25 Fat Quarter Projects – quick and easy things to make with fat quarters
Looking for ways to use up your favourite fat quarter fabrics? Try these fun ideas for quick-make projects that only need one or two fat quarters to sew.
Shopping for fat quarters is one of life's simple pleasures... fact. They come in all the colours of the rainbow and you can find them with pretty much any fabric style or print you choose – ditsy prints, on-trend solids or tie-dye, geometrics, traditional florals... whatever your fabric style, there's a fat quarter out there to give you an instant flavour of it at an affordable price.
But once you've stocked up they can be, well... tricky to sew with at times as you only get a small, pre-cut piece of fabric. That's why they're beloved by quilters as they're a quick way of building up a fabric stash of coordinating prints for the prettiest of patchwork. We've filled this round-up with some easy fat quarter projects to inspire you.
Read on to discover our favourite things to make with fat quarters, from quick-sew accessories to easy DIY gift ideas. We've included 25 projects that all use either just one fat quarter, or a handful - so you'll find ideas whether you've got one or a cupboard-overflowing with fat quarter fabrics to use up.
We all have sewing projects that need larger fabric cuts by the metre, but who among us is truly strong enough to resist the lure of these pre-cut fat quarter fabric bundles when we happen upon them in our local fabric shop? Personally my own fat quarter hoarding began in my early twenties (about a decade before I actually learnt to sew). I was browsing in a craft shop in St Ives, Cornwall when I was drawn to the beautiful, pre-cut and packaged fabric bundles in a little wicker basket by the shop window. I decided to treat myself to one or two at each craft shop I visited over the years, starting that day, with the goal of making a quilt out of them one day which would be a collection of fabrics from all the places I'd visited.
10 years later, when I learnt to sew and got into quilting, my fat quarter fabric collection has grown substantially and I'm currently in the middle of making an heirloom quilt from some of my favourites. While quilts are naturally the perfect way to use up these beautiful fabric cuts, they're also a really handy way of making quick, small sewing projects too. Find 25 easy ones to try below...
Not sure how to use your fat quarters? Read our guide to how to use a sewing machine and practise your skills with our top sewing kits for beginners. If you're new to sewing, learn the ropes with our sewing for beginners guide.
In this article you'll find...
- What is a fat quarter of fabric?
- How big is a fat quarter of fabric?
- Where to buy fat quarter fabric
- 25 quick fat quarter projects
What is a fat quarter of fabric?
Fat quarters are of the most popular standard cuts of fabric and are hugely popular with quilters. While traditionally, fabrics are brought by the metre or yard, which means if you buy a quarter of a metre then this is cut off the bolt to produce a long thin strip of fabric. However with fat quarters the fabric width is divided equally into quarters instead, producing 4 large rectangular pieces of fabric (which are very similar to squares in shape).
Fat quarters are popular with quilters and home sewists who may want to use part of a print for their patchwork, but don't need to buy larger bolts of fabric for projects like curtains or dressmaking. As they usually come in bundles of coordinating prints from the same collection, they're also a really neat way of creating unified colourways and themes in quilts as the different prints and patterns in the bundle have been pre-picked to coordinate for you.
How big is a fat quarter of fabric?
Fat quarters vary slightly in size (depending on the width of the fabric) but they usually measure 18 x 22 inches when the fabric is cut by the yard. When cut by the metre they measure 50 x 55 centimetres.
Where to buy fat quarter fabric
Our Etsy shopping habit has really got out of control – they may have started out in life specialising in selling handmade and vintage bespoke items, but since they expanded their merchants to sell a huge range of materials and supplies for our sewing projects we've been regularly topping up our fabric stash there too.
Browse the Etsy fat quarter fabric range (they've got hundreds of pages of fat quarters to tempt you) or treat yourself and stock right up with our favourite bundle (below) – this pack of 30 cotton fat quarters from the Happy Days range by Sherri & Chelsi (£69.75)
Browsing in the John Lewis haberdashery has to be one of our earliest memories of the complete magic of a fabric shop in the flesh. The bolts of fabric in all the colours of the sun always seemed so grown up and mysterious, and its never lost it's appeal with a trusted range of fabrics from big name brands. Their fat quarter fabric collection is just as amply stocked as their home sewing fabric range – with bundles from Free Spirt Kaffe Fassett, Morris &morning Co (William Morris prints) and Liberty fabrics, alongside fun themed collections from Visage Textiles – everything from Bat Man to Peter Rabbit.
