What is a Fat Quarter?
A fat quarter is made by cutting a yard of fabric into four equal parts.
One yard of fabric measures 36" x 44"; if you cut this into four equal parts then each measures 18" x 22".
While a straight 1/4 yd cut measures 9" x 44", quilters
generally prefer to buy fat quarters rather than quarter yards as this gives more flexibility in cutting for applique or large blocks.
Why do you list a Fat Quarter as 18
I have been quilting for many years, and have come across fabric that barely measures 42" from selvage to salvage. In that case, a fat quarter would only measure 18" x 21".
Is the whole Fat Quarter usable fabric?
Unfortunately you do not always get the full use of the fat quarter. Fabric companies usually use one of the selvage edges to print the company name, fabric line and designer information on. In some instances this information is almost an inch into the fabric so it is best to figure that a fat quarter will provide 18" x 21" of usable fabric.