By the Yard: Quilting with Precuts Is a Piece of Cake

Posted by Jen Lopez on Jul 24th 2019

When I first started quilting back in 2003, I was not at all familiar with the lingo. I legitimately thought a “charm pack” was a fabric with small prints of animals or other small figures on them—you know, like a charm bracelet. Similarly, I thought a “fat quarter” was slightly more than a quarter of a yard. At the time, this didn’t make sense to me—why would anyone sell you more than a quarter of a yard for the same price?

Of course, I was wrong about both of these. It can get confusing with all the food-related naming conventions and other verbiage. Let’s try to clear up a bit of the mystery by taking a look at some of the more popular precuts:

  • Charm Pack: A collection of usually 40 precut 5” squares; one of the easiest precuts to use in making a quilt. Also makes an easy and colorful tote bag.
  • Layer Cake: A collection of 40 precut 10” squares.
  • Jelly Roll: A collection of 40 precut 2 ½” strips, 44/45” long (i.e. the width of the fabric, a.k.a. WOF). Great for “Jelly Roll Race” and other quick-to-assemble quilts.
  • Bali Pop: A Batik “jelly roll” folded flat on a card to look like a popsicle. Bali Pops are Hoffman brand and are usually batiks.
  • Crackers: Another Hoffman batik product; this is their version of a layer cake.
  • Snaps: The Hoffman batik version of a charm pack.
  • Minis: A collection of precut 2 ½” squares; really fun for small projects such as doll quilts or placemats.
  • Fat Quarter: A 22” x 18” piece of fabric; it is basically a 1/2 yard cut in half along the length of the fabric. There are many quilt patterns that cater to the ever-useful fat quarter.
  • Fat Eighth: Here is where is gets tricky—a fat eighth can be either 11” x 18” or 22” x 9”, although typically it is the former.

Precuts are almost always fabrics selected from a particular collection, so the colors go together beautifully. I don’t know about you, but for me the hardest part of making a quilt is always choosing fabrics that complement each other.

No matter how you slice it, working with precuts is a fun and easy way to get quilting!

Please join us here every other Wednesday for another fun, fiber-filled installment of By the Yard. You can also find the newest development from By the Yard, the 2020 Wall Calendar for Quilters at www.bytheyardcomics.com/cal, sure to keep you in stitches all year long.

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