Precuts are one of my favorite inventions of the fabric industry in the past 15 years. I was working in a local quilt shop 15 years ago and vividly remember when the first set of pre-cut 5″ x 5″ squares arrived in the shop. We were cutting a lot of squares kits ourselves at the time and it was SO HANDY to have a pre-cut bundle of squares including every print in the collection show-up ready to go.
Here’s a little bit of the background on “Charm Squares” (as I understand it. Feel free to correct me where I need it!)
Moda was the first company that I remember to do this. They coined the phrase Charm Packs coming from the traditional definition of a Charm Quilt – which is a quilt that is made where no fabric is used more than one time in the quilt. This was usually accomplished by asking for scraps from friends or exchanging fabrics to get this wide variety of different pieces.
In this century, original Charm Packs from the fabric manufacturers included one 5″ x 5″ square of each of the prints in the collections. Now other fabric manufacturers also make these collections, but often have other names such as Riley Blake’s version, 5″ Stackers. In recent years these precut packs have become more standardized at 42 squares in the pack and include repeat prints if there are less than 42 prints in the collection.
Precuts are still my favorite way to get a good variety of well-coordinated fabrics without having to buy yardage of all of the prints. It’s a great cost-saver and time-saver. Even if you don’t use the exact size (5″ x 5″ or 10″ x 10″, etc) and cut them down to smaller sizes, you’ll still save so much time compared to choosing and cutting fabric from yardage.
In this post I’ve collected a bunch of my favorite Charm Pack (or 5″ Stacker) friendly quilt patterns. Some are free tutorials, some are paid patterns – there’s a great variety to choose from! I’ve written and created a bunch myself and will list them all here for a comprehensive list.
The most basic use for precut Charms is a simple patchwork quilt. Here are some tips for making a basic patchwork quilt with 5″ x 5″ precut squares. There is another basic, beginner friendly variation on how to make a Charm Pack Patchwork Quilt here.
This Fast Four Patch quilt tutorial is the most popular tutorial on my blog. It’s a great one for beginners too. It calls for 4 1/2″ squares, but 5″ charms are still the easiest way to get a variety of coordinating fabrics.
Another variation on traditional patchwork squares (and very beginner-friendly) is this easy charm square baby quilt from Coral & Co.
Another variation of the Fast Four Patch Quilt is this version “on-point”. It’s another step beyond the beginner version. You can find the Farmhouse Four Patch Quilt tutorial here.
The Baby Lattice Quilt is the second most popular quilt tutorial on my blog. Again, the blocks set on point adds another skill layer as well as dynamic dimension to the finished quilt.
This Patchwork on Point tutorial is another variation of using precut charm squares for traditional patchwork but setting them on point, gives them some added sweetness. (This version is made with my current Gretel collection.)
A pixelated quilt is another variation on simple patchwork squares while creating a visible image in the patchwork as with this Pixelated Heart. Any Pixelated quilt pattern would be the same concept. I’ve got a pinboard of Pixelated quilt patterns here.
With pixelated quilts, specific colors and values are important to the finished image, so using a set of precut 5″ squares from a single collection might not work as well, but you can always save leftover squares from projects, sort them by color, and they’re ready to go when you need specific colors for another project.
The Quick Cornerstone Quilt has a great shortcut method for assembly. Charm Squares would make this a fun, curated scrappy quilt.
A similar traditional design with a short-cut method is this Woodruff Quilt tutorial designed by Nicola Dodd.
This sweet baby quilt pattern called Charming Lucy by A Bright Corner requires only one set of 5″ precuts + the background yardage. If you’d like a larger version of this quilt design you can find the pattern here.
5″ squares don’t have to stay square! This color Half Square Triangle quilt was made with 5″ charms.
(And there are SO many different ways to lay out Half Square Triangle (HST) blocks. Here are a few ways I played with this layout.A Broken Dishes layout is another one of my favorites for HST blocks.)
Here’s another Half Square Triangle variation using charms. This tutorial is called Fresh Diamonds by Anorina of Samelia’s Mum.
And this pinwheel baby quilt tutorial by Jodi Nelson made with one set of charm squares (including the prairie points) + the white backing yardage.
This Hour Glass block method was also created with 5″ charms. I love the scrappy feel.
Here are some large quilt options:
Chain Link is one of my patterns and it’s perfect for 5″ precut squares. Chain Link is available here in my shop.
Of course, it’s not just quilts that can be made with the precut 5″ squares. Here are some other projects:
Snowball Table Runner tutorial by Cluck Cluck Sew (this would be so cute as a whole quilt!)
Charm Pack Table Topper by Sherri McConnell of A Quilting Life
There’s a lot of inspiration to get you to pull out those precut 5″ charms and put them to use!
And, in good timing, long-time sponsor, Green Fairy Quilts has all of their 5″ precut charm packs marked down to $6.99 this weekend (through Monday, April 1). If there’s something you’ve had your eye on, it’s the perfect time to stock up!
Green Fairy Quilts is an online store owned by Judi and Clint Madsen that specializes in carrying the latest precuts at the best prices. It’s easy to search all of them including: Fat Quarter Bundles, Jelly Rolls, Charm Packs, and Layer Cakes. You can even preview and pre-order upcoming collections before they hit stores and they will be delivered to your door as soon as they are in stock.