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Cheater, Cheater!

Meet Your New Best Friend - Cheater Fabric!

by Beth Cooper
1 comment

Let’s talk cheater fabric.  You may be asking yourself, “what is this strange new phrase?”  Cheater fabric has been around for ages, but not everyone knows it by name.  The simplest description of cheater fabric is just this:  fabric with a pre-printed design on it that makes it look as if it was pieced, but in reality, it is just a print. 

Whoever invented this concept was a straight-up genius!  This clever guy or gal was all about saving us some time – and who doesn’t love a good time-saver, right?  It is not known how far back the first “cheater cloth” fabric was printed but there is a small section of the famous Jane Stickle Civil War quilt that is cheater fabric.  Yes, that is correct!  Even way back in 1863, the legendary Jane Stickle, who was a master piecer, used cheater fabric.  (And if it was good enough for her, it’s good enough for the rest of us!)

A block that includes “cheater fabric” in Jane Stickle’s masterpiece 1863 Civil War quilt. Read more about Jane and her quilt at The Bennington Museum.

Cheater fabric is a great product that can “save the day.” Have you ever been pressed for time and really needed to get a quilt finished in a hurry?  Or have you ever needed a simple quilt to donate for an event?  These are excellent opportunities to use cheater fabric.  You will have a quilt top finished so quickly that heads will spin!

Cheater fabric comes in tons of designs and colors.  Nearly every fabric line has carried it at some point and there are several gorgeous ones on the market right now.

Check out this gorgeous cheater panel by Sue Daley Designs for Riley Blake. It is called Colour Wall and is perfect for cutting into blocks and framing with sashing. If you’re not a fan of sashing, leave it be and just add borders. Not a fan of borders? Just add some backing and batting to this piece of fabric and voila! You have a quilt!

And this cheater fabric is gorgeous in black and creamy whites. Fleur Noire by My Mind’s Eye for Riley Blake features an array of different patterns. Impress your friends with this fabric – they will definitely think you’re a perfect piecer! Shhhh. We won’t tell them! This fabric will look gorgeous alone or with some borders. You could also use it as a backing fabric. You would then have a reversible quilt!

Are you looking for some cheater fabric perfect for a quick Christmas gift? This one is just lovely. These blocks can be left together or simply cut along the dotted lines. Soon you’ll have a whole pile of star blocks to play around with. They are darling with some sashing and borders added. No one will ever know you “cheated” and didn’t piece the stars.

Cheater fabric can be used by itself or just use pieces of it inside of your pieced blocks.  Using it along with your piecing will make your quilt look very intricate.  You will impress your friends and family for sure!  Here’s the number one rule of cheater fabric though:  Do NOT tell anyone it is cheater fabric!  They will never even notice!  (Another quilter might notice, but the average person will have no clue!) Cheater fabric is going to be your new best friend.

So, what are you going to make out of cheater fabric?  Be sure to send us pictures of your cheater fabric projects at

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Jeanne Hanna
Jeanne Hanna
1 year ago

This is my first time to even hear about “cheater fabrics”. I’m intrigued already, can’t wait to order some so I can experiment with it.

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