Your Guide to Precut Fabrics
What's a Precut?
Precuts are pieces of fabric that have been cut into smaller sizes, making them convenient to use. Purchasing precuts from a manufacturer may cost a little extra, but they can save you a lot of time.
Precuts come in many different sizes: typically 2.5" squares, 5" squares, 10" squares or 2.5" width of fabric (WOF) strips. Different fabric companies market their precut products under different names such as Layer Cakes, Roll Ups, etc. I've listed the various types of precuts below, in order from smallest to largest.
Here's a tip!
You can make your own! In fact, many quilters routinely cut their leftover scraps into these popular sizes so that they are ready to use!
Precut Type 1: 2.5" Squares
2.5" squares (sometimes called "Mini Charm" squares) are perfect for small patchwork projects requiring an assortment of coordinated prints.
Mini Charm packs (Moda calls them Candy) contain 42 2.5" squares, equating to a little over 1/4 yard of fabric.
How many "Mini Charm Packs" should you purchase? Typically,
1= for small projects, 2-3 = for baby and crib quilts
Precut Type 2: 5" Squares
5" squares (sometimes called "Charm" squares or "Nickel" squares) are a versatile size of fabric for quilters to work with. United Notions markets their 5" squares under the term "Charm Pack" which contains 42 5" squares (or roughly 5/8 of a yard).
How many "Charm Packs" should you purchase? Typically,
1 = baby, 2 = crib, 3 = lap, 4=twin, 5-6 = queen, 6-7 = king
TIP: 5" charms are easily sub cut into four 2.5" squares (mini-charms).
Precut Type 3: 10" Squares
This size is considered a perfect size for scrappy quilters, since you can often get enough pieces from a few 10" squares to make a complete block. Moda Fabrics (aka United Notions) markets their 10" squares under the term "Layer Cake" which contains 42 10" squares (or roughly 2.75 yards). Other 10" square bundles can be found under the term "10" stackers" or "10 Karat Crystals."
How many "layer cakes" should you purchase? Typically,
1 = twin, 2 = queen, and 2-3 = king
Precut Type 4: 2.5" Strips
This size is perfect for strip quilting. With this precut, the manufacturer cuts the fabric along the crosswise grain the full width of the fabric (WOF), so typically the strips will measure 2.5" x 42". These are often sold in bundles containing approximately 40 strips (roughly 2.75 yards) and are marketed under terms such as "Jelly Rolls" "Roly Poly's" and "Pixie Strips."
How many "rolls" should you purchase? Typically,
1 = twin, 2 = queen, and 3 = king
Precut Type 5: Fabric Bundles
Bundles are a great way to purchase fabrics when you really love the designer's line. Bundles can be found in several sizes:
Fat Eighth Bundles typically contain one 9" x 21" piece from each fabric in a designer collection. The number of pieces and price will vary.
Fat Quarter Bundles typically contain one 18" x 21" piece from each fabric in a designer collection. The number of pieces (and price) will vary.
Half Yard Bundles typically contain one 18" x 42" piece from each fabric in a collection. Again, prices and number of pieces will vary.
Obviously, you can get several quilts from a bundle. Here are some general guidelines:
Fat Eighth Bundle + background fabric typically yields 1-2 baby or lap quilts
Fat Quarter Bundle + background fabric typically yields 2 lap quilts or 1 Queen
Half Yard Bundles + background yardage will typically yield 2-3 queen size quilts, depending on complexity of the patchwork.