Beginner Quilting Series: Available Cuts of Fabric

Welcome to the 'beginner quilting series' that I am hosting to prepare you for the On-Point QAL!

The On Point QAL (quilt along) officially starts on March 1st.  If this is the first you are hearing about this quilt along, let me fill you in!

I'm hosting a quilt along that officially starts on March 1st.  Originally when I was planning for the year, I planned this QAL to teach how to set a quilt on point.  But, while sharing about it on Instagram, I had a lot of people ask me if a beginner could join.  Well, I have decided to add some extra tutorials so that adventurous beginners can join!  (I say adventurous because, while I will give all of the information that I can, you will still need to be ready to go ahead and try this out with the awareness that it might not turn out perfectly.  But I'll do my be a to help you get a usable quite and a great quilting experience :) )  Please pass this information on to anyone you know who might be interested in learning to quilt!  I'd love to help as many people as I can get started in quilting!

So, in the next few weeks before the QAL, I am going to share posts or tutorials on fabric requirements and how to choose fabric for this QAL, quilting tools you'll need to get started, how to press and cut fabric, and making half square triangles.  This is all of the knowledge that you'll need to start and follow along with the quilt along.

Then during the QAL, I will walk you though making the whole quilt top.

After the QAL officially ends, I will continue my Beginner Quilting Series and show you how to make the top into a quilt!

I hope you are going to join in!  We are going to have a lot of fun and we are going to make a beautiful quilt together!

In this post of my beginner quilting series, I am going to cover the Available Cuts of Fabric


In general, fabric can be purchased from a bolt (which is a certain amount of fabric wrapped around a cardboard bolt) or in a precut (which is fabric that is cut and packaged by the manufacturer).

Today we are specifically talking about cuts from a bolt.

When you are buying fabric from a bolt, fabric is typically talked about in yards.  One yard equals 36 inches.  Most commonly, you can purchase 1/8 yard, 1/4 yard, 1/2 yard, 3/4 yard, 1 yard, and so on.  Some shops with even cut in 1/3 increments as well.  And, a super popular cut now is a fat quarter and also a fat eighth.

Let's talk about what the numbers actually mean...

Here is a bolt of fabric.  When someone is cutting your fabric, they unroll the bolt like this and measure along this way to give you the amount that you asked for.

But what about this other way?  How big is that?

How much fabric are you actually getting when you say 1 yard?  Let's talk about the way the fabric is set up around the bolt first...

So, when you say that you like 1 yard of fabric, the seller will unroll the bolt, measure 36" from the edge and cut.

If you took that piece of fabric, and open it up at the fold line, the measurement that goes vertically is called Width of Fabric (abbreviated as WOF).  The width of fabric is pretty standard.  On most cotton fabric it measures about 43"/44".  (There are other fabrics where the WOF is different, like 54" or 60" or wide backs where it is 108".  But in this post, we are going to talk about standard cotton fabrics where the WOF is 43"/44".)

So, when you buy 1 yard of fabric, you are getting a piece of fabric that measures 36" x 43"/44".

There are two other cuts that are very common- the fat eighth and the fat quarter.  These are cut in a slightly different manner than above.

Fat Quarter-

A fat quarter is the same amount of fabric as a 1/4 yard.  But, it is laid out in a different manner.  A 1/4 yard is 9" x 43/44".  A fat quarter is 18" x 21".

A 1/4 yard is cut like this-

A fat quarter is first cut off at 1/2 yard and then cut down the middle to yield 2- 18" x 21" pieces.  One of those pieces alone is called a fat quarter.

A fat eighth is made in the same way as a fat quarter but it is just a small cut of fabric.

A 1/8 yard is cut like this-

A fat eighth is first cut off at 1/4 yard and then cut down the middle to yield 2- 9" x 21" pieces.  One of this pieces alone is called a fat eighth.

So, in summary, here are the sizes of the common cuts for your reference-

I hope this post helped you understand the different sizes that you can get your fabric cut!  If you have any questions, let me know!

Talk soon,



  1. Wow ! as a beginner quilter no one has ever explain this to me the way you have. thank you so much it was very helpful. Love all the pictures alone with you explaining it all so very helpful can't wait to read the next post and learn more from you.

    again thank you,

    1. Hi Sherly, I am so glad that you found this post helpful! And, I am glad to have you following along with this series! Let me know if you have any specific questions, I'd be happy to answer them! -Jessica


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