ask the shop to cut a quarter yard of fabric, they would cut the piece 9" wide. You would end up with a piece of fabric 9" x 44". Another way to get a quarter yard of fabric is to cut a half yard (or 18" x 44") and then subcut down down the fold to end up with two pieces of fabric 18" x 22" otherwise known as a fat quarter--the same amout of fabric, just a different shape.

So, in summary, a fat quarter is a quarter yard of fabric cut on the fold to produce a wider yield--approximately 18" x 22".

The following is a useful reference for what you can cut from a fat quarter.

99 - 2" squares
50 - 2 1/2" squares
42 - 3" squares
30 - 3 1/2" squares
20 - 4" squares
16 - 4 1/2" squares
12 - 5" squares
12 - 5 1/2" squares
9 - 6" squares
6 - 6 1/2" squares

In Canada we use the Metric System and fabric is sold by the meter. Because almost all quilting patterns are written for imperial measurements (inches and yards), we must convert from yards to meters when purchasing our fabric.

Some useful conversions are:

1 yard = .91440 meters

1 meter = 1.09360 yards

1 yard = 36 inches

1 meter = 39.37 inches


  1. looks very spring to me with those fabrics!

  2. Those fabrics will be so much fun to play with!

  3. The fabrics are gorgeous. The math - daunting. Not being a math gal, I'm grateful I don't have to make the conversions *s*

  4. If those don't say spring then I don't know what will, Norma! Going to make one gorgeous quilt when you decide you are done collecting. Maybe after this customer quilt is done you can get started on something that still looks springy-summery?

  5. So how will you do a YBR using your Metrically (Is that a word?)cut fabrics?

    Do you trim to the imperical measurement - or do you change the pattern to accept metric measurements. (After seeing your conversions - I sure hope you trim your meter to a yard!)

  6. the fabrics are lovely. Laughed at your conversions -- being from Canada myself. I generally get 1 meter if a pattern calls for a yard, or I've calculated I'll need a yard, and call the difference "Flex" space for uneven cutting, errors etc. It also feeds the scrap bins nicely :-)

  7. I think I've seen two or three of those fabrics at Joann's. :)

    I also like that quilt but don't know how to make it :)

  8. those are some pretty fabrics!!

  9. I think you "foreign" quilters have the advantage of meters! Sure gives you a little "bump" room. :)

  10. Those are gorgeous fabrics! I have the FQ that is on top of the stack in the first picture. Your YBR quilts will be very pretty.

  11. When the pattern calls for 1 meter, I still buy 1 yard - gives me a tiny pinch for the scrap bin! Great Spring-y fabrics - can't wait to see how your YBR works up - they all looks so different depending upon the fabric!



  12. You said:

    "a fat quarter is a quarter yard of fabric which has been cut into 4 pieces"

    but wouldn't that make them sixteenth yard bits? Confusing.

    I'd say that a fat quarter is ½ yard of fabric that's been cut into two pieces. Or a yard of fabric that's been cut into four pieces.

  13. Love the fabrics you have collected. We use metric in New Zealand too and are quite used to just converting to inches when quilting.( we used feet and inches previously and I can still visualise inches better than centimetres.)
    Please show us the quilt as you are making it! Hope it goes together easily.

  14. AHHHHHHHHHHH Spring! My favorite time of the year.

  15. What a gorgeous bunch of fabric in those two pictures! I think that is going to make a really spectacular Yellow Brick Road, and I'm so glad you are doing it for yourself. Sometimes we get so busy making quilts for those we love, we forget how much we'd enjoy one..*VBS*
    The information on the "how many" regarding FQs and then the metric conversion is very helpful information. Thanks for thinking to share that. The metric I will ignore*VBS*because I can safely do that, but I'l be sure to make a copy of the other one...very helpful. Hugs, Finn

  16. Beautiful florals! The quilt will be stunning!


  17. Love the fabrics. Thanks for the conversion charts too.

  18. That is a gorgeous set of fabric, and will make a very beautiful springy quilt. I'm so glad I don't have to worry about doing all those conversions! Its hard enough for me to follow directions when they are properly laid out in front of me.

  19. yummy fabrics--looks like my "floral basket"--the place where I keep all my floral fabrics. It's going to make a gorgeous quilt--i can't wait to see it when it's done!

  20. Those will make a beautiful YBR quilt and yes, very springy! You will share pictures once it's done, right?

    Judy L.

  21. Love the florals, not the math. lol
    It should make a great "spring" quilt.
    I also love the drive thru corn barn. What a great idea!

  22. 99 2 inch squares from one fat quarter. That's amazing.

    I think your quilt will be very spring like with those fabrics. I just love collecting fat quarters.