Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Truth About Pre-Cuts

Jelly Rolls, Layer Cakes, Charm Squares, who doesn't love them? I've said it before, I would re-purchase my own fabric if someone came into my house, cut it up, and tied it up with a bow.

My latest purchase of pre-cut fat quarters. This is Inked by Lynn Krawczyk for Red Rooster fabrics.
The Good
Pre-cuts are an easy way to buy an entire collection without having to make an enormous investment. Last summer I bought a package of Cotton & Steel charm squares because I wasn't certain if I really liked its modern elements. I also bought a couple of coordinating fat quarters. Someday, perhaps even this year, I may use them to make a Chubby Charmer tote bag. A small investment in pre-cuts is also good if you're making a gift for someone who wants something very specific (purple sharks!) or doesn't share your color vibe.

The Bad
Not all pre-cuts are created equal. Some are cut by hand, some are cut by machine. I've gotten some jelly rolls where some of the strips were either wonky, under-sized or both. Who thought pinked edges were a good idea? I believe that you're supposed to include the pinked edge within your seam allowance and I feel that makes them a little small.

and The Ugly
Ever notice that the really ugly fabrics are hidden in the middle? That way you can't find them until AFTER you've purchased them. I'm also not fond of pre-cut lines that include duplicates or solids. Recently I bought a charm pack at Joann Fabrics of flannel squares and one of the squares was so ragged on the edges it was unusable at its full size (which is of course, what I needed it for) and of course there was exactly 40 squares in the pack which was what the pattern required.

Everyone has jumped on the pre-cut wagon and there are a plethora of patterns available. Check out Moda Bake Shop and Quiltville for lots of free patterns. Check out these blog parties hosted by Val's Quilting Studio on jelly rolls and layer cakes for even more ideas. If you're not familiar with Debbie Caffrey, she's a great teacher and pattern designer who was on the pre-cut bandwagon before it was even fashionable. Unfortunately, rather than choosing a tantalizing delicious name like Jelly Rolls, she went with Worms.There are tons and tons of books starring pre-cuts. Some other authors that I like include Pam and Nicky Lintott, Kimberly Einmo and Brenda Henning. The Missouri Star Quilt Company has a zillion videos (they have their own YouTube channel!) and patterns using pre-cuts, which they sell in their online shop, and now they've come out with an App (search Missouri Star Quilt Company in the iTunes Store). I downloaded it last night. It has all of the quilt pattern videos on it. This should keep me entertained for hours.

Do you buy pre-cuts? What are your experiences with pre-cuts? What are some of your favorite patterns using them? Favorite quilt designers? What are your thoughts about pinked edges?

Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,


  1. I have found that using precuts can be difficult too. I tend to use all precuts or no precuts when sewing as my cutting is never the same as their precuts!

  2. I have had issues with precuts also. I personally do not like the pinked edges; do you line them up (a pain0 or place them on a straight cut edge?? Who knows! I do like getting the whole line--and frequently use the ones that I don't like as much on pieced backings of quilts....right now i have been collecting mini charms and am making a rainbow postage stamp quilt....hugs, Julierose

  3. Linked edges are a pain!! They usually don't line up at all for me. I rarely buy precuts. Gasp! I know. If I do, it's the mini charm packs, because the are so cute and not pricey at all. I usually don't like all the fabric in the line.

  4. I prefer to buy yardage as I'm afraid of running out. But I do have a couple of fat quarter collections so I can get the whole collection without breaking the bank. I'm not a fan of the pinked edge but I understand why they do it; so it doesn't ravel while we pet them in the store. I tend to cut my yardage into half yard or fat quarters at home as it is an easier size to work with. Karen

  5. I buy some precuts but I prefer yardage. But I totally agree. Some of them are a bit wonky, and there is always something uber ugly.