All About 108" Wide Fabrics - The Jolly Jabber Quilting Blog

All About 108″ Wide Fabrics

We wanted to call your attention to some BIG fabrics here at Fat Quarter Shop (and we mean BIG) – we are talking about 108” wide fabrics today! These are the humongously fat bolts you see at your quilt shops, that are double folded and rolled.  Some of you may be familiar with this width of fabric, but for those who aren’t, today’s post is for you?  Now the big question is: what are 108″ wide fabrics? We’ve got you covered. The 108’s have a total width of 108″(compared to the 44″/45″ widths normal fabric bolts have). The fabric is folded four times over!

And, although thought to be exclusive to traditional fabrics, the 108” love is spreading all over different fabric styles! Designers like Kaffe Fassett, Carolyn Friendlander, and Tula Pink have come out with 108″s  that are perfect for the modern quilter to put a twist on their quilts. And companies like Moda Fabrics and Riley Blake Designs are also expanding their wide offerings to include modern flavors, like Zen Chic, Grunge, and Lori Holt wide backings. Check out one of the awesome projects that Sarah from Sew Sweetness made from the Tula Pink Free Fall 108″ wide fabric:

From Sew Sweetness Blog

On top of that, extra wide fabric definitely means extra wide fun! Here are some uses for the 108″ wides:

Backing for Quilts

This is the most common use for the 108″ wide fabrics. Using a wider fabric for the backings means no more piecing backings! This is perfect for beginner quilters who are intimidated by having to piece backings for bigger quilts. And not having to piece backings saves you time, you get a cleaner finish, and is overall much easier. Definitely a win for everyone!

The sizes that 108″ wide pieces work for as backing go anywhere from lap size quilts to bed size quilts. As long as your quilt is 100″ in length, using a 108″ piece for backing should work for you! (Of course, when in doubt, talk to your longarm quilter!)

It can also be way more cost effective than piecing backings when your quilt is large enough.  For instance, a 60” x 70” quilt needs about 4 yards to piece a backing from 44” wide fabric.  At $10.75 per yard, that come to $43.  Now use 2 yards of a 108” backing (which you don’t have to piece together, hurrah), and at $16.98 a yard, that is $10 less than the pieced option.  And you will even have leftover to add to your stash. Win win!

The Front of a Quilt

Yes you heard right. You can use a 108″ wide fabric for the front of a quilt. This is called making a whole cloth quilt and works for quilters who want to experiment with a new style of quilting. You can have your hand at trying a new style of hand quilting or even long arm quilting and not have the pressure of trying something new on a quilt you spent hours piecing. And you still get a completed quilt at the end!

Making Curtains

The 108’s are perfect for making custom curtains for gorgeously tall windows in your house or even your shower! Just measure your window width and height, add 15” to 30” to the width for the amount of drapiness you like, and add 5” to 10” to the height to create pockets for your curtain or shower rods.  Add a few extra inches to the height if you want the floor-sweeping effect.  Cut your 108” piece to size, sew down some simple rod pockets, and in no time you have custom curtains to decorate any room in your house!

What to do with the Extras

Now that we have a couple of ways to use these enormous quilt pieces, the question arises as to what to do with the extras. Keep the scraps from the 108″ pieces and use them to make regular sizes quilt pieces. Or you can cut strips to make binding that matches the back of your quilt.

These are just a few ideas to get you started with 108″s, and now it’s time to have your hand at them! Find the wide range of 108″ wide quilt backing fabrics we have available at Fat Quarter Shop and get ready to have an amazing finished product. Be sure to share your projects on Instagram and tag us on @fatquartershop so we can see and share your projects! Also, comment down below with any questions or other ideas you have for using wide fabrics!

Happy quilting!

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  1. I’ve purchased these a couple of times and had a heck of a time trying to get the cut edges square. When purchased they are folded a few times and when I get it home and open it up, they are crazy crooked. What is the best (read EASIEST) way to trim these square? Also, because they are folded (and crooked where you can’t see it) at the shop, they cut it crooked (unintentionally). Any help with this would be great. Thanks.

    1. Hi Anne, the best way to square up these large pieces is to press it, fold it into quarters, and square up from there. FQS always adds a few inches to the cut that is ordered, so even after you square up, you should still have as much fabric as you need.

  2. I love 108 wide backs. I put so much work into the fronts that I’m overwhelmed with trying to figure out how I want the back.
    I feel like each of the designers should have a wide back for their line…1 or 2….nothing crazy!

    1. HI Carol, in the past the 108″ fabrics seemed to have printed on lower quality greige goods. But I’m happy to report that, since then, they are now printed on the same quality goods as regular 44″ wide bolts, with the same finishes applied. We on staff have actually remarked at how good the 108″ fabrics feel now!

  3. I have not been happy with many of the wide backings I bought, and I was CRUSHED over it because it was just my dream come true to finally have wide backings that were my styles. But the quality seams to be different. I have tried so so so many from multiple sources not just one and all high quality fabric designers, so I am confused. Why does the fabric seem to be thinner and just just, delicate frankly. I have only had 2 out of several recently that have made the grade. I keep buying them though! I have not giving up on the dream. I keep waiting on someone to give me a straightforward and honest answer as I have asked this before elsewhere and have yet to get a good answer. But it’s talked about in quilting circles all the time. I dislike piecing my backings so I want them to work for me and they do, mostly, but I don’t know for how long, and a couple just haven’t.

  4. Piecing a quilt backing really isn’t a big deal, but no backing seam + quilt top piecing seam combination ever made a hand quilter happy. Yay for 108″ backings of excellent quality!

  5. Wide fabric can be quite economical — One yard is equal to 2.5 yds regular width…! win! Some vendors will give you free samples so you can see & feel it before you invest.