It used to be that quilters bought multiple yards of fabric to make their quilts. They did not have what we commonly refer to today as pre-cuts.
However, the first pre-cut to change the world of quiltingappeared in the mid-1980s.
The term fat quarter first appeared in the book Country Needlework by Margaret Boyle.
Quilters began asking for this smaller cut of fabric and overnight the quilting industry changed.
Fabric companies started cutting their fabric collections into handy fat quarter bundles and quilters bought them. They could afford to buy an entire collection by their favorite designer.
Pattern designers wrote books and simple patterns to expand the fat quarters potential and quilters loved it. Walk into any quilt shop today, and you will find fat quarters bundled together based on color, genre, background, and theme.
Most shops also offer single fat quarters already cut from the bolts.
However, if you cannot find a bundle or single fat quarter to your liking, you can always ask the shop to cut fat quarters for you. Most shops will gladly honor this request. What is a fat quarter?
A typical one yard cut from a bolt of fabric measures 36” long by 44”-45” wide. A fat quarter refers to a cut of fabric that is 18” x 21”.
When looking at a bundle of fat quarters, you may find some are slightly larger or smaller.
Why the discrepancy?
It depends on who cut the fat quarter. Manufacturers have machines set to cut pre-determined sizes, so they often have a precise cut.