and Remnants of Fabrics, Leather, and Suede

What are Fat Quarters, and why do I want them?
For the same reason I favor remnants, scraps of leather or man-made suede, samples from the upholsterer and discards from the milliner and dressmaker: I'm going to make something
out of nothing.

Nothing is a misnomer of course, as these are short measures of beautiful fabrics. One needs only a bit of this and that to quilt, to sew, to line bead jewelry, to add to beaded costume, or mount on a planning wall as inspiration for an idea that is brewing.

Scroll down to see where to find
Fat Quarters, Remnants & Scraps or jump to
List of Sizes/Conversions for Necklace Lengths, Bead Sample Charts, Bead-to-Fiber conversion charts, hand-dyed silk and more. Embroidery Hoops and Frames offered from Joann.com

FAT QUARTER: A quilter's unit of measure (From the 44" wide fabric bolt, a yard is) cut in half lengthwise then in half widthwise. This 18" x 22" Quilter's measure of cloth allows more creative use than just shearing off a (9" x 44") one-quarter yard of fabric. Most easily found in excellent Cottons and luxurious Silks, any fabric of any width can be sold in a Fat Quarter measure by single piece or in bundles. Although not technically a quarter, look for "quilter's paks" of 1/2 yard or even 1 yard increments.

REMNANT: The remaining piece after a length or a pattern has been cut from the bolt or hide. Remnants can be straight cuts (usually) or shapes of any size (leather or suede). Remnants bundles, bags, boxes should be described with their typical or minimum scrap size. Bits of excellent fabrics, faux fur, leather or suede that are perfect for smaller or pieced projects.

SCRAPS or Strips: Scraps are the odd-shaped left overs from a project cutting. Strips are also these odds and ends, but in a rectangle shape (excellent for piecing or lining a beaded bracelet or detachable collar). Scraps or Strips are bundled and sold by bag, group, or lot. Sellers state whether the pieces are of mixed or specific content/color and the typical or minimum size. Small pieces of quality fabrics, leather, suede, Ultrasuede (and other man-made fabrics) can be found this way.

SAMPLES, or swatches: are squares of fabric larger enough to show the fabric's motif and character. These are sold as individual pieces, short sample lengths, as selection groups. Sample cards are very small pieces attached to a piece of paper (or they may send you the fabrics for you to attach to the descriptive card they've enclosed). Just like a bead sample card these are excellent for ideas, maybe not good as actually project supply (read what the vendor is offering carefully).

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Resources for FAT QUARTERS,
Cotton, Silk, Suede and more

Cotton Fat Quarters
Joann Cotton! Cotton! Cotton! Solids and Prints.
Thread Art Batik fat quarter packs; bright marbles, prints/solids.
Connecting Threads Paint box prints, cotton supreme, Batiks.
Fabrics N More pre-cut unfinished bandana squares.
Great first beaded scarf project; or see their cottons on E-Bay listed under Fabricsnmore.

Catalog City offers online access to several quilt shops, fabric houses and needlework stores. Worth poking around here, as there are some interesting finds in the on-line catalogs.

Silk Fat Quarters
Fabric.com Brilliant silk fat quarter packs! Silk Pastels. Nice selection of cotton fat quarters including Batiks at good prices.
Fashion Fabrics A wide variety of Silks, suedes and fashion fabrics, which can be had at less than 1 yard cuts!
Hyena Silks is newly offering Silk Quilt Kits: these are selected silks in full 1/2 yard increments. (Hyena also offers fabulous color silks by-the-yard.)

REMNANT Fashion Fabrics

Fabric Club Fabric Bundles available; a wide selection of fabrics; check their listings, they have high quality short lengths (remnants) of excellent fashion fabrics as well as fabric by-the-yard.
Fashion Fabrics offers a 10lb box of 1 to 4 yard lengths and the ability to purchase their superb variety of fashion fabrics at less than 1 yard increments.

Scraps, Strips, and Samples
Ultra Style Designs Excellent for Beading Projects and appliqué work. This is not just a grab bag, but an extraordinary color selection and size assortment of perfect, cut pieces of first quality Ultrasuede fabrics!
Fashion Fabrics Famous Maker Suede Fabric, silks and more; fabric boxes (as well as fabric by-the-yard).
BarkCloth Hawaii Samples and strips of Hawaiian Fabrics, Tropical, Vintage, and 50's motifs (as well as fabric by-the-yard).

Just a note...
ASK! If you have a favorite fabric store that appears to sell fabric only by-the-yard, ask them whether they sell their sample lengths, remnants, or do they cut them into fat quarters? You may discover a new resource, and make a new friend.
UltraSuede is a registered trade name for a luxuriously napped, washable, man-made fabric with the appearance and hand of suede. There are many man-made suede makers with different trade names for suede-like fabrics in a staggering variety from garment to upholstery weights.

Halston was the American dress designer who brought Ultrasuede out of interior decorating and into designer clothing. He was enormously popular, but nevertheless (at the time) it was such a shocker! Read about him, he's one of the reasons the man-made suede industry boomed, (and aren't we lucky.)
Beautiful Suede Fabrics are sold by the yard or in scrap bundles (above), or you could stop by your local upholstery shop and inquire about scraps (great weight for belting or padding), or query local dressmakers for who works with the garment-weight suedes (a better weight for beading). Their discards could be your pot 'o gold.
Scroungers' Center for Re-Usable Art Parts (SCRAP) located in
San Francisco (and other cities), SCRAP is the Artist's and Art Teacher's delight! Founded by local artists and activists wishing to recycle resources back into the community, SCRAP presents facinating offerings from fabrics to wood, mylar to feathers, papergoods to metal, and everything inbetween. If you like it, get it that day! If you are leaning out your fabric, beads, or paints stash - think about donating. When you are purchasing, they ask very little in contribution. You may have something like this in your town. Search under your city name and "teacher's resources" or "recycle."

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