A Fat Quarter is a piece of fabric that is not cut the usual way you cut fabrics for quilting but instead, you cut the fabric at the half-yard mark and then once you have done that you again cut it in the middle of the fabric in order to create your Fat Quarter. 

Quilting is a hard thing to get into as it requires a lot of practice, muscle memory and also learning definitions of words and phrases that you have never heard of in your entire life. And, ‘Fat Quarter’ is one of them. In this article we will tell you everything that you need to know about what a ‘Fat Quarter’ is and what it is used for.

Why Is It Called a Fat Quarter?

It is called a Fat Quarter because this type of cut looks a lot fatter than other cuts such as a quarter yard, layer cakes, and fat eights.

The proportions of a Fat Quarter are generally 45 cm in width by 50 cm in length but can also be 45 cm in width by 57 cm in length if it is a really big cut which gives it its name Fat Quarter. 

Another name for a Fat Quarter is End-Cut, which is a translation of the Japanese word ‘hagire’ and may be used by people rather than Fat Quarter.  

Fat Quarter vs Quarter Yard of Fabric

A fat quarter is the same size as a ‘Regular Quarter Yard’ however it is cut in the midpoint of the length and the midpoint of the width which creates a piece of fabric that is much bigger in width or as some people say ‘fatter’.

They have different uses, for example, you are done able to cut a square that is 10 inches in size from a Quarter Yard because that size of the fabric is not big enough in width terms. 

On the other hand, a Quarter Yard of Fabric is used generally for patterns and for borders where a yarn that is longer in length is much more useful. You need to plan ahead and decide what is the best option for you for the type of quilting and sewing machine you plan to use.

What Is a Fat Quarter Used For? 

  • Scrap Quilts – A Scrap Quilt is a quilt made from the leftover pieces of fabric from other quilting projects or recycled quilts. Fat Quarters can be great for this as they offer a lot of versatility.
  • Samples – Fat Quarters are great for samples and are very inexpensive so you can get a lot of them in different fabrics to try out at one time. Furthermore, a lot of companies sell Fat Quarter fabrics already pre-cut in bulk so you don’t have to spend time measuring and cutting a standard piece of fabric.
  • Applique – An applique is a form of sewing where differences pieces and shapes of fabrics and patterns are sewn onto one big piece of fabric to create a pattern, illustration or piece of art. Fat Quarters are very useful in this as they are very versatile in the type and size of shapes that you can cut from them.
  • Accents – An accent is similar to an Applique in that you are taking a smaller piece of fabric and combining it on a larger piece of fabric. With Accents, you can cut out very detailed cutouts of anything such as for example a cow, a flower or a tree. Fat Quarters give you a lot of freedom due to their large width and also length that don’t limit the size of your accent.
  • Cloth Napkins – This is a fairly obvious use if you think about it, to create a cloth napkin you simply take one Fat Quarter and then you can personalize it by doing some embroidery, adding some accents and also even using a glue gun to attach other decorations such as small colorful plastic balls. And the best part is that unlike paper napkins with cloth napkins you can wash them in your washing machine and use them until they rip.
  • Tea Towels – Tea Towels are created in a very similar process to the Cloth Napkins above but instead with Tea Towels you use two Fat Quarters in order to make them.)
  • Bulletin Boards – You can use Fat Quarters of all different colors to glue on a board of Ply Wood to create your very own homemade cloth Bulletin Board. It is very simple and quick to make thanks to Fat Quarters which let you cover the entire board much more easily due to their width.) 
  • Fold Up Baskets – Using Fat Quarters you can create amazing Fold Up Baskets using only two Fat Quarters with one Fat Quarter for the interior of the basket and another Fat Quarter for the exterior of the basket. These are great as they can be used to store your stationery, your quilting equipment and even act as a piggy bank for example.)
  • Pillow Cases – Using multiple Fat Quarters you can also create beautiful homemade Pillow Cases for all shapes and sizes of pillows. This allows you to get a perfectly sized Pillow Case for your pillows instead of a one size fits all from the shops.)
  • Quilter’s Pouch – You can also make your own small Pouch that you can use as a purse or for somewhere to store your makeup while you are out and about. To create your own pouch you can use one or two Fat Quarters depending on the size you are going for and you will also need one piece of transparent vinyl plastic that you sew into your pouch in order to store your belongings there. And finally, you decorate your homemade Pouch as you wish.)


To summarize a Fat Quarter is a cut of fabric that is created for when you needed a wider cut for your quilting project. It is very easy to cut out your own Fat Quarter from a standard sized fabric and alternatively, you can also buy some-ready made one from brick and mortar or online retailers.