Listen to the Stop Scrolling, Start Sewing Podcast

12. What are PreCuts?!

To listen to the whole episode, click here.

Hey there, I’m Nicole Gilbert and you’ve joined the stop scrolling and start sewing podcast. Are you new to sewing and want to start quilting, but have no idea where to begin? Each Wednesday, join me as I share the ins and outs of that quilt life. If you don’t have a sewing machine, have no idea how much fabric you need, or you’re just trying to figure out where the heck to stick that bobbin, this is the podcast for you.

Hey folks, on this episode, we’re talking pre cuts. I’m going to go over the most common pre cuts that you’re going to find out there on the market. What the heck all of the dessert names mean and how to use them.

But first let’s start with a little bit of the history with pre cuts.

So first of all, like what’s the purpose of a pre cut pre cuts serve two main purposes, one to the manufacturer and one to the consumer. So first up the manufacturer. Manufacturers come out with new fabric collections all the time. Uh, just like fashion designers have seasons. So do quilting fabrics, and you will often see, um, kind of designers that Moonlight for certain fabric manufacturers, um, and do guest appearances, guests designs. And these fabric collections come out usually with anywhere from eight to 30 prints in a fabric collection and they all go together.

So when I say they go together, the colors and the prints, um, they are harmonious meaning that they work together as a color scheme that you could use on a given quilt. There are various saturations of print sizes from, you know, micro prints all the way through very large kinds of prints that you would use on like applique or large block quilts. And, um, they’re awesome. But there are so many of them, like I said, like eight to like 20 or 30 different prints in a given fabric collection. And what often happens is when a quilt shop, especially the type of quilt shop that showcases more high end fabrics, they tend to not purchase all of the bolts in a fabric collection. And what that means is that yes, there might be, you know, 25 different fabrics in this collection, but guess what? The, the quilters in your area might only ever see five of them, because those are the five that the quilt shop chose to carry.

Um, and that’s kind of a bummer, uh, and who knows why those five are chosen and the buyer chooses them for whatever reason, from what they like, what they think is going to sell. I mean, there’s any, any variation of a Y. So for these fabric companies, by putting together precut bundles, the precut bundles usually have at least one cut, but many times two, three or four cuts of any given fabric in a collection. And usually they try to have at least one of every fabric, meaning if you buy a precut bundle of a fabric collection, you get to use all of the fabric, even the stuff that your local quilt shop isn’t choosing to showcase in full bolt size. So it’s a great way to get people to fall in love with different prints. And then if you don’t have it in your local store, you can always go online and find the fabric print that you’re looking for and order it there.

So it kind of, it opens up your world a little bit about what out there what’s available now from the consumer’s point of view, what’s awesome about precut fabrics is it’s a time saver with the amount of different dimensions that precut fabrics come in. You can really satisfy, um, a lot of your cutting needs by just purchasing precut fabric. Now, does that mean that you’re never going to have to cut? Of course not. Especially if you get things like layer cakes, which are 10 inch squares or jelly roll, um, strips, which, um, obviously, I mean, yes, you can use the entire length of the strip and there’s different like chaser, um, patterns out there. However, for the most part, you, aren’t going to cut it up, but the initial getting to that size, whatever size it may be of the precut that’s done for you, and it’s done super accurately.

What you’ll see is really amazing given some of the cuts that you can get. So I’m going to get to that in a minutes. Um, but I do want to say for many of these pre cuts they have, which is really funny. The names are all, um, desserts and candy. They’re definitely edible. I don’t know if that, I would say they’re all desserts and I don’t say that they would all be candy, but they’re definitely sweet treats and I’m here for it. Um, but just so you know, pre cuts, and I’m not saying that Moda originated it because, uh, there’s quite a few of these that I know for a fact were originated by one company or another, but Moda fabrics created the jelly roll quilt, a quilt pre cuts, and with the jelly roll and it’s popularity, the precut thing kind of took off and it kind of became like Kleenex.

Like we all know that there are paper tissues, but we kind of call them Kleenex. Right? Same thing happened with jelly roll quilt, the quilt, um, pre cuts. So there’s a ton of different names out there. I’m going to go through kind of all the names that all the different pre cuts are called by different manufacturers. Um, but Moda kind of stole the game and we kind of call all these pre cuts by the Moda name. So when I call out a precut, I’m mostly going to refer to what the Moda brand has referred to them as because they kinda, they kind of made it what it is. So let’s see, I’m going to start breaking down the different types of, um, cuts. So first let’s start with what are definitely the most common pre cut, which is the fat quarter, um, commonly sold in fat quarter bundles, but you can get them individually as well.

