When you walk through a quilt shop, or shop for fabric online, you’ll see tons of coordinating fabrics neatly tied together. These beautiful bundles are called, “precuts.” They are extremely popular, and each has a unique name. The lingo can get quite confusing, especially since many of the bundles sound like delicious foods you can eat…
Precuts are most commonly used in quilts, but they are also well suited for small scrap projects. There are two main reasons why we love them:
- The Fabrics All Match: Precuts save you tons of time because you can purchase an entire collection of fabrics and know that they will all go together perfectly. That really simplifies the fabric shopping process so you can spend more time sewing.
- You Save Time Cutting: Quilting can be tedious because there are so many pieces you need to cut. When you buy a precut bundle, most of the cutting work has been done for you so you can start sewing sooner.
Precut Sizes and Lingo
Precuts come in various shapes and sizes. You can mix and match them to create unique quilts quickly and easily. Many quilt patterns are even designed specifically for fabric precuts. For example, our Spring Fling Quilt Pattern works perfectly with fat quarters.
Each fabric manufacturer uses different names for their precut bundles and many of the terms are trademarked. That’s why it can get so confusing!
Here are the most common precut sizes and some of the names people call them:
- Fat Quarters: This is the most popular precut bundle you can buy. Each cut of fabric in the collection is 18”x22”. Fat quarters have the same amount of fabric as a quarter yard, but they are cut widthwise from a half yard. A standard quarter yard is cut from one selvage edge to the other.
- Fat Eighths: This bundle is half the size of a fat quarter — 9”x22”. You don’t see them for sell as often as fat quarters.
- 10” Squares: Sometimes called Layer Cakes, these are one of the most versatile and handy precuts you can buy. They are ideal for making large patch quilts quickly.
- 5” Squares: These are sometimes referred to as Charm Packs. They are almost as popular as fat quarters because you can create complete quilts without doing any cutting.
- 2.5” Squares: These small squares are sometimes called Mini Charm Packs. They are so cute!
- 2.5” Strips: These bundles are sometimes called Jelly Rolls, Rolie Polies, or Roll Ups. Each strip is 2.5”x44”. We like to use them for borders, sashing, and binding. Most manufacturers include 40 to 42 strips per roll, but don’t assume that is always the case.
- 1.5” Strips: These bundles come in a roll where each set is slightly offset to showcase fabric from an entire collection. They are sometimes called Skinny Strips or Honey Buns.
These are the most common precuts, but occasionally you’ll come across hexagons, triangles, and even circles. Each fabric manufacture does things a little differently.
A Few Tips on Sewing with Precuts
We love precuts! They make quilting so much easier. However, we wanted to share a couple of tips for sewing with them.
First, we don’t recommend prewashing your quilt fabric, especially if you’re using precuts because the washing can cause the edges to fray and distort the true cut of your fabric. That kind of defeats the purpose of buying precuts.
Secondly, watch out for precuts that have pinked edges because they can throw you off. Pinked edges are common with 5” and 10” squares. Before using these precuts, measure from one edge to the other to determine if your seam allowance should be measured from the “peak” or “valley” of the pinked edge. Of course, the most important thing is that you stay consistent throughout your project.
If you’ve never made a quilt with precuts before, you’ve got to give it a try. You’ll love how the colors and patterns come together seamlessly and how little prep work is involved. At Love Sew, we carry beautiful collections of precuts from True Fabrics. Come check out what we have in stock!