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What is a Fat Quarter?

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It used to be that fabric came on bolts and you bought yardage depending on the amounts indicated on your dress pattern.

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Cotton fabric like the muslin shown here usually comes in a width of 44 inches (folded in half) rolled in a bolt several yards long.

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With more and more people taking up quilting and crafting, there has been a need for another way to buy fabric: the fat quarter.  This quilt for an American Girl doll bed does not take much fabric.

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Fat quarters are pre-cut pieces of fabric that are 1/4 of a yard.  They are usually folded like this at the quilt shop for easy display.  They are also pre-cut into bundles of coordinating fabrics when buying online.  The difference is that it is not cut in the traditional way that fabric has always been cut. 

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One yard of muslin looks like this.  It is 44 inches wide (when unfolded)  by 36 inches long.

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A traditional cut of 1/4 yard would look like this compared to a full yard of fabric.

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It measures 44 inches wide and is cut at 9 inches long (1/4 of 36 inches).

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A fat quarter looks like this compared to a full yard of fabric.

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It still is a quarter of a yard but it measures only 22 inches wide (half the width) and is cut at 18 inches long (half the length of a yard).

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Both pieces measure 1/4 of a yard.  The traditional cut is skinny compared to the new cut which is "fat".  Depending on the project, the fat quarter can provide a more usable piece of fabric. 

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31 Days of Raising Teens

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