So a fat quarter is a cut a fabric, 18 inches by 22 inches, occasionally thereby 21 inches. Instead, usually those cuts do not include selvages. So, like I said, they’re the most common precut on the market. Um, while a traditional quarter yard of fabric is cut across the width of the fabric, um, it only measures nine inches wide by 44 inches. Um, depending on the width of the fabric you’re working with, it could be, you know, 41, 42, 43, we all know that the variations on the width of fabric, but a fat quarter gives you a more square shape to work with with the same amount of yardage it regarded. And so you can do more with it in terms of the cutting options, um, which is fantastic, but what’s really cool about the fat quarters is their prevalence. So almost every single fabric manufacturer makes fat quarters and you can purchase them individually or in a bundle.

And there are all called fat quarters, except for Northcott fabrics. There’s always one Northcott fabrics calls. There’s stone rolls. I have no idea why they just do. They gotta be different like that, but pretty much all the other manufacturers do call them fat quarters now to biggie pack the fat quarter, there are also fat eighths and those are half a fat quarter. So they are nine inches by 22 inches. And the bundles vary in sizes depending on the number of fabrics in the fabric collection. But usually they do land between 20 and 40 fat eighths in a bundle. Um, fat quarters are different. I’ve seen as few as like four fat quarters in a bundle, and I’ve seen as many as like 20, but very rare to see them that large. Okay. So let’s move on to some of the more like pre cut pre cuts.

So yes, fat quarters and fat eighths are pre cuts, but we’re thinking of like kind of specific shapes here. So first up is the charm pack and a charm pack consists of five inch by five inch squares, and most charm packs come with 42 pieces. So, um, that spans the collection of, of fabric. So you could have one, two, three, or sometimes even four different charm squares of a given fabric from that collection. Um, there massive popularity in this particular type of precut, the charm pack comes from the fact that five inch squares are just super popular in quilting patterns in general. So that means that you can just buy a charm pack and plug it right into your quilt pattern, no additional cutting needed, which is kind of amazing. So they’re very common across all fabric fabric manufacturers, but they’re called different things depending on the manufacturer.

So Northcott fabrics calls them stone chips, Riley Blake designs calls them five inch stackers Hoffman fabrics refers to their batik bundles as Bali snaps. And I’ve even heard of them referred to as five carat crystals. So there are definitely a lot of different ways to say it, but I will say that in a quilt pattern, they will most likely be referred to as HRM pack. And whenever there’s a big darn pack, there’s a mini charm pack. So many charm packs are for two and a half by two and a half inch squares. So these are great for patchwork piecing because you usually don’t have to do any cutting to utilize them in a variety of quilt patterns. Um, they usually contain about 42 pieces, um, just like the regular size charm packs and are usually less than $5, which makes them a really inexpensive way to utilize some really beautiful new cutting edge fabric collections and add pops of colors to your quote projects.

So, um, so you know, so many charm packs is the generic term for them. Moda refers to them as Moda candy. So that’s kind of cool. Now another set of squares is the layer cake and now a layer cake is a 10 inch by 10 inch square. So it’s a pack, um, of 10 inch by 10 inch squares, usually about 40 to 42 pieces. So these are excellent for large scale prints where you want to show off the fabric because you have a 10 inch by 10 inch square, you can see the larger, um, prints that would get kind of cut up and dissected in a smaller cut. Now, um, they’re also great for cutting out applicate pieces, um, or just to cut them down into smaller sizes, just to take one layer of the cutting out of your process. So Robert Kaufman refers to them as 10 squares and Hoffmans calls them Bali crackers, but they’re all basically the same thing.

Packages of 40 to 42 pieces of 10 inch squares. Now the big jammy that everybody knows about jelly rolls. So jelly rolls are a tightly rolled bundle of 40 strips measuring two and a half inches wide by 44 inches long. And they are amazing. They have skyrocketed the precut game. I think that most of the other pre cuts exist simply because of the popularity of the jelly roll. You can go into a quilt shop. You can go into Joanne’s, you can go really anywhere that you’ve buy craft books, quilt books, you will find pattern books dedicated just to jelly roll patterns. Um, I mean the sky’s the limit with these things and while not every company makes jelly rolls, all of the big players do, and they’re called different things because jelly roll is a trademarked name by Moda. So free spirit fabric calls them design roles.

