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Precut 411

Precut 411

Written by: 
Lisa Calle

Like many of you, I've been spending a lot of my free time poking around the Blockheads 3 Facebook group. Lots of people are using pre-cuts (layer cakes are a popular choice) and I've noticed the same questions come up again and again. Since I am Moda's resident precut guru, I thought I'd share all the things I know about working with pre cut fabric.

Pre-cuts are a great addition to any quilting stash.  For a full list of the different pre-cuts and a description of each, check out this printable from Moda. Note that pre-cuts vary by manufacturer (in number per package, types offered, etc.). so don't expect them in every fabric line you fall in love with. Pre-cuts can seem expensive at first glance, but when you consider the number of prints offered compared to buying yardage, they're actually a great deal. Plus the fact that you have so much less cutting to do is a time-saver that is hard to put a price on.

For a new quilter, there are a few pre-cuts I recommend over others. Start with the Layer Cake. They are 10" square and super versatile for all kinds of projects. The size also means that you get a good chunk of each fabric so you can really see the design. Check out layer cake patterns from the Moda Bake Shop {here}.

How many to buy? Just one layer cake plus some yardage will make a good-sized quilt top - even up to a twin or full size depending on the pattern.

Strip piecing with jelly rolls is also one of my favorite kinds of sewing, but you're working with long pieces (44") and they're relatively narrow (2.5") so I'd wait until your 1/4" seam is perfect before tackling a jelly roll project. You'll be happier with the end results that way. I know this from experience because my first quilt was made with a jelly roll. I didn't even own a 1/4" foot and I struggled piecing those strips. Nothing matched up because I didn't have a consistent seam allowance.

Check out jelly roll patterns from the Moda Bake Shop {here}.

How many to buy? Just one jelly roll will make a lap quilt. I recommend the Jelly Roll Race pattern as a way to get started sewing with Jelly Rolls. Really fast and really easy.

And last, charm packs and mini charm packs are both useful and cute.  These cuts are a nice way to get a sampling of a fabric line without committing a lot of your budget to it. Charm squares measure 5" and mini charms are 2.5."

How many to buy? Charm packs and minis are a small amount of fabric.  To get the coverage of a layer cake, you will need 4 charm packs or 16 mini charms, but you can make a quilt top with just one charm pack and yardage (see photo above). Unless you are working with a pattern that tells you a specific number of charms, I would say buy just one of each .The point with these pre-cuts for me is to have the full fabric line, even if its in small pieces.


When it comes to bundles, these are usually fat quarters or sometimes fat eighths. These bundles usually include the whole line or just one colorway from the line but be sure to read the details so you know what you're getting. The bundles can be made up of different cuts, as well: 1 yard, 1/2 yard, fat quarters, and fat eighths. Bundles like these can be a great way to build your stash. Instead of going for bundles that contain fabric from just one line, I'd say go for mixed bundles. You can find a lot of these on Etsy and there are some shop owners who are great about mixing different collections. I recommend Westwood Acres, Stash Modern Fabric, Fabric Shoppe, and Fresh Modern Fabric. A fat eighth or fat quarter bundle is plenty of fabric for any quilting project, but if you are buying basics like stripes, polka dots, or solids that you can use in multiple projects then 1 yard or half yard bundles are the way to go.

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