Fat quarters are a versatile and multi-functional size of fabric popular with sewists and designers alike. From quilt projects to tea towels to baby leggings and beyond, fat quarters are a great way to bring a dash of color or a hint of style to any creative journey. However, if you’re new to Spoonflower or sewing, you might be scratching your head asking yourself, “Just what is a fat quarter?”
Whether you are designing your own tea towel, or ordering a collection of Marketplace designs for a DIY gift idea, today we’re here to cover everything you need to know about fat quarters with a little help from Noelle and James, our trusty customer support team members.
If you already know the basics and want to create your own fat quarter design, click here!
What Is a Fat Quarter?
A Spoonflower fat quarter is ½ the width of your fabric by ½ the length of a yard (36″ / 100cm).
While the width of your fat quarter will change depending on your fabric choice, the length of a fat quarter will always be 18″ (50cm). For all you math whizzes out there, one half times one half equals a quarter. Hence the term fat quarter!
Now that you know the basics, let’s start exploring everything you need to know about ordering a fat quarter from Spoonflower.
Fat Quarters 101: Fabric Sizes
Did you know Spoonflower offers fabric ranging from 42″- 60″ (106cm – 152cm) wide? Your fabric choice will determine how wide your fat quarter is. Paying attention to this size difference will ensure that the designs you order are correct for the fabrics you select.
Linen Cotton Canvas is the go-to fabric for tea towels. The dimensions of a Linen Cotton Canvas fat quarter are 27″ x 18″ (68cm x 50cm).
Fat Quarters 101: Choosing the Right Fabric
Now that you know more about the size of a fat quarter, let’s talk about choosing the right design for the dimension of your fabric.
If you’re choosing a traditional repeating surface pattern, any of Spoonflower’s fat quarters will do the trick. This is because the pattern was not specifically designed (engineered) to fit a certain fabric size. Just remember to choose the appropriate fabric in the dropdown menu based on your project requirements.
Choosing the Right Fabric: Tea Towels
During the holidays, tea towels are a perfect go-to handmade gift idea. Whether you’re making your annual tea towel calendar or picking out the perfect pun design for Dad, tea towel designs are most commonly intended specifically for a 27″ x 18″ Linen Cotton Canvas fat quarter. When adding the tea towel design to your cart, make sure to select Linen Cotton Canvas in the Fabric Type dropdown menu and Fat Quarter in the Choose a Size dropdown menu.
When in doubt, use the fabric page to preview how your design will print. If the design is getting cut off on the preview, it means the fabric you’ve chosen isn’t wide enough. By changing the selected fabric in your dropdown menu, you can quickly adjust for a picture-perfect preview.
Pro tip: Be sure to note the artist’s fabric recommendation above the fabric dropdown menu and the About the Design description. When viewing the listed fabric width, remember to divide it in half to determine the appropriate fat quarter width.
Choosing the Right Fabric: Cut-and-Sew Projects
Just like artists are creating engineered designs for tea towels, they’re also designing engineered prints for cut-and-sew projects. You’ll find these projects are most commonly designed for 21″ x 18″ woven cotton fat quarters like Petal Signature Cotton and Cotton Poplin. When adding the cut-and-sew design to your cart, make sure to select Fat Quarter in the Choose a Size dropdown menu and Petal Signature Cotton or Cotton Poplin in the Fabric Type dropdown menu.