Precuts are fabric from a line of fabric which has been "cut" for the quilter into a specific measurement. Precuts are helpful to the quilter for many reasons:
1. The cuts are very straight because they have been cut by a commercial machine
2. They sometimes contain all the fabric from a design line instead of just one fabric which provides the quilter with a variety of fabrics blending together.
3. Precuts save the quilter time so they can spend all of their time quilting.
Precuts come in a lots of sizes but the most common are 10" squares (layer cakes), 5" squares (charm packs), 2 1/2 inch strips (jelly rolls), and fat quarters (quarter of a yard of fabric - measuring 18 X 22). Sometimes the precuts are put together for the quilter in a kit for a specific quilt top and this is called a quilt kit. Quilters are especially fond of the quilt kits as they are cut and ready to go. Since the cutting has been done ahead of time, precuts are usually a bit more expensive than yardage on a bolt. A bolt, is the 15 or 16 yard sections of a design fabric is measured in and sent to the fabric stores to be sold by the cut.
A fat quarter is a measurement of fabric between a yard and a Fat eighth that a quilter may choose to help the quilting dollar go farther. This allows the thrifty quilter to choose a wider variety of fabric but still have enough fabric of one design to cut the number of shapes they will need for their project. Fat quarters can be bought in singles (usually they vary in price from $3.00 - $4.00 for premium quilting cotton sold at regular price). Fat quarters can also be sold in bundles and vary in price depending on how many are in a bundle. Bundles can have 6, 12, all the way up to 36 fat quarters. I see the 36 FQ bundle (FQ is shorthand for fat quarter) as the ultimate present for myself. I love them - for any occasion, especially just because!
Layer Cakes are Moda Fabrics Trademark name for a package of 10 inch squares.
Layer Cakes are a mixture of 10" squares from one designer's line of fabrics. This type of precut is usually made up of 42 squares and may have some duplicates of pattern but usually has a variance of color in the pattern (not always though).
Quilters like precuts because they are easy to use, help them keep their cutting time down, and also keep their fabric square super straight. They can also use 10" squares for a variety of designs without having to cut them, or they can easily cut them down to industry standard sizes without wasting much fabric. For example, (1) 10 inch square will make (4) 5 inch square.
Many quilters love layer cakes for a cost affective way to have all the fabrics and colors in a complete design line without having to buy a large amount of fabric.
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