If you’re a beginner quilter and are just dipping your toes into the world of quilting, you may be asking yourself, “What is a Precut?” or “Am I supposed to sew with this or eat this?” There are a lot of terms surrounding precut fabrics and all of them sound delicious! Have you wondered what is a jelly roll? Or what is a honey bun? Layer cake? Well, you won’t gain a pound with these precut pieces of fabric.
Let’s start with the most common precut: the Fat Quarter. A fat quarter is not simply a quarter of a yard of fabric. It is an 18×22 cut of fabric. Basically, a half yard of fabric is cut off the bolt and then that half-yard is opened up and cut into halves to make two pieces that measure 18×22. What are the advantages of buying a fat quarter vs. just getting a quarter yard of fabric? When it comes to quilting, you get so many more cutting options from a fat quarter. Fat quarters are perfect for patterns that require many smaller chunks of fabric. Fat quarters can be bought in coordinating bundles or simply one at a time. The possibilities are endless with fat quarters.
The Jelly Roll: You may be getting hungry just thinking about it, but this type of Jelly Roll is not a pastry! These fabric precuts are actually 2 ½” x 42” strips of fabrics that are usually wound each other to form a roll. There are usually around 40 strips in a roll and each roll contains strips from the same fabric collections. A Jelly Roll will save you lots of cutting time and are perfect for a variety of patterns. Be sure to look for patterns that say “Jelly Roll Friendly.” Jelly Roll strips may vary in length from 41” to 42” depending on the fabric. For those of you that prewash your fabrics, do not prewash a Jelly Roll. It is not necessary and you would lose inches due to shrinkage. Typically, it takes one Jelly Roll to make a child-sized or lap sized throw or a twin-sized quilt, two Jelly Rolls for a queen-sized quilt and three for a king-sized quilt.
Is a Honey Bun the same as a Jelly Roll? Nope. The answer is no, but they are similar. A Honey Bun is made up of fabric strips that are 1 ½” x 42 inches, while a Jelly Roll is 2 ½” x 42. A Honey Bun is shaped the same as a Jelly Roll, it is simply just narrower strips. These cute little Honey Buns usually contain around 40 strips and they can be found in a variety of color options. There is no need to prewash these precuts and a Honey Bun is sure to save you lots of time cutting your fabric. These precut buns work perfectly alongside fat quarters and jelly rolls to complement any pattern.
The Layer Cake is one of the hottest, most sought-after precuts out there. It is a stack of forty 10”x10” squares of fabric, usually all coming from the same fabric collection (although, some layer cakes feature forty squares of the same color). Each Layer Cake usually gives you a variety of lights and darks that are guaranteed to play nicely together. The beauty of a Layer Cake is that each 10” square allows for a variety of sub-cuts, or perhaps no cuts at all. The options are endless and these work with nearly every pattern out there. Typically, one Layer Cake will make a twin-sized quilt, two Layer Cakes will make a queen-sized quilt, and three Layer Cakes will make a king-sized quilt. No need to prewash these sweet cakes. Just dive right into your next pattern with these under your needle!
Charm Packs might be your new favorite thing. Charm Packs are so versatile and can be great stash builders. Charm Packs are simply 5” squares, usually cut from the same fabric collection. They are sold in sets of 40 squares. They are useful in nearly every pattern and are sure to save you time. Again, no need to prewash. Typically, one Charm Pack will make one baby quilt, three Charm Packs will make a throw, five will make a twin-sized quilt, six to eight Charm Packs will make a queen-sized quilt, and ten Charm Packs will make a king-sized quilt. These packs are great to mix and match with Fat Quarters, Jelly Rolls, and Layer Cakes.
I’m sure you can guess that a Mini Charm Pack is the same as a Charm Pack, only in miniature. It is a stack of forty 2 ½” squares. These are all cut from the same collection and are sure to give you a nice variety of lights and darks. These small cuts will save you lots of time and are fun to throw into nearly every pattern. They are most frequently used in table runners and small projects but can also be used in big quilts, as well. No need to prewash these little cuties, just start sewing!
And there you have it. These are the most frequently used precuts. They all serve a purpose and are the ultimate time-savers. Which one is your favorite?