What Is A Fat Quarter

Have you heard or seen the term “fat quarter” and wondered what it really means? It sounds like something everyone would be aware of so you might have felt a bit silly to ask. Well, don’t worry because this article will walk you through what fat quarter means and how it’s a popular term in the sewing world. Basically, it’s a quarter of a yard that measures about 18 inches x 22 inches. But why is this exact sized piece of fabric so popular? Let’s find out. 

What Is A Fat Quarter?

A fat quarter is a piece of pre-cut fabric which is usually folded in quarters so you can easily grab them from your local fabric shops. The measurements 18 inches x22 inches make it ideal for quilting projects as well as for making anything that requires a rectangular piece of fabric such as drawstring bags, the top part of an apron, quilt borders, etc. 

Are All Fat Quarters the Same?

No, technically all fat quarters are not the same as it depends on what unit the fabric is measured in different parts of the world. For example, In Australia fabrics are measured in meters, not yards. One meter is equal to 1.1 yards so automatically a fat quarter in Australia will be a bit wider than the ones in the US. However, it cannot be determined just by the country. It also depends on the manufacturer and what unit is followed for measurements in that particular shop.

What’s the Difference between a Fat Quarter and ¼ of a Yard?

Technically, a fat quarter is ¼ of a yard but they are not the same because each of these pieces of fabric has different shapes. A regular ¼ yard measures 9 inches x 44 inches. A fat quarter is cut in a different way which allows it to take a different shape. To create a fat quarter, you have to take a ½ yard fabric and cut it crosswise to get 18 inches x 44 inches. Then, this rectangle fabric is cut in half again to yield 18 inches x 22 inches. 

What Is A Fat Eighth?

A fat eighth is a piece of fabric measuring 9 inches x 22 inches. To create one, you should take a ¼ yard piece of fabric and cut crosswise to get 9 inches x 22 inches, which is then cut in half to get a fat eighth. This is also different in shape from a traditional 1/8 yard which measures 4.5 inches x 44 inches. However, the amount of fabric achieved from both of these is the same.

How Many Fat Quarters Are There In A Yard?

A yard can be cut into 4 fat quarters. If you cut a yard into 4 equal pieces, you’ll get 4 fat quarters. Now, due to the measurement of a yard which usually has a width of 44inches to 45 inches, a fat quarter takes the shape of a rectangle, not a square.

What Are Fat Quarters Used For?

Although the most popular use of fat quarters is for quilts, you can use them to make absolutely anything. The convenient size of a fat quarter makes them useful for small sewing projects while making sure extra fabric is not wasted. You can get a larger chunk of fabric from a fat quarter in comparison to a quarter of a yard. 

Due to its versatility, you’ll find fat quarters stacked up in any quilt shop. Fat quarters are great for starting a quilt-making project as you can build your fabric stash and use the leftover fabrics for any other small sewing projects. You can also use fat quarters to make other items such as drawstring bags, napkins, scrunchies, doll pillows/blankets, fabric bows, and more!

How To Make Scrunchies Using Fat Quarters?

A scrunchie is a fabric covered hairband which is much better for your hair than elastic bands. Plus, you can make them using any fabric you like and match them with your outfit.  

To start, take the fat quarter, fold ½ inch on the side and stitch the folded fabric with ¼ inch seam allowance. Next, fold the fabric in half (lengthwise) with the backside of the fabric on top and stitch alongside the edge to create a tube of fabric. You can either use a sewing machine or perform a backstitch which is the strongest hand stitch. Now, turn the tube inside out by pinning a safety pin in one corner and putting it through the tube. Then, iron the fabric especially if it’s cotton.

For the elasticity of the scrunchie, you’d of course have to thread a thin piece of elastic through the tube of fabric. Then, you should overlap the ends of the elastic and stitch them together. Now insert one end of the tube through the other end so that no elastic is exposed. 

Finally, stitch both ends to complete the scrunchie. Even here, you could either use a sewing machine or hand stitch. Make sure you use a matching thread to secure the scrunchie so that it doesn’t look odd. 

Where Can You Buy Fat Quarters?

Due to the popularity of fat quarters among quilters, you can find them at any local fabric shop. Most of these shops will have an assortment of fat quarters with different colors and patterns for you to choose from.  Also, Etsy sells fat quarters in unique patterns and there’s something to meet everyone’s preferences. 


To simply put this, a fat quarter is just a quarter of a yard of fabric. Knowing the measurements help but it’s not necessary to remember it as long as you are aware that a fat quarter is a ¼ yard. Also, what’s great about a fat quarter is that it can be used for any DIY small sewing projects with your favorite patterns.