I do small bits of quilting, I have only really just started to get more serious about quilting. I have been reading about all the materials to use and videos on difference demonstrations. I was bewildered by a number of different names of pre-cut fabric packs that were flying around. To someone who knows about quilting and tried it and is learning, I found this very shocking. I all of a sudden felt overwhelmed so I decided to put us all on the right page and did my research. Let’s hope we can clear up that confusion!
A fat quarter pack comes straight off the roll of fabric, fabric rolls usually have a width of 44 inches approximately. The fabric is then cut into half metres to create the 20-inch by 22-inch square. In America, these measurements with differ as they work in Yards but more on that later. These are then folded up and stacked to create a theme, colourway or design bundle.
These can come in a variety of number fabric packs from 4, 5 and 6 fat quarters in a pack. Generally, in the UK, we don’t have large bundles whereas the USA provide more variety in larger fabric packs. These can cost anything from £7 in Hobbycraft to £10 online.
These are less frequently used or known about, they are the same as a fat quarter is so many ways. The way they differ is that they are strips instead of squares. They are 44 inches by 10 inches strips. Not many quilters use them as they are limited, whereas with a fat quarter bundle has more fabric to work with.
A Charm Park
A charm pack is a pack of 5-inch squares and come as a 42 piece bundle. Some packs do vary so always check before buying. They are again are put together as a colourway, design pack or theme. These are great for beginners as there are lots of books, patterns and free downloads that use charm packs to create the quilt. So initially the hard work is done for you as the squares are already squared up and ready to use.
Charm packs are commonly known as charm fabric packs both in the UK and USA. Charm packs can depend on the designer/ manufacturer, these can cost anything from £10.50 to £15. These do not include delivery so always check if the retailer offers free delivery or has any promotions. You can also buy mini charm fabric packs with measure 2.5-inch squares and still have the 42 in a pack. These are around half the price as you are getting half of the fabric.
A Layer Cake
A layer cake is a term that has come from Moda Fabrics. The pack contains 42 10-inch squares, these come as a colourway, theme or design pack. These are mostly known in the USA, there is no alternative name in the UK. Moda layer cake fabric packs are selling for anything between £28 to £30. Online prices vary depending on retailer and delivery prices are not included.
A jelly roll was another of Moda Fabrics creations, this was introduced around 5-6 years ago and has become one of the fast growing popular pre-cut packs to be used by quilters. Jelly roll fabric packs include 40 x 2 1/2-inch strips. When rolled out this equals to 2.5 metres. The strips have been cut for you so the measuring and cutting have been done for you. The Jelly Roll fabric packs are great if you want to collect quite a few of the design pack and don’t want to cost you a fortune.
How many pre-cut fabric packs do I need to make my quilt?
This will all depend on the size of the quilt you are making. There are a lot of different size charts online to follow. The quilt sizes can differ from country to country E.g what the UK double size might be perfect for me could be too small for an American double bed. If you have a quilt or duvet that you like the size of, I would suggest using the measurements from that to create your quilt. It also depends on if you want the quilt to have over the bed or simply lay on top. This would mean adding inches to the pattern to create the hangover. Here is a rough chart that I have used and found help when sizing up a quilt, it has clear measurements of the mattress size and recommended quilt sizes.
When it comes to how many fabric packs you will need to create your quilt it is simple if you are following a book, pattern or download they very often will state how many of the pack you will need. If this information is not stated you then work out if you are making, for example, a cot quilt. You will be making the cot/crib size of 27-inch by 55-inch and you are using a charm pack.
You will require 6 of the 5-inch squares across and then 11 of the 5-inch squares down. Multiply 6 by 11 and then you should have your answer- 66 squares. This means within a charm pack there is usually 42 squares you will require 2 and will have leftovers. This is to create one side only, if you require the same pattern for the back, you would require 3 charm packs.
The maths is simple as long as you start simple, working with squares is the best for beginners.
Always remember here in the UK we are by law required to sell fabrics by the metre (metric) whereas the USA sell fabric in yards and inches (imperial). To convert inches to centimetres I roughly remember that 1-inch equals to 2.54cm. So when calculating 39 inches into centimetre is 39 x 2.54= 100cm.
If you have found this post useful and helpful please let me know in the comments below. If you have a great place to find great deals on fabric packs let me know below.