Quilting with Charm Squares
What Is A Charm Quilt?
A charm quilt may be pieced entirely with charm squares or mixed with other fabrics depending on your quilt’s design. There are many pattern options available to choose from for charm square quilts. Or create your own pattern with some beautiful charm squares that you love. Once you learn how to quilt with charm squares, you’ll be ready for more.
How to Make A Charm Square Quilt?
Charm square quilts can be quite simple to make. Precut charm squares save time getting you started sewing sooner. A variety of modified patchwork block patterns work quite easily for charm square quilts. Some of the simplest blocks are perfect for using charm squares and result in gorgeous quilts.
What is A Charm Square?
A charm square is a 5” x 5” precut piece of quilting fabric sold in a charm pack.
What is A Charm Pack?
A Charm Pack is a collection of multiple charm squares. Often sold in a pack of 42 coordinated pieces, they are generally packaged by the manufacturer as a sampling of specific fabric lines or collections. Sometimes each fabric may be different, but more often some of the fabrics may be duplicated.
How Much Fabric Is in A Charm Pack?
A single charm pack of 42 squares measuring 5” x 5” each is equivalent to about a ¾ yard length of 42” wide fabric.
Quilt shops assemble curated charm packs to provide a selection of specific fabric collections. Popular curated charm pack choices include low volume fabrics, baby themed prints, or flannel squares for a rag quilt. Curated charm packs are a perfect option if you have a specific design in mind.
How ever you buy your charm packs, they are wonderful to make easy patchwork charm quilts. They save you lots of cutting time, not to mention your fabric selection is already chosen.
What Are the Benefits of Precut Fabrics?
Precut Fabrics Save Money
Precut fabrics are a specific size and shape of fabric sold in bundled collections, such as charm squares. The biggest advantage to precuts is the variety of fabrics you may purchase for about the same price as a yard of fabric. It’s a great way to try a new fabric collection or color combination at a low cost.
Precut Fabrics Offer Variety
Another advantage to sewing with precuts is the opportunity to purchase a line of varied, coordinating fabrics in small pieces. Before the multitude of precuts that exist today, quilt stores only sold fat quarter precuts. Buying 15 to 20 fat quarters to get an entire new fabric line is substantially more expensive than a bundle of precut squares.
Precut Fabrics Save Time
Additionally, precuts offer a huge timesaving step in your quilting preparation. Purchasing precisely cut fabric squares eliminates all that cutting. Plus, you’ll appreciate the accuracy when you are piecing your quilt together.
How to Cut Your Own Charm Squares
How to Cut Charm Squares from Yardage
Charm squares are easy to cut from any fabric you already have. With a rotary cutter and a medium to large size cutting mat you’ll have plenty of charm squares in no time. Once you know how many charm squares are in a yard, you’ll be figuring out your next quilt in no time at all.
Most quilting fabric is about 42” wide. After removing the selvage, you should have at least a 40” wide piece of fabric. That is a perfect dimension for cutting charm squares. You can plan on getting 8 squares of 5” x 5” charms per width of fabric. A yard of fabric will be 7 rows measuring 5”. With 8 squares per row, you will get 56 charm squares per yard.
For even quicker results, layer a few fabrics together and cut them at the same time. You’ll be sewing in no time at all!
How many Charm Squares are in a Fat Quarter
How to Cut Fat Quarters into Charm Squares
A lot of us quilters have a collection of fat quarters. If you have a coordinated collection of fat quarters, a charm quilt might be a perfect opportunity to put those fabrics to use. You can easily cut charm squares from a fat quarter.
These 18” x 20” fat quarter precuts are easily cut into charm squares, too. An entire fat quarter will give you 12 charms. A single row along the widest length will yield 4 charms, and a single row along the narrow width will give you 3 charms.
How Do You Cut Charm Squares from Layer Cakes
Another popular precut is the layer cake. Measuring 10” x 10”, these bundles are often sold in packs of 42 fabrics. They generally showcase a specific fabric line or collection. Cutting you own layer cakes may result in excess strips being added to your scrap pile. But layer cakes are perfect to cut into charms. If you have some left over pieces from another project, simply cut them in half in both directions. Voila, you’ll have four charm squares ready for your next quilt.
How Do You Cut Charm Squares from Fabric Scraps
Do you have a healthy scrap pile filled with fabric from previous quilts? Don’t forget to use your leftover border strips or backing fabrics to cut into charm squares. If you have larger scrap pieces from your quilt tops that will give you a 5” square, cut it and add it to the bundle.
Scrappy charm square quilts are a perfect way to use up extra fabric. Even better is that you can make them any size just by adding more rows of charms until you have just the size quilt you want.
How to Make A Charm Square Quilt
How Many Charms Packs to Make A Quilt
The size of a finished charm square after sewing with a ¼” seam allowance measures 4 ½” x 4 ½” square. A single charm pack with 42 squares may be pieced into a quilt top with 6 rows of 7 blocks each, measuring 27” x 31 ½”. While this is a small size quilt, it may be enlarged by adding borders for a nice size baby quilt.
What Can You Do with A Charm Pack
When you are ready to move on from squares to other shapes and patterns, check out these free patterns and ideas from Moda Fabrics.
Charm Square Pattern Ideas
Other ideas for small charm square projects are matching mug rugs, placemats and table runners. Easy blocks to make from charms are a 4-patch, Half Square Triangle, Easy Rail Fence.