Shop our pick of the range: 5 Morris & Co fat quarters of William Morris prints (£24)
The Cotton Patch
Few online fabric shops inspire us to splurge more than the complete Aladdin's cave that is The Cotton Patch. They have one of the most impressive fabric collections here in the UK and many of the quilts we've made feature fabrics purchased in their shop. With big name brands from Makower to Free Spirit and Tula Pink to tempt you, they also collate their own fat quarter bundles of fabric fabrics, ensuring you'll always find a great match for your current project.
Check out The Cotton Patch's Fat Quarter Shop – with bundles available by brand and theme.
Create and Craft
Most widely known here in the UK for their TV shopping channel, Create & Craft also have a surprisingly well-stocked online shop too, with some real gems to choose from and lots of modern, contemporary fat quarter prints to boost your patchwork and quilting.
Shop for fat quarters at Create & Craft (from £9.99 for a bundle of 5)
While there's no arguing that you'll get the same trusted collection of fabrics as you'd find in a specialist haberdashery online store, Amazon can't be beaten if you're looking for fat quarter fabric fast. Their huge range of merchants means you can search and shop easily for a huge collection of fat quarters. Their bundles include a vast range of quilting cottons, available by colour or theme – from Christmas to batik patterns.
Our favourite pick: Robert Kaufman Kona Cotton solids (£32.76 for 12 fat quarters)
Get ready to discover the jaw-dropping fabric range of Liberty. They may not always be the cheapest but this Iconic British design brand can't be beaten when it comes to contemporary fabrics with a classic heritage feel. The designer department of their online store offers some real gems which will make quilts and home sewing projects that never go out of style.
Shop Liberty Fat Quarters now – Prices start at around £19.95 for four fat quarters.
While they can't offer you the curated experience of buying fabric in a craft store or online fabric shop, Ebay do bring to the table a huge array of fat quarter bundles from big name brands, with their unbeatable filtering by price, pattern, colour, brand or pretty much any quality you want to use to narrow your search. Plus, as by their nature they stock a lot of one-off fabric bundles from individual sellers, you can bag some great bargains on fat quarter collections from some of your favourite brands – we found Liberty, Moda, Andover Fabrics, Morris & Co and Robert Kaufman bundles on our last visit.
A surprise recent addition to our list of go-to places for affordable fabric, Aldi have been dabbling in the budget end of the market for a couple of years now. Their range won't blow your socks off if you're looking for a wide range of brands and prints, but they're a great go to get you started stocking up on the basics. They're best known for their Harry Potter fabrics but they also do some fat quarter bundles of cotton, velvet and corduroy.
Shop the Aldi fat quarter range (from £4.99 for 5 fat quarters)
25 quick fat quarter projects
1. Make your own headbands
Jennie Jones has written a great tutorial for how to make double-sided headbands using just two fat quarters of fabric. They're a lovely way to wear your favourite prints and make great gifts too.
2. DIY Face masks
The biggest sewing trend of the past year has to be handmade face masks. While they're a controversial topic for some, making your own is a great way of adding your personal stamp to this pandemic-staple. I've used this pattern so many times I've lost count and now have face masks featuring my favourite fabric ranges to brighten up my trip even the most ordinary trip to the supermarket!
How to make a face mask
3. Easy drawstring bag
Show off your prettiest fat quarters with this handy bag – it uses just one fat quarter of fabric plus a piece of scrap fabric for the front pocket, but if you'd prefer to make it a bit bigger you can add a second fat quarter and increase the size pretty easily.
4. Turn them into handy storage
All you need is 1 fat quarter and some lining fabric to make these quick-stitch storage baskets – a great way to add a pop of colour to any room of your home!
5. Whip up a cute clutch bag
This stylish free fat quarter project is one our favourites here on Gathered – use one fat quarter for the bag and another for the bow detail on the front!
6. Quick-sew apron
One of our favourite things in life is taking fat quarter fabrics from our stash and turning them into really useful items that we'll use again and again. It's the opposite of fast fashion! This DIY garden apron only uses one fat quarter and will last you for years – it's also handy to wear while you're crafting to keep your notions and essential tools in there (I use mine to store my unpicker and embroidery scissors).
7. Make teeny tiny baby bootees
If you're looking for things to make with fat quarters, small projects are perfect as they suit the pre-cut fabric size of fat quarter fabrics. Welcome new arrives with these DIY baby booties!
8. Make an infinity scarf
Love this idea for turning your favourite fabric prints into an everyday wardrobe staple! This one uses six fat quarters of fabric – opt for complimentary tones and prints or go full-on glorious clashing for a maximalist effect.
