If you do any kind of quilting, whether with a standard sewing machine or spend hours sitting at a fun Q'nique quilting machine, you surely need to know about fat quarters.
Fat quarters are a widely-available quilting staple and make projects sewn on a machine like the Grace Q'nique 19 so much fun because they promote creativity.
That said, did you ever wonder where the name fat quarter came from and why it’s even a part of quilting?
Here’s some quilting trivia for you, a little history about the fat quarter and how it became such a favorite choice in the quilting hobby!
What Is A Fat Quarter?
A fat quarter is a pre-cut piece of fabric you can purchase at most sewing and craft stores that is already measured and ready to take home to use in all the projects you sew on your Grace quilting machine.
Fat quarters measure 18” x 22” or exactly a quarter of a yard of fabric.
It’s a convenient and affordable way to purchase smaller cuts of many different fabrics to include in your projects - the selection available is endless!
Why Is It Fat and Not Just A Quarter?
Probably the most common question asked about these unique fabric cuts is why they are called fat in the first place.
Well, fat quarters are called that because of the way in which they are cut.
Since a yard of fabric off a standard bolt is usually 45 inches wide and 36 inches long, a standard quarter yard normally measures in inches 9 x 44.
A fat quarter is cut by first cutting a half yard of the length of the fabric which would leave a piece of 18 x 44 fabric, then folding that in half widthwise and cutting would yield a piece that is 18 x 22 inches.
It’s still a quarter yard of fabric; however, because of the way it is cut it yields a fatter cut that is actually a lot more useful.
When Did Fat Quarters First Appear?
Fat quarters were essentially invented in the mid-1980s, the term first appearing in the book Country Needlework, by Margaret Boyle.
Ever since then, the fat quarter has been an important part of quilting because these fatter cuts of fabric are a lot more useful than the skinnier 9 inch quarters.
Why Was A Fat Quarter Needed?
What was Boyle’s purpose for coming up with the fat quarter anyway?
She found it to be an efficient way to cut fabric to reduce wastage while maintaining dimensions large enough that the piece could be cut into a variety of useful smaller versions, especially when making patchwork quilts.
Because of their shape of not too wide but not too narrow, fat quarters can be easily cut into a large variety of shapes for use in quilting projects.
They are the perfect width to cut into quilt charms, binding strips, and other shapes in a variety of sizes, usually without any wasted fabric left over.
Additionally, these smaller pieces are so affordable, they allow you to buy an entire set of fabrics from a fabric collection to use in a project at a reduced cost - and no leftovers!
If that doesn’t sound like a win-win for creative quilters, then nothing does!
Have Fun with Quilting Fabric Cut in Fat Quarters
With all that variety, and usage convenience, it’s no wonder that quilters love fat quarters to make quilts as beautiful and creative as they can be.
These fun fabric cuts make assembling a quilt top faster and easier so you can get behind your Q'nique quilting machine faster and get the project done!