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Forum > Quilters' Corner > How did pre-cuts get started? ( Moderated by Sharon1952)

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How did pre-cuts get started?
quiltingwolf
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Date: 5/16/13 2:02 PM

I wonder how this idea got started. To me it seems like part of the "modern" quilt movement. Younger woman with less time so short-cutting the process. I wonder this as I just did a search on pre-cuts and mostly sites that had modern fabrics came up. I can't describe modern fabrics but I know them when I see them. I don't have a problem with this I learn to embrace pre-cuts when I started getting into applique. An easy way to get a palette of colors and fabrics for your projects. Although I wouldn't buy pre-cuts to make a quilt out of. I just brought two charms paks. I like buying yardage though for anything besides appliqueing as I'm never sure what I'm going to use in what.
-- Edited on 5/16/13 3:39 PM --

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Jennifer Hill
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Date: 5/16/13 3:12 PM

They've been around for eons. I've read that charm packs were offered in the 19th century when there was quite the rage for charm quilts. Packs of silk and velvet offcuts were available during the 1880s fad for crazy quilts. Kit quilts were very popular in the 1930s, and Block-of-the Months were very popular when I started working in the biz 15 yrs ago. There are always some segments of the market who are willing to pay an upcharge for the convenience of having someone else choose fabrics, and/or cut them up for them.

Jennifer in Calgary
quiltingwolf
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In reply to Jennifer Hill

Date: 5/16/13 3:43 PM

Well I know the block of the months have been around for a while. But seems to me online anyway all of a sudden you had all these pre-cuts and shops specializing in them. I guess I 'm just an old dog who were learn new tricks lol.

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Franksdottir

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Date: 5/16/13 10:26 PM

It's a good question. I think Jennifer is right about charms - one of the big fads was "charm quilts" where every patch was a different fabric, or if people were pushed, every printed fabric was different. Women used to have parties where everyone shared scraps trying to give everyone the widest possible choice.

Most charm quilts were not individual blocks, but rather one-patches, like tumblers, or tumbling blocks and the like.

Also, Keepsake has sold their cut patterns (Scottie dogs, and other shapes) for years.

But pre-cuts as we think of them, especially jelly rolls, I think I don't remember them before "Watercolor Quilts." If you weren't quilting then, watercolor quilts were HUGE. I have never made one myself, but for a while there you couldn't go anywhere without seeing them, and some of them were gorgeous. You needed a LOT of dark and light patterns of fabric in 2 1/2" squares, and the demand created a product.

Vendors started selling groups of what we would now think of as jelly roll strips, in mixed colors and hues for making watercolor quilts. These were sometimes very specialized. Of course, some clever quilters started using these handy strips for other things, and it is my feeling that that is where it all comes from. I could be wrong.

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aslinnd
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Date: 5/17/13 3:26 AM

I don't think its younger time stressed women that drive it, I think its the opposite the target demographic in quilting is older, and holding a ruler and rotary cutter if you have arthritis or carpal tunnel or any number of complaints that seem to come with age, something you loved doing can be a chore. I have a couple of older friends who have issues with their hands, precuts and things like accuquilt or the equivilent make it easier to do.

Maybe not the whole move to very automated sewing is about that but I think part of it is, precuts maybe an idea around a while that gets a new lease.
arianamaniacs
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Date: 5/17/13 4:35 AM

I think it's just because the vendors recognized a market need and capitalized on it. It's not practical (or cheap) for everyone to have a mega-stash in order to quilt. It's better to pay slightly higher prices for packs that include all kinds of different fabrics.

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Sewmissy2
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Date: 5/17/13 8:01 AM

Weren't the 5" charms started as swatch packs so you could see all the fabrics in a line? Then people started using them in quilts. There was a book that came out using them..it was called Nickel Quilts. I don't think this was the beginning totally, but it seems that it was part of what made them popular about 10 years ago or so. Started seeing the Jelly Rolls soon after the charm squares became popular.

Just my own observations..
Missy

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TessKwiltz
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Date: 5/17/13 10:25 AM

I remember when I first started quilting about 15 years ago, the kits and pre-cuts that my shop sold were all prepared at the store. I don't remember pre-cuts from the manufacturers before around 10 years ago. The first ones I remember were from Moda.

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fabrictherapy
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Date: 5/17/13 10:33 AM

I love using precuts for quickie projects. If I can get them on sale and the price is right, it makes the project go faster.
figaro
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Date: 5/17/13 11:24 AM

There's also the fact that you can get a couple dozen or more fabrics that all coordinate. If you doubt your color skills, that's a nice way to make sure your fabrics all go together.

And in some cases jelly rolls are probably easier on the stores. I imagine most quilt stores don't have the shelf space to keep every batik known to man, but Bali Pops are easier to stock.
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