What is a Fat Quarter ? What is a Jelly Roll ? What is Bias Binding ?
What is a fat Quarter?
I often get asked at the sewing classes what is a fat quarter?
A Fat Quarter is made by cutting half a meter of the full fabric width and then cutting this piece in half vertically (essentially cutting it by the width). Fat Quarters are usually cut from quilting fabrics as they provide a smaller piece (essentially quarter of a meter ) but in a way that you still get a sizeable piece of the design.
The second diagram shows in black a fat quarter cut from one meter of fabric.
With most quilting fabric widths being 44″ / 110cms wide a Fat Quarter is therefore usually around the 50cm x 55cm mark.
If you didn’t ask for a fat quarter in your fabric shop you would receive a quarter of a meter of fabric cut along the width of the roll of fabric, the first diagram shows a quarter of a meter in black cut from one meter of fabric. Fat quarters can be bought from here
When should I buy a fat quarter?
Fat quarters, are traditionally bought by quilters and used making quilts, but they a great for small sewing projects too.
The way the fat quarter is cut allows you to place your pattern pieces on the fabric more easily.
What sewing project would be suitable using a fat quarter?
You could use a fat quarter to make some of the small projects on my blog, the glasses case, the wallet and other craft small projects. This book has great ideas for fat quarters.
What is a Jelly Roll?
Jelly Rolls were first arrived in shops about 5-6 years ago and have since taken over the quilting world! In a Jelly Roll you have 40 x 2½" strips (each cut the width of the fabric). They are individual strips (not joined together) and you have just over 2½ meters of fabric in one roll. Jelly Rolls are great for many reasons. They are all accurately cut at 2½" so no need to cut lots of strips from fabric as it has been done for you! Jelly Rolls are co-coordinated fabric - whether from a range or from a colorway. If you find it difficult choosing
fabric then you know a Jelly Roll will look lovely together. It is a great way of obtaining a large variety of fabric from a particular range without having to buy a fat or long quarter of 40 different fabrics! There are many patterns and books available to show you exactly what you can make with a Jelly Roll .
You can buy Jelly Rolls from here.
What is bias binding?
Bias binding is a narrow strip of fabric, cut on the bias. The strip's fibers, being at 45 degrees to the length of the strip, makes it stretchier as well as more fluid compared to a strip that is cut on the straight of grain. Because it is cut on the bias it is much easier to stretch around neck lines and armholes.
Bias tape is used in making piping, binding seams, finishing raw edges, etc. It is often used on the edges of quilts, place mats, and bibs, around armhole and neckline edges instead of a facing, and as a simple strap or tie for casual bags or clothing.
Commercially available bias tape is available as a simple bias tape, single-fold bias tape, and double-fold bias tape.
You can make your own bias binding, using the fabric to make or contrast with your fabric. Cut strips of fabric cut on the bias as shown in the diagram. You will need to start with a square, the size is not important, but I have shown you 50x50cm but it could be 30x30cm, fold the fabric in half A to B as shown, cut along the fold line. You will have 2 pieces of fabric, start cutting your bias strips, 3cm or 4cm is a good width, smaller is hard to sew.