Fat Quarter Fun: Free Project Ideas To Stitch & Sew

Fat quarters (also known as FQs) are popular with quilters and seamstresses for several reasons including:

Fabric Fat Quarters Stacked & Tied With Ribbon
  • They are an economical way to build up a fabric stash
  • Reduce waste when only a small amount of material is required for a project (especially for contrast points)
  • They are a more versatile dimension to work with than a 1/4 yard of fabric (explained more fully below)

Once you start dipping into the FQ waters, it gets very tempting to buy them in stacks and bundles because they give a wide variety of print choice at your fingertips. The cost for this method is far lower than buying material in 1/2 yard or full yard cuts.

What does a standard Fat Quarter measure?

Unless otherwise specified, they are 18″ x 22″ which is a 1/4th cut from a yard of 45″ fabric. You can expect the entire piece to be usable with the selvage removed at point of cutting (which is where the extra inch goes).

I have a grid chart below showing you the difference between a 1/4 yard cut of material and a FQ. I also included measurements for 1/8 yd. and Fat Eighth.

Fabric Grid Showing Cut Measurements For: Fat Quarter, 1/4 Yard; Fat Eighth; 1/8 Yard

The differences quickly come into focus:

  • the 1/4 yd. is a thinner but wider strip
  • the Fat Quarter is twice the length but half the width, this opens up a whole new world in crafting since the piece isn’t so narrow

Because textile widths can vary (the norms are 36″, 45″ and 60″ but not limited to these), the widths of 1/4 yd and FQs can be different (ie. a 36″ W textile will give an 18″x18″ FQ; a 60″ W textile will give an 18″ x 30″ FQ).

Or…if you are purchasing from a country that has a metric standard, you might be working with meter lengths instead of yardages…this will provide a 19.5″x 22″ FQ (approximately).

But again, when ordering them, you can expect an 18″ x 22″ unless specified otherwise.

Once stash building begins, you’ll be dipping in frequently to use them as contrast elements in a variety of ways (pockets, borders, cuffs, appliques, etc.). But you’ll also find yourself wistfully looking at all the pretty prints just waiting to be used and you’ll start hunting around for projects that are well suited for them.

That’s where this page comes in! I’ve put together a master list of over 60 free tutorials and ideas that use Fat Quarters beautifully. Most are not only quick and easy to whip up, but they are quite lovely or practical too. Sew a treat or two for yourself, for gift giving and for craft tables.

What To Make With Fat Quarters: So Many Ideas!

As always here on Tipnut, only those projects that are 100% hassle-free are included in this collection. This means there are no fees charged, no email addresses to submit and no membership sign-ups required. Any necessary pattern or template pieces are provided (usually via pdf download). I also mainly focus on text & image tutorials, though some may provide additional support via video. If that has changed since being added to this page, please let me know in the comments area below so I can remove it.

Directions: Click on images to view project page, a new browser tab will open & save your spot here


Large Hot Pad

Lined with both batting & Insul-Bright, this will surely do a great job protecting surfaces from hot dishes pulled out of the oven.

Source: auntieemscrafts.com


Decorative Tins

You’ll need some double-sided adhesive sheets from Thermoweb. The tutorial has lots of photos to walk you through the process, click on them to view larger size if needed.

Source: remarkablydomestic.com


Storage Pods

I really like these! Each takes 2 & some cotton batting. Fully washable & can tumble dry low (or air dry flat). A free pdf tutorial/pattern is available to download. Note the instruction *not* to prewash fabrics.

Source: fabriceditions.com


DIY Heat Therapy Bags

Here’s all the info you need (fillers, materials & usage directions) to make microwaveable heat packs that help treat aches & pains, good for aromatherapy too. Very gift-worthy!

Source: tipnut.com


Mouse Pad

Super quick to make, these use cork rounds as the base (I’ve found them at the dollar store).

Source: funkyanddelightful.blogspot.com


Doll Quilt

Taking just an hour to sew, this will use 3 & measures 17″ x 23″ once it’s done which makes it suitable for smaller babies & those that are bigger at 18″ too.

Source: stitchedbycrystal.com


Notebook Cover Organizer

Features pockets to hold phones, pens, to do lists, etc. Other than material you’ll just need some lightweight iron on interfacing & a small piece of elastic

Source: crazylittleprojects.com


Handkerchiefs

A simple little project that makes a great gift for dad. Zip through a stack of these & you’ll be a pro at turning hems in no time flat.

Source: drapersdaughter.com


Pie Tote Carrier

Terrific for carrying 9″ pie plates to potlucks & parties, this is quite simple to sew. Just 3-4 FQs, 2 metal rings & some batting will get the job done.

Source: eartheim.com


Dish Mat

Just the right size for a washing up a few dishes, this is backed by terry cloth. Free tutorial via pdf download.

Source: lrdesignsquilting.com


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Comments

    • Carmen Russell
    Reply

    These are wonderful,thank you very much.

    • Amira Eshak
    Reply

    I LOVE YOUR IDEAS VERYMUCH BUT AS I AM WORKING AS A TEACHER I REALLY DON’T HAVE TIME FOR CRAFT , IAM KEEPING ALL THESE WONDERFULL IDEAS TO DO LATER ON IN SUMMAR TIME . THANKS ALOT

    • Rebecca Whittaker
    Reply

    Hi

    i like your ideas i make religious tote bags and bible covers i am starting new for the spring and summer.Thanks for the pattern.Have a good day

    Thanks again
    becca

    • kavita kishna
    Reply

    I really love these ideas. I will try to do some as soon as I have some free time. It wonderful of you to share these ideas.

    • Lisa Seale
    Reply

    Do you have directions for the origami style gift bag. I know I was able to follow the link at one time, but now I am not able to see the directions. Thanks for posting these great ideas!

      • Tipnut
      Reply

      The project appears to be no longer available on the site Lisa so I’ve had to remove it.

    • Linda Barton Hughes
    Reply

    I am so happy to find this page.. have been looking for a sewing and patterns. Was wondering if you had ideas for teaching simple things. Have a 10 year old granddaughter that I would like to teach…but I cant find things that are up todate so she would use…can you help??

    • Sharon Ferguson-Bryant
    Reply

    Thank you so very much for everything on your site,and information you forward to everyone.
    I’m a crafter, and digging out my real sewing machine again (been put away for years) am taking up my
    quilting again,because of things I have seen and read on your site.
    Bless you and all you do. Keep up the great work!

    Best wishes,
    Sharon

    • sue lloyd
    Reply

    Love your site! Became a follower right away!

    • scottie
    Reply

    wonderful ideas for everyone could not find better thank you so much Scottie.

    • Dawna
    Reply

    Great website -Love all the quilting/sewing craft ideas

    • MSGRACIE
    Reply

    i have several beautiful fabric vests (none are the sweater type) and was wondering if you have ideas/patterns to recycle them? thank you for your time it is appreciated.

    • Donna
    Reply

    I am looking for a quilt pattern I have made a couple of times in the past, but have lost the exact instructions. Made with stacked fat quarters, and cut like a 9 patch but at “wacky” angles then sewn together to make 9 blocks that are each pieced in different orders. Any ideas? thanks

    • Margie Broadway
    Reply

    I need an idea for a gift using dish towels No sew ideas please Thank you

    • Carolyn Vallat
    Reply

    So many “Fat Q’s have been collected over the years especially some lovely Christmas ones.Now I’ll have some ideas for there use.

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