Charm squares are a great cut of fabric to use in quilts and other patchwork projects! One yard of cotton fabric (the standard 45″ width) will produce 56 charm squares (5″x5″).
To follow along with this tutorial, you’ll need a rotary cutter, self-healing cutting mat, and a large cutting ruler. I like this 6″ x 24″ one from OLFA. Buying cutting tools is not as much fun as buying fabric, but believe me when I say that having good-quality cutting mats, rotary blades, and rulers is a worthwhile investment! I have a post dedicated to my “must-have” cutting tools, which you can read here.
Before starting with the tutorial, let me answer some of the most common questions related to fabric charms:
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What is a fabric charm?
A fabric charm is a small piece of fabric, typically 5 inches (13 cm) square that is sewn or glued onto a fabric item. Fabric charms are sometimes called appliqués, which is technically incorrect since appliqués are an entire process. They can be made from many different fabrics and materials ranging from felt to velvet to lace. Quilt charms can also contain beads, rhinestones, or embroidery for a more elegant look. If you are looking for some inspiration make sure to check our tutorial Make a Bunting from Charm Squares.
How big is a fabric charm Square?
There isn’t one standard size across all brands; this means that different companies offer different sizes of these items. The overall size varies depending on the brand, the crafter, and the use. That being said, the most common size is 5″x5″, which I will demonstrate in the tutorial.
How many pieces of fabric are in a Charm Pack?
There are 42 pieces of fabric in a Charm Pack. Buying a pack is an easy way to get many different prints! You can find them at any store that carries quilting supplies, or you could order one online here on amazon. A charm pack is generally considered enough yardage for most people to make a smaller baby quilt, but you’ll probably want more if making something more significant.
How to Cut Fabric Charm Squares Step-By-Step
Take your yard of fabric and make sure the selvage (the white strip with words or colored circles) is straight and ready to be trimmed. Because I am cutting a yard of Spoonflower fabric, it’s a little different because there is white all around the border. I am right-handed, so I made sure the selvage was on the right. I chose to fold the top of my fabric down, and here you can see how I lined up the selvage edges, to make the cutting process quicker.
I lined up my ruler on the inside of the selvage. Using my rotary cutter in my right hand, I held down the ruler firmly with my left hand. Make sure your body is in a good position to hold the ruler so it doesn’t slip.
Once your selvage is gone, you’ll want to flip your cutting mat so the fresh edge you just cut is on the opposite side (left for right-handers). Line up your ruler on top of your fabric and measure out a strip that is 5 inches wide. I have a 5-inch ruler, but many rulers are 6 inches wide. Cut along the side of the ruler for the entire length of the fabric. (Notice that my fabric is still folded, so each strip will have a top and a bottom piece.) Continue cutting 5 inch strips in this same way until you can cut no more.
Take two strips, and line them up on your mat as pictured. Use your ruler to measure out 5 inches again, this time the other way, so you will make 5-inch squares. You will make 4 squares (2 top, 2 bottom). Repeat this process to cut a total of 56 charm squares.