Pre-Cut Fabric Squares at a Bargain

Updated: Feb 7

Find out how cheap pre-cut fabrics bought online compare with the beautifully-packaged bundles in your local craft store.

I recently got addicted to patchwork. The joy for me lies in the opportunity to work with so many different fabrics in a single project. I'm a slow sewist so it can get tiring after staring at the same fabric for a long time in a single dressmaking project.


There were these pre-cut fabric squares for sale in a local online shop. A packet of 100 pieces of 10cm x 10cm square was selling at just RM4, although you won't be able to choose the prints. There are sample photos to give you an idea of the overall feel of the prints but even those were not guaranteed to be the ones you will be getting. As of the date of this post, the price has increased to RM6 per packet.


I had no plans for the patchwork, but I reckon it should at least have some kind of a pattern or a colour scheme. Since each packet will have no more than two repeat designs, to make sure I have enough squares of certain prints, I bought 10 packets (equal 1000 squares). That works out to be only RM40! What a bargain!


Stacks of pre-cut fabric squares.

I must admit, when the pre-cut squares arrived at my doorstep, I was not very excited because I thought the fabrics were not going to be very pretty (the sample photos online did not look attractive). I bought them entirely to experiment with patchwork and quilting.


When I unpacked and sorted them, I realised they were quite the eye-candies! So far, I have used them to make two cushion covers, three framed wall decors, and one tote bag (more on those in another post).


And look at what a stack I am still left with!

A tall stack of pre-cut fabric squares.
After two cushion covers, three wall arts and a tote bag, I am left with still this many fabric squares.

Sorting


At first, sorting the squares were quite daunting because of the sheer number of prints and I didn't know the best way to sort them. Finally, I settled with a system that roughly categorises them based on type of print (flowers, geometry, etc.), size of print, background colour (light, bright, or dark). The idea is to then select matching or coordinating prints that I want to use in a project.


Sorting of fabric squares.
Sorting in progress.

The result? Here are the fabric squares I got from the bundles:


Fabric squares with small flowers on light background arranged in a grid.
Small flowers on light background.

Fabric squares with small flowers on bright background arranged in grid.
Small flowers on bright background.

Fabric squares with medium flowers on light background arranged in grid.
Medium flowers on light background.

Fabric squares with dark background arranged in grid.
Medium flowers and some miscellaneous prints on dark background.

Polka-dots fabric squares arranged in grid.
Small polka-dots.

Big polka-dots fabric squares arranged in grid.
Big polka-dots.

Gingham and striped fabric squares arrange in grid.
Ginghams and stripes.

And here are the ones that have been used in projects (details of the end products will be in another post!):


Red fabric squares arranged 6 by 6.
Red-themed squares for Chinese New Year cushion covers.

Turquoise-brown-grey fabric squares arranged for patchwork wall art.
An arrangement for wall art using turquoise as the main colour.

Turquoise-grey fabric squares arrangement for patchwork.
Another arrangement for wall art, also using turquoise as the main colour.


Quality


The quality of the pre-cut squares is far inferior to the branded ones you find in say, Spotlight. Of course, the price is also far lower, almost 10 times cheaper. But they have some glaring defects as described below:


Flaw 1: Cutting Defects

The cutting sometimes deviates quite substantially from 10cm x 10cm, although they are all at least 10cm x 10cm so you could still cut them to the correct dimensions. Some of them is caused by folded fabric like this one:

Fabric square with a fold causing error in cutting.
Cutting defect due to folded fabric.

Flaw 2: Printing Defect

Notice how the right-most second from bottom square in the dark-blue series above has a print defect. This was not the only piece with such defect.

Printing defect on the dark-blue star fabric.
Printing defect on the dark-blue star fabric.

Flaw 3: Thin and Coarse

The fabrics are really thin, so interfacing is a must if you were going to make anything functional out of them. Some are also very coarse, so they are not suitable for projects that need to be comfortable to touch like blankets.


Flaw 4: Ugly Prints

This is of course, subjective. But despite having some really nice prints, I find some prints downright ugly and I can't imagine using them in any project.


Conclusion


I am quite surprised by how much I turned out to like the fabric squares. And to think how many projects I have done with them, with still so many (nice ones) in the stash! These fabric squares, despite all their flaws, are definitely a bargain even after the price hike (though it is only so if you buy from that one particular seller in Shopee, provided he/she does not increased the price any further). Definitely recommended for anyone, especially beginners, who want to try out patchwork and quilting.

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