In this day of instant gratification quilters just want to SEW! We don’t want to spend hours or even a day or more cutting out stacks of triangles or other shapes before we can sit down to sew. Pre-cut fabric bundles are the perfect solution, especially since there are patterns designed specifically for pre-cuts so there is very little additional cutting to be done before the sewing begins.
You’ll find lots of pre-cut fabric bundles in your local quilt shop. Typically, these bundles include one or two cuts of each print in a specific fabric line and they are packaged either in rolls or stacks. (All of the major fabric companies, like Moda, Robert Kaufman, and Hoffman Bali, produce pre-cut bundles, but they often market them under different names.)
The most popular bundles are:
Layer Cakes—10″ squares
Charm Packs—5″ squares
Mini Charm Packs—2-1/2″ squares
Twice the Charm Packs—5-1/2″ x 21″ strips
Jelly Rolls—2-1/2″ x 44″ strips
Honey Buns—1-1/2″ x 44″ strips
Fat Quarter Bundles—18″ x 22″ rectangles
Pre-cut fabric bundles are ideal for projects that include squares, half-square triangles and quarter-square triangles. Layer cakes are just right for 8” hexagons and charm packs make perfect 4” hexagons. Jelly roll strips have endless variations for dozens of strip-pieced blocks and can also be used for binding strips.
The trick with pre-cuts is to keep any additional cutting to use them to a minimum, thus maximizing the time spent sewing while producing a finished quilt with ease and speed. Another tip for using pre-cuts is to quickly double-check the measurements before you begin, measuring from the outer point of a pinked edge.
There are so many books and patterns that help you use the great pre-cut fabric bundles that are available. My next book, Jelly Roll Jambalaya Quilts, is full of new quilt designs that take advantage of the pre-cut 2-1/2″ jelly roll strips so you can sew from the get-go. In addition, the book features la petite lesson, or little lessons teaching a technique to be used in the featured quilt and useful for future quilting projects.
Don’t be afraid to stock up on those pre-cut bundles the next time you are at the quilt shop…And don’t forget to shake them outside when you open them to keep that fabric dust out of your sewing room and off your project!
Do you use pre-cut fabric bundles or do you enjoy cutting larger pieces of fabric? Which are your favorite bundles? What tips do you have for using pre-cuts successfully?
Jean Ann Wright was editor of Quilt magazine for 20 years. Jean Ann has had quilts featured on the covers of The Quilter and Quilter’s World. She is the author of "Quilt Sashings & Settings The basics & beyond" and the upcoming "Jelly Roll Jambalaya Quilts". She and her sister, Janet Houts, are the co-authors of "Log Cabin Quilts The basics & beyond" and the newly released "Quilting a Circle of Nine" (sequel to the best-seller "Circle of Nine").