Quilting is an amazing hobby, but it comes with a lot of terminology that some new quilters struggle to learn. While each new field and hobby has a learning curve, there are ways to make learning how to quilt easier, such as by finding guides to explain certain practices and terms. One of those terms is precut fabric collections, and we’ve compiled the following guide regarding everything you should know about precut fabric collections to help you out. Just keep reading to learn more and get ahead of the learning curve.
What Are Precut Fabric Collections?
Precut fabric collections fulfill their namesake—they’re precut pieces of fabric, normally all from the same fabric collections, that you can buy and use for a quilt. All collections are different, and there are various precut fabric sizes you can find that will help you assemble your quilt. Many beginner and experienced quilters enjoy using these collections because it makes preparing the quilt easier and guarantees that all your fabric looks good together.
What Sizes Are Available?
You can find various sizes of precut fabric and fabric collections depending on your quilting needs. Each size has a corresponding name that will help you remember its size.
This is one of the most popular cuts since the rectangles are easy to use and cut. This, in turn, makes it easier for you to cut this fabric into smaller rectangles or squares, if desired. Fat quarters typically measure 18 inches by 22 inches, although you may find some that are only 21 inches long. They are called fat quarters because if you sew four of them together, they make a yard of fabric.
A fat eighth is about half of a fat quarter, or 1/8th of a yard of fabric. While they’re the same length as a fat quarter, their short side is only 9 inches instead of 18 inches. However, some versions of the fat eighth measure 11 inches by 18 inches, making them look more like shrunken fat quarters than true fat eighths. Despite these measurement differences, most quilters have no problems using this precut fabric size.
If you find it easier to sew with squares than rectangles, then you should try charm packs. These packs of precut fabric contain 5-inch by 5-inch squares, and most (if not all) of these fabric squares are from the same fabric collection. Since charm packs are large, featuring around 40 squares of fabric, you can expect to find duplicate squares, but most quilters don’t mind this repetition. Together, these squares add up to about 3/4 yard.
Mini Charm Packs
For those working on projects that require smaller squares, mini charm packs are ideal. They feature around 40 2.5-inch by 2.5-inch squares. Like regular-sized charm packs, most of these fabric squares come from the same collection, so they’ll help you coordinate throughout your project. Together, these 40 squares add up to about a half yard of fabric.
If you’d rather have something bigger, layer cakes feature about 40 10-inch by 10-inch fabric squares. Like the charm and mini charm packs, most of the squares are from the same collection, and they total almost 3 yards of fabric if you add them together. They are a great value, especially if you want a lot of fabric from a specific collection.
2.5-Inch Strip Rolls
You don’t have to build your quilt purely out of squares. Two-and-a-half-inch strip rolls feature about 40 strips of fabric, measuring around 2.5 inches tall and 43 inches wide. While many quilters call this size roll a “jelly roll,” the name is trademarked by a specific fabric company, so unless you have a roll in this size from them, you should call it a 2.5-inch strip roll. There also is a junior size of this roll, which has around 20 strips of the same size fabric.
1.5-Inch Strip Rolls
This type of strip roll also has a delicious pseudonym: honey bun. These strips are a thinner version of the 2.5-inch strip rolls we described above. They’re only 1.5 inches tall, as their name suggests, and 43 inches wide. Combined, they make 1 and 2/3rd yards of fabric.
5-Inch Strip Rolls
Also known as dessert rolls, these strips of fabric are 5 inches tall and 43 inches wide, offering a larger version of the two rolls we mentioned above. This size is less common, but some quilters prefer it, and as you learn and grow in this hobby, you’ll discover the sizes you like to work with too. Together, these stripes make 2 and 3/4th yards of fabric.
What Shapes Are Available?
You can probably guess what shapes are available in precut fabrics: squares and rectangles. We consider strips rectangles as well. Although these are the most common precut fabric shapes, you can also find hexagons and triangles from specific fabric companies. The hexagons are 6 inches by 6 inches, and the triangles are 6-inch half squares.
How Should You Care for Precut Fabrics?
Once you acquire the precut fabric collections you want, you have to know how to care for them. Depending on the fabric manufacturer, you may have to prewash your precut fabric. You’ll see these directions, or lack thereof, on most of the bigger pieces, but almost no manufacturer requires you to prewash fabric strips since they fray more easily and often tangle in a washing machine. Most of the time, though, prewashing it is up to you.
Along with prewashing, some precut fabric collections require that you press them before using them. Again, you should find these directions on the fabric when you purchase it. You can expect to find these specifications on the larger fabric cuts, such as fat quarters and charm packs. Most strip rolls do not feature pressing requirements.