Download our handy precut fabric sizes reference card so you’ll always know how much (and what size) fabric you’re getting! Tips for using precuts included!
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If you’re new to the quilting world you might be confused by names such as layer cake, jelly roll, precut strip etc. Don’t worry, we were, too! That’s why we’ve put together this guide that will clarify everything that’s confusing about precuts.
We’ve also made a handy precut fabric sizes reference card for you to put in your wallet and always have handy, so keep on reading to download your own. And of course, to make working with precut fabrics easier, we’ve included some tips for using precuts.
But let’s start at the beginning.
- What is a Precut Fabric?
- Precut Fabric Vs. Yardage
- What are Common Precut Fabric Sizes?
- Precut Fabric Sizes Reference Card
- Precut Fabric Yardage Equivalents
- Tips for Using Precuts
What is a Precut Fabric?
Sometimes things are as simple as they sound and this is one of those times. Precut fabric is a fabric that has been cut for you in the factory.
In quilting, you’ll see different sizes of precut quilting fabric, packed in lovely little fabric bundles.
Manufacturers usually put together fabrics from the same collection, which means they go together really well, making them irresistible for the fabric hoarder inside you. So beware, they can be dangerous for your wallet. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Precut Fabric Vs. Yardage
If you’re a beginner you might be wondering what is the better option. Should you use precuts or choose yardage instead? Well, there are pros and cons to using precut fabrics so it really depends on your preferences and the project you’re working on.
What are the benefits of precut fabric?
Precuts are beginner friendly. Making your first quilt using precut fabric can save you the frustration of accurate cutting that can be overwhelming for a beginner.
Quilting with precuts is faster. Understandably, making a quilt when (some of) the cutting has already be done for you will be much quicker than when you’re cutting everything from yardage. Some patterns are written to be used with precuts and those quilt tops usually come together really quickly.
Precuts give you a variety of fabrics that go together perfectly. Precut packs are usually composed of a variety of fabrics from a single fabric line. This means you get a whole bunch of pretty fabrics that are compatible and work well together.
Precuts can save you some cash. At first glance, precut fabric may seem expensive because you typically get less fabric for the same price than you would with yardage. However, there is no way you could get such a variety of fabrics with yardage at the sime price tag. So if you’re looking for a variety of fabrics, precuts can definitely be more cost-effective.
What are the cons of using precut fabric?
You can’t prewash precut fabrics. I’ll go into more detail of prewashing precuts in the ‘Working with precuts’ section. But generally, precuts shouldn’t be prewashed. If you’re really adamant about prewashing, you might want to go with yardage instead.
Precuts can be expensive in some scenarios. Of course, if you’re only using precuts for all of your quilts, it can add up. If you’re buying background or sashing fabrics it will probably be cheaper to go with yardage.
Not all patterns are written for precuts. If you’re using precuts to make a pattern, always make sure the pattern is precut-friendly. Very often they are not and yardage is your only option.
What are Common Precut Fabric Sizes?
As you might have noticed, the precut fabric names can get very confusing. There is a bunch of different precut fabric sizes, so we’ll start with an overview of all of the different types of precuts, and their sizes.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to memorize these, as they all come on the handy precut fabric sizes reference card. (Scroll down for the reference card.)
Precut Fabric Squares & Rectangles
Here is a chart of the most common precut fabric squares and rectangles going from the largest to the tiniest.
Keep in mind that the precut names are commonly specific manufacturers’ names for the given size. For example, ‘Layer Cake’ is a name given to the 10’’ squares pack by Moda Fabrics. When you’re buying fabric from a different manufacturer, it might be called a 10’’ Stacker, a 10’’ Square Pack, etc.
|Precut fabric name||Precut fabric size||Amount per bundle|
Also known as FQs
|18″ x 21-22″||varies|
Also known as F8s
|9″ x 21-22″||varies|
Also known as 10″ Stackers, 10’’ squares, Ten squares, Tiles
|10″ x 10″ squares||40-42 squares|
Also known as Charm Squares, 5 Karat Crystals, or 5″ Stackers
|5″ x 5″ squares||40-42 squares|
|Mini Charm Packs|
Also known as Moda Candy
|2.5″ x 2.5″ squares||40-42 squares|
Precut Fabric Strips
Another popular type of precut fabric are fabric strips, namely 2.5’’ strips and 1.5’’ strips.
|Precut fabric name||Precut fabric size||Amount per bundle|
Also known as: Bali Pops, Design Rolls, Rolie Polies, Roll Ups, StripsAlso known as FQs
|2.5’’ x 42’’||40-42 strips|
Also known as: Skinny Strips
|1.5’’ x 42’’||40-42 strips|
Other Precut Fabric Shapes
Although squares, rectangles and strips are the most common types of precuts, other precut fabric shapes exist. I have come across:
- Precut fabric hexagons
- Precut fabric triangles
The sizes of these vary greatly between manufacturers, so look into what is available when planning for a project.
