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Those Fantastic Fat Quarters: Temptation, Inspiration, and Tips!

We all know the drill. We walk innocently into a quilt shop or vendors’ mart, or visit our favorite online fabric site–“just to look”–and there they are, calling our name. How can we resist them? Whether attractively bundled in yummy coordinated packets, stacks, or towers, or enticingly displayed in individual rolls or folds, fat quarters–those lovely 18″ x 22″ slices of fabric–are pure temptation.

This past May, amidst all the color and commotion on the show floor at Spring Market, my eye was drawn to a booth brimming with absolutely the coolest quilts. The palettes were stylish and sophisticated, the designs fresh and appealing…and all were made with fat quarters. Trust me: these were not your mother’s fat-quarter quilts!

Eye of the Storm, a fat-quarter quilt designed by Stephanie Prescott of A Quilter's Dream. Pattern available.

In short order, I managed to meet the talented pattern designer, Stephanie Prescott, and her mom, Susan. The two comprise the creative and business know-how behind A Quilter’s Dream, formerly a brick-and-mortar quilt shop, but now a show and online business based in San Dimas, CA. A Quilter’s Dream carries a wonderful array of patterns designed by Stephanie–many utilizing fat quarters–plus a select collection of favorite patterns by other designers, fat-quarter packs and fabric kits, books, and notions.

A Crooked Mile, a fat-quarter quilt designed by Stephanie Prescott of A Quilter's Dream. Pattern available.

Want a peek? You’re just in time. A Quilter’s Dream is about to unveil a brand-spanking-new, updated website. Patterns for all quilts and totes shown in this post will be available on the new website (, which is scheduled to be up and running on Monday, July 18. (If not, it will be very soon after.)

Split Decision, a fat-quarter quilt designed by Stephanie Prescott of A Quilter's Dream. Pattern available.

Color is Stephanie’s springboard. That’s where she starts when planning a new quilt; particulars of the design come after the palette is chosen. She favors the scrappy look–some of her bed-sized designs include between 20 – 30 fat-quarters–and seems impervious to the 18″ x 22″ limitations of the fabrics: blocks in her fat-quarter quilts range from 6″ to 18″.

Here are some additional fat-quarter insights from this accomplished designer.

  1. Worried about fat quarters raveling in the wash? Don’t wash them! If the occasional heavily overdyed fabric makes you nervous, test it in warm water with liquid detergent. Still in doubt? Wash the finished quilt with a color fixative such as Retayne.

  2. Store fat quarters by color, rather than by “genre” (batiks, Asian-inspired prints, repros, etc.). Mixing prints in the storage stage tends to translate into added richness and variety in your quilts, too.

Solstice, a fat-quarter quilt designed by Stephanie Prescott of A Quilter's Dream. Pattern available.

  1. Running out of a particular fabric is not a tragedy. It is, to quote Stephanie, “what’s so fabulous” about working fat-quarter scrappy. Simply substitute another fat quarter in a similar color and/or value.

  2. Unless you absolutely can’t resist, if you’re a fat-quarter newbie, begin your collection by purchasing small bundles and/or individual fat-quarter pieces rather than “mega towers.” You’ll get more of a mix and be able to stretch your dollars to build a more versatile collection more quickly. Better yet, if you’re feeling brave, make up your own fat-quarter packets. Buy what you like, and don’t worry about being “matchy, matchy.”

Stephanie also designs a lovely line of patterns for fat-quarter totes, seen here on display at Spring Quilt Market.

  1. A tote is a great way to experiment with fat quarters; you have a smaller number of fabrics to work with, and typically, all the fabrics work as equal partners.

My thanks to Stephanie for sharing her tips and photos. I hope you’ll stop by A Quilter’s Dream website and have a look at all the wonderful goodies she has to offer.

Last, but not least, congratulations to Linda G, winner of the book, Favorite Techniques from the Experts, the giveaway in my July 1 post.

‘Til next time, happy stitching!

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