Precuts is a word we hear often in the quilting world, however do we all know which one is which?
At Chicken Feed Quilts we carry 5 of the most common precuts that are available.
First up Fat Quarters. A fat quarter will come in two sizes either 18"x21" or 20"x21". The difference between the two is where you buy them. In the United States they measure and sell fabric in yards, 1 yard is 36 inches and so when they cut a half yard it is equal to 18 inches. In Canada fabric is sold in meters and at Chicken Feed Quilts we use 40" as a meter, and so our fat quarters equal 20".
A fat quarter is a half meter of fabric cut in half parallel to the selvage edges. It is equal to .25meters but is more usable because rather than a 10"x42" rectangle you have a 20"x21" piece to work with.
Fat Qaurters come in a variety of different sized bundles. You can purchase one that has every piece in the collection, or they can be put together by the shop, or designer bundles. Bundles can be made using fabrics from a variety of colors, or one colorway, or a certain print, the options are endless.
Layer Cake, Jelly Roll, Charm Pack and Mini Charm Pack are all terms that have actually been trademarked by Moda Fabrics, but they are the most commonly used name for each precut. Other companies use the terms stackers and rollups.
Layer Cakes are made up of 42, 10" squares, there are a few companies that make theirs with 40 but it is marked on the packaging if this is the case. The total yardage in a layer cake is just over 2.6 meters. They are probably my favorite precut. You can do so much with them, and the pieces are big enough that the large prints show up well, where as in the smaller cuts, a lot of the large prints are lost. If the squares are sewn together patchwork style without any additional cutting the result is a good lap sized quilt, 57"x66". The back of the Moda packaging also contains ideas for how to use the Layer Cake and different ways to cut it up. I love making the Double Slice Layer Cake quilt, it is quick an fun and the end result is a great size.
The Jelly Roll is 42, 2.5" width of fabric strips. The total yardage is the same as a Layer Cake. And they are usually the same price, right around $50-$60 dollars. A Jelly Roll will also give you a lap sized quilt. The Jelly Roll Race is a fun quilt made with one Roll and goes together nice and quickly. Looking at the flat side of a roll will give you a good idea of the different colors that are in the package.
Charms Packs are made using 42, 5" squares. They are under $20 in price and sewn together will make a small baby quilt or wall hanging. I love the book Charm School by Vanessa from Lella Boutique is a book full of fun patterns written for 5" squares, we have a couple copies in store.
The Mini Charm is again made with 42 squares, this time 2.5" in sizes. These make really fun wall hangings, and table runners, although multiple packs can be put together to make a larger project. I find these fun to collect an have no intention of actually using them, they are just to cute to pass up.
The Layer Cake, Jelly Roll, Charm Pack and Mini Charms are generally made from a single Designer Collection, and if the line has less than 42 prints, which many of them do, there will be doubles of a number of prints in order to reach a total of 42 fabrics in the package.
When you love a full line of fabric buying one of these packages will give you at least one piece of each collection, and than you can purchase your favorites for the borders and binding and also the backing if you prefer cotton on the back of your quilts.
Moda Bakeshop is a great site dedicated to patterns written using the various types of precuts. Missouri Star Quilt Company is another that has many patterns written specifically for precuts and their block books each contain 10 patterns for a very good price of less than $8.00 per book.
Using precuts can make shopping easier and cuts back on the amount of cutting you need to do. They are great for beginners and advanced quilters alike and can be used to make very simple or very difficult quilts.
Do you have a favorite precut? Do you collect them and have a hard time using them?
On another note altogether, I would love to start doing one post each month dedicated to projects you have made with fabric from our shop. We love seeing what you have made, and it is inspiring for others as well. Send your photos to me by email at Kayla@chickenfeedquilts.com or through a private message on our Facebook Page. Please include the pattern name and the name of the fabric if you remember it with your photo and I will feature a few projects every month on our blog and Facebook page. The projects can be quilts, wall hangings, bags clothes, anything really I just want to see them.