Precut Fabric Sizes Reference Card
Knowing all of these precut fabric sizes can get a bit overwhelming. That’s why we made you a reference card you can use as a cheat sheet when buying fabric. It includes all of the most common precut fabric sizes along with the names, dimensions, and how many precuts you typically get per bundle.
We’ve also added the number of precuts you can get from a yard of fabric (calculated for a WOF – width of fabric of 42’’).
Precut Fabric Yardage Equivalents
Sometimes you might want to convert precut fabric dimensions into yardage. Perhaps you’re following a quilt pattern that uses precuts and you want to go with yardage to save some cash. Or maybe your chosen fabric is only available in yardage and not precuts.
Well, lucky for you, these precut fabric yardage equivalents are not as complicated as they sound. Sure, there is some math involved, but it’s actually pretty straightforward.
We’ve also included these precut-to-yardage conversions in the precut fabric sizes reference card, so you can always bring it with you to the fabric shop and save yourself some thinking.
How many yards is a precut?
I know most people search for how many yards is a precut because they want to know the yardage needed for a certain amount of precuts. Makes total sense.
However, since it’s impossible to give you a chart with every given number of precuts you’re trying to convert, I thought it would be easier to go the other way around and tell you how many precuts there are in a yard.
This way you’ll always have a reference to go to when buying fabric, no matter how many precuts you need.
Honestly, this is where a quilting calculator would come in handy and we are actually working on that. So hopefully one day soon… In the meantime, this reference chart should help.
|Precut fabric name||Precut fabric size||How many precuts in a yard?|
|Fat quarters||18″ x 21-22″||4|
|Fat eights||9″ x 21-22″||8|
|Layer cakes||10″ x 10″ squares||12|
|Charm packs||5″ x 5″ squares||56|
|Mini Charm Packs||2.5″ x 2.5″ squares||224|
|Jelly Rolls||2.5’’ x 42’’||14|
|Honey Buns||1.5’’ x 42’’||24|
Tips for Using Precuts
Should I Wash Precut Fabric?
The short answer is NO, you should never prewash precut fabric. You should believe me when I say this because as many of you know, I am Captain of Team Prewash when it comes to yardage. But when it comes to precuts, you really shouldn’t.
You do not want your perfectly sized pieces shrinking, distorting, or unraveling in the washing machine. And believe me, they will. (Am I telling you from experience? I’d rather not say.)
If you’re working with dark colors and are afraid of the colors running and bleeding you could handwash them in warm water. This should reduce the amount of fraying and distortion you would most likely get in a washing machine.
Despite what I’ve just said, I do realize that some quilters report success with machine pre-washing precuts in a mesh laundry bag. I have not tried this and would not recommend it unless for some reason you really really need to machine prewash your fabrics (for example if you or the quilt recipient is dealing with chemical sensitivity). Otherwise, I would let those fabrics be.
Working with Pinked Edges on Precut Fabrics
When working with precut fabrics, you will see that many of them have pinked edges. These zigzag edges prevent the fabrics from unraveling and fraying.
Here are some tips for working with pinked edges:
- To keep errors to a minimum I suggest measuring the precut pieces to determine whether the desired dimension includes the edge itself. If you’re working with a 2.5’’ strip, for example, measure whether the 2.5’’ are measured from the peak of the edge or the valley of the edge.
- When sewing, make sure you keep a consistent distance (whether from the peak or the valley of the edge).
- Pay special attention to the edges when working with another piece that isn’t pinked. If possible, place the pinked-edged piece on top to see the alignment.
I think we’ve covered the basics here. To conclude this precut fabric study, using precut fabrics can really make the whole quilting process more enjoyable. You don’t have to deal with cutting everything from scratch and you get to enjoy so many beautiful fabrics in the process.
Even if you’re more of a yardage fan, I suggest you give it a go when you see a bundle that calls out your name! Happy quilting!