charm square, jelly roll, what?

I received a lovely email last week from a lovely lady called Kim. She loves fabric but needs to know what all the fabric cuts I’m talking about are…charm squares, jelly rolls and so on. Here you go…..this for Kim and anyone else who wants to know.

Charm Square

A charm square is a 5 inch square of fabric. A pack usually contains 42 squares from the fabric range. It’s a great way to get a taste of a fabric range, to join up the squares to make a simple patchwork quilt or why not use them for smaller projects like these addictive hexagons for a grandmothers flower garden quilt.

here is one charm square pack all joined up to make a quilt for my grandma a few years ago. Perfect for a beginner or quick project.

Jelly Roll

A jelly roll is a roll of 2 1/2 inch strips of fabric cut across the width of the fabric (about 112cm). You get 40 strips in a roll.

Jelly roll strips can be joined together to make a simple quilt or cut and used for projects. This saves you having to cut a large piece of fabric into strips or smaller pieces. For this ‘coin quilt’ I joined 5 strips together then trimmed them down to a smaller square and then joined those squares into vertical rows with white sashing in between. It’s a lovely design and a great way to use a jelly roll.

Layer Cake

A layer cake is kind of like a big charm square pack. 42x 10 inch squares of fabric are included in this pack,

As you can see from this photo above there are lots of ways to cut up your layer cake pieces or just join them up for a big quilt or blanket which I did for some teachers quilts at the end of last year.

Here is an example of a design that could be used from a layer cake or a jelly roll and charm square pack. Having the fabric neatly pre-cut makes it an easier project and cuts down your cutting time.

Fat Quarter

In australia we work metric so I call a fat quarter 50x55cm which is basically a quarter of a metre and rather than cutting 25cm by the width of the fabric you cut one quarter out from the metre. In the US and quilting terms the fat quarter is a quarter of a yard (about 18 x 22 inches). Great for cushions, sewing and projects where you’re not sure what to make or you want more fabric to make a quilt.

When I made this quilt I used fat quarters that were cut into smaller pieces to make each block. A pack of precuts wouldn’t have been enough for the various sizes I needed but having an assortment of fat quarters was perfect. I blogged the quilt here

Other precuts include honeycombs (which are hexagons), dessert rolls, turnovers and more you can find including lots of patterns over at  Moda Bake Shop


  1. Yes, Corrie, I’ve often wondered what those terms meant. I don’t sew but I do love looking at the pretty fabrics you have for sale. Thanks for explaining it! Hope you are able to get a few rows of knitting done this weekend. Christine

  2. I am another one that doesn’t sew, but I love looking at all the gorgeous fabric & imagining the things my sister could sew with them. I have always wondered what the different fabric terms meant too, thanks for sorting that out for those of us that have no idea.

  3. I do sew and there is so much fabric and not enough time to use it all – so fat quarters and charm squares give me a taste of the gorgeous stuff, and often have a complementary colour range so I don’t have to look for matching fabric. Great post Corrie.

  4. Oh wonderful thank you,you ve given me ideas for those lovely charms and i have a jelly roll stashed too

  5. Hi Corrie

    Thanks so much for explaining all the fabric terms. Your quilts are absolutely beautiful.

  6. Corrie just a small question, how many fat quarters did u use for the block quilt,please, am looking for something that is eye catching and shows off the fabrics and looking at tjis one it something id like to do

  7. Thanks for explaining the various cuts of fabric!

  8. Hi Corrie

    Can you please tell me the name of the fabric in the 3rd picture (oriental inspired)?


  9. Hi Corrie. Thank you so much for explaining!! I’m still learning how to sew and I’m interested in getting a layer cake to make a quilt for my daughters!! Where do you normally buy them from?

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