Fabric collection “Precuts” are one of my favorite inventions of the fabric industry in the past 20 years. These bundles of fabric come in three most common sizes. 5″ x 5″ squares – sometimes called Charm Squares or 5″ Stackers; 10 x 10″ Squares – sometimes called Layer Cakes or 10″ Stackers; and 2½”x Width of Fabric (42″) Strips – sometimes called Rolie Polie’s or Jelly Rolls. In this post I’ve put together a list of quilts and projects perfect for 5″ precut charm squares.
The benefits of using Charm Squares/5″ Stackers (and basically any collection of precuts) are:
A) you have a variety fabric that is “pre-cut” to an identical size and ready to work with. There are dozens of patterns written with the various precuts in mind.
B) All of the fabrics have a variety of coordinated colors, prints, scales etc. that work beautifully in a quilt.
I just pulled out a 5″ stacker of my latest collection Notting Hill to put together one of my favorite quick baby quilts. Using precuts is a huge timesaver as opposed to having to cut all of the fabric from 24 different pieces of yardage.
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 doing 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 updated a collection of my favorite Charm Square quilts. 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.
Top 25 Charm Square Quilts & Projects:
Here is the most basic, beginner friendly variation on how to make a Charm Pack Patchwork Quilt. Simple patchwork always looks good and using precut charm squares (or 5″ stackers) will save you lots of time on cutting as well as give you a perfectly coordinated fabric selection.
It’s also sometimes fun to mix in some of your own stash with a pre-existing charm pack. Here are some tips for making a basic patchwork quilt with 5″ x 5″ precut squares.
This simple checkerboard baby quilt was also made with 5″ x 5″ squares. These are pieces that were cut from my stash, but you could also alternate a scrappy charm-pack with white or a neutral color for a fun checkerboard look.
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 slightly cutting down 5″ charms is 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. (Once again, squares will need to be trimmed down for this pattern.)
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 Gretel collection from a few years ago.)
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.
Free printable Moda Love Charm Pack quilt pattern – this one made by Sherri of A Quilting Life
Charm Pack Cherry is a free printable quilt pattern from the Fat Quarter Shop.
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 Charm Square Quilts:
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!)
Another free table runner tutorial – this one by Lindsey Weight for Ft Worth Fabrics
This Vintage Houses Table Runner Tutorial by Bev McCullough of Flamingo Toes, featuring cute machine applique houses is also made with one charm pack + white background yardage.
I love the finished texture on this quilted bag – and the tutorial instructions are doable and simple!
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!