What are Fabric Precuts & How to Use Them

Sep 15, 2020 2:22:59 PM / by Erica Bottger

Ready for more quilting tips for National Sewing Month? Whether you are new to quilting or not, some of the terms in quilt patterns and discussions can be confusing. For example, you might start to think that quilting is really a code word for snacks when you start seeing terms like jelly rolls and layer cakes popping up, and hearing about fat quarters might just seem to confirm that. Don’t worry, these are fabric goodies, and your waistline is safe.


These tasty sounding terms are associated with different standardized cuts of fabric – no calories at all. Precuts are usually put together to give you a “taste” of each design and color in a line of fabric, but they can also be all solids or blenders or even all the same fabric. Most of the time, there will be 42 individual pieces, but this can vary. Names of the precuts will vary by manufacturer, but there are basic sizes that you will find across the board.


Many pattern designers will list precut sizes either instead of or in addition to standard yardage requirements these days. Because of this, many quilters find it helpful to use GO! dies to cut their existing fabric into these standard sizes to make them easier to organize and use in projects.
Below is a listing of the standard sizes, the GO! die and item number that you can use to cut that size and a suggested menu of a few of the many GO! dies that will pair well with each.


Layer Cakes

(10” Squares)



You can create your own layer cakes with the GO! Big Square 10” (9 ½” finished, 55451).


GO! Die Pairings:


Jelly Rolls

(2 ½” width of fabric strips)



You can use the GO! Strip Cutter 2 ½” (2” finished, 55014 or 55017) to make your own Jelly Rolls. You will also see this popular size referred to as Design Rolls, Bali Pops and more. Many patterns and pattern books are based on these strips with projects ranging from quilts to bowls and even rugs!


GO! Die Pairings:


Charm Packs

(5” Squares)



These can be cut with the GO! Square 5” (4 ½” finished, 55010) or Shape 1 from the GO! Qube Mix & Match 9” Block (55777).

GO! Die Pairings:


Mini Charm Pack

(2 ½” squares)

The GO! Square 2 ½” (2” finished, 55059), GO! Strip Cutter 2 ½” (2” finished, 55014 or 55017) or Shape 2 from the GO! Qube Mix & Match 8” Block (55776) can be used to make these as well.


Fat Quarters

(18” x 21”)

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This size varies from the above standard precuts by not only size but in the number of them that you can find bundled together. While the shapes listed above are typically packed by the fabric manufacturer and normally contain 40-42 pieces, fat quarters are often sold individually by retailers, or in groupings designed for specific projects as well as within a fabric line.


Fat quarters are created by cutting a standard ½ yard cut of yardage in half vertically, leaving you with the same square inches as a traditional ¼ yard cut of fabric, but instead of a 9” by approximately 40” strip of fabric, you will have a more usable piece of fabric, measuring 18” by approximately 20”. Due to the size of the pieces, there is not a GO! die to cut this size cut of fabric, but many GO! dies will work well with this size.


Fat Eighths

(9” x 21”)

Fat eighths are half the width of a fat quarter, and are becoming more and more popular with quilters who like a more “scrappy” look and appliqué fans alike. They also work well for small projects like zipper bags.

Using Precuts

Precuts are an easy starting place for new quilters, a selection of fabrics designed to work together ready to go into a project. They are also a great way to have a little bit of every print in a fabric line that you fall in love with. For quilters who want a “scrappy” look for their project, precuts are a great starting place as well. Appliqué fans can use precuts to make sure they have a wide variety of fabric to create their designs as well. Because of the ease of use, their popularity continues to grow.

Want help choosing fabrics? Check out the following posts or give our free pattern customizer, GO! Quilt!


Topics: fabric, pre-cuts, Quilting Tips, National Sewing Month

Erica Bottger

Written by Erica Bottger