Robert Kaufman calls them roll ups, and they also make, um, half rolls of only 20 strips. So you can get roll-ups in 40 or 20 strips. Hoffman makes Bali pops and North Cott calls them stone strips. And this is also the one that kind of fuels the whole sweet treats game. So next up we’ve got honey buns. Now honeybuns are exactly the same thing. Jelly rolls, except instead of being two and a half inches wide, they are one and a half inches wide. So one and a half inches by 44 or 42, depending on the manufacturer. So these are great for strip quilting sashing and making green tape. Um, they’re otherwise identical to jelly rolls. Um, and also honey buns. I have yet to see them by any manufacturer besides Moda. So moving on this next one is a special one. And I think that their popularity comes from how difficult it is to make at home.

So hexagons. So these are definitely one of the more rare types of pre cuts. Robert Kaufman was the first fabric manufacturer to introduce them. And, uh, Robert Kaufman calls them heck seas and they measure two inches from point to point. Moda also makes hexagons and they’re called honeycombs and they measure six inches from point to point. The hexagon, um, pre cuts are not as regulated when it comes to size. So it’s a little hard to compare apples to apples with the hexagon pre cuts. Um, it’s not off by like an inch or a half an inch they’re off by like significant sizes. But again, the popularity of the hexagon precut comes from the fact that hexagons are difficult, uh, and time consuming to properly cut. And these machine manufactured pre cuts come out beautifully every time and are identical, which is the main selling feature of a hexagon precut.

So moving on, we have the jolly bar and so jolly bars are exclusive to fat quarter shop, which is for most of you accessible from an, the online retail shop that they run and their jolly bar measures five inches by 10 inches. So basically it’s just a layer cake cut in half. Um, but a jolly bar is kind of cool because it’s a mix of two different fabric lines. And so they include Moda solids. So moated solids are half of the jolly bars in the, uh, precut bundle. The other half is an exclusive matching fabric, quarter shop pattern. So we’ve there. All the fabrics are complimentary to one another, but one half of the fabrics are Moda and the other half are exclusive fabric, quarter shop pattern fabrics. That was a mouthful. Um, you can find jolly bar kits exclusively at the fat quarter shop.

Okay, next one is another exclusive precut and it is called a turnover. So as you may have guessed, it’s called a turnover. So that means it must be by Moda and turnovers are triangles. I know so great. Um, and they are six inch, half square triangles. Um, and they usually have 80 in a pack. So I mean, you get a good amount and a nice size in this one. I really I’m here for this one. This one gets me excited. So turnovers are triangles exclusively made by Moda and they are six inch, half square triangles. Um, and then lastly, our sweet strips and I almost hesitate to include them in this list just because they’re flannel. So they’re not quilt fabric. Um, but I want us to throw it in there because it’s a new thing that’s happening. Um, the precut thing is going beyond patchwork, quilters into everything because, uh, I think different types of crafters and designers are realizing they make life a lot easier.

So I think this is like something I’m kinda kind of keep an eye out, but sweet strips are 10 inch by 60 inch flannel strips and they are made by Shannon fabrics. And I just, I’m keeping an eye out for this one. I think it’s pretty cool. Okay guys. So there you have it. That is the rundown of all of the different pre cuts that are currently on the market. I’m sure there’s going to be a new one before you know it, and if I missed something, let me know. You can find a rundown of all of these pre cuts and what they mean And I am so happy. You spent the time with me. So

You have it guys. You just finished another episode of the stop scrolling start sewing podcast. Thanks for hanging out with me. Make sure you never miss an episode by hitting subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts. And don’t forget, stop scrolling and start sewing.

Quilt Love

Noelani T.

I worked with Nicole in a one on one environment on a large quilt. I have limited sewing experience and...

Noelani T.

The Modern Quilters Circle

Noelani T.

I worked with Nicole in a one on one environment on a large quilt. I have limited sewing experience and Nicole’s expertise was invaluable for this large project. Nicole is very patient and explained the different steps and their purposes clearly. She improved my original idea to better accomplish my overall goal. I highly recommend Nicole as an instructor and would personally have another session in a heartbeat!

Michelle L.

I seriously didn’t even know the names of parts of my sewing machine before I worked with Nicole. She walked...

Michelle L.

The Modern Quilters Circle

Michelle L.

I seriously didn’t even know the names of parts of my sewing machine before I worked with Nicole. She walked me through everything step by step. And it was amazing. She taught me the ins and outs of my machine and how to add each basic concept together. It was invaluable, because now I can figure things out and get creative without fearing the dreaded unravel!
The Modern Quilters Circle