9. DIY dog bed
Patchwork, of course, tops our list when it comes to fat quarter projects – and if you're looking for a smaller patchwork project to try it out with your fat quarters, this DIY dog bed could be the one for you. It also doubles up as a floor cushion if you're not a pet-owner.
10. Sew reusable fabric gift bags
We're on a push to be more sustainable with our sewing and these sweet fabric pouch gift bags are a great way to give gifts without wrapping paper. The bag itself doubles up as part of the gift as your recipient can reuse it for future gifts or to keep jewellery and other keepsakes in.
11. Make your own bow ties
These DIY bow ties are lovely way to add a personal touch to DIY wedding plans, or to add a unique feel to formal outfits.
12. Quick-sew sleep masks for sweet dreams
Loving this handmade gift idea, or make them for yourself to boost your rest-levels and recharge for a new day of sewing!
13. Get festive with fabric paper chains!
If you've got a couple of Christmas fat quarters squirrelled away, this is a cute idea – turn them into DIY decorations!
14. Make a Kantha quilt
Inspired by traditional Indian craft techniques, this Kantha quilt is also an easy first quilt to make so it's a lovely introduction to using your fat quarters to make a patchwork quilt.
15. Turn your fabrics into a kite mobile
This sweet nursery make is a great way to use up fabric scraps or a favourite fat quarter in your stash.
16. Sew a simple patchwork cushion
If you're interested in trying patchwork with your fat quarters but are still building your sewing confidence, we've got a great tutorial by Sarah Griffiths for how to hand sew a patchwork cushion – it uses 5 fat quarters and is a soothing make as you can sew it by hand on the sofa in your evenings!
17. Create playful pinwheels
There's something essentially cheery about pinwheels - this seaside favourite of our childhood also makes a quick, colourful home sewing project that kids and grown ups alike will love. They're also perfect for fat quarters as you don't need much fabric to make them!
18. DIY pencil case
Get ready for the new school term with this fun fat quarter project – you'll get to practise inserting a zip too – it's a great introduction to this technique and will only take you an evening or two to make.
19. Sew up a sunglasses case
Cases and cosies make perfect fat quarter projects and they're also practical items which will turn your fabric stash into everyday essentials! We've got a step by step sunglasses case DIY which is perfect for fat quarter fabrics for you...
20. Dress up your dinner table
Make patchwork placemats and coasters to turn your fat quarter fabrics into wow-making home decor!
21. DIY bookends
Brighten up bookshelves around your home by turning fat quarter fabrics into these eye-catching fabric bookends. We've got a quick-sew tutorial from Mollie Makes to show you how.
22. Easy-make tablet holder
Tech accessories have come along way in recent years – the old days of black, boring designs are long gone but you can still take it up a notch and sew your own tablet holder with this quick and easy fat quarter project to make in just one evening.
23. Make your own pattern weights
One for all those of you who enjoy a little handmade touch in your sewing kit – these DIY pattern weights are a great way of using up fat quarters of fabric to add a unique style to your craft space.
24. Make a bento bag
This clever bag sewing pattern uses three fat quarters of fabric and is so easy to sew – it's one our most popular patterns here on Gathered and we can see why.
25. Whip up a velcro wallet
We initially shared this step by step guide to making mini wallets with younger sewists in mind, but it's actually useful for all ages as another everyday fat quarter project that you'll use again and again. You'll need one fat quarter of fabric, some velcro and a few basic sewing supplies.
We hope you enjoy making these fat quarter projects! For more sewing inspiration, head to our round-up of the best sewing patterns for beginners for easy dressmaking projects to try.
Do you enjoy watching a creative TV show while you tackle your latest WIP? Check out our guides to The Great British Sewing Bee, The Great Pottery Throw Down and Interior Design Masters for lots of inspiration and tips.
Zoe is the launch Editor of Gathered.how. She has over a decade of craft publishing experience under her belt. She's a quilter and sewist who works with the UK’s best-selling craft magazines including Today’s Quilter, Love Patchwork & Quilting, Simply Sewing and The World of Cross Stitching. Zoe loves being immersed in Gathered’s quilting content, tweaking our tutorials and publishing new patterns. Zoe has previously written for radiotimes.com, Simply Knitting and The World of Cross Stitching and was previously Deputy Editor of Papercraft inspirations magazine. She has guest-lectured at Bath Spa University. She’s a keen quilter with 5 projects in progress at any one time and another 12 or so planned.