How to Cut 10″ Layer Cake Squares from Metres Instead of Yards

We had a question recently, from a reader who wanted to know how to cut 10″ layer cake squares from meterage and not yardage. (If you want to cut from yardage, then click here for that tutorial.)

cutting layer cake squares from a metre of fabric

As quilters, we tend to work with imperial measurements like inches and yards and this applies even for those of us in countries like Australia who use the metric system.

This can be confusing, however, especially when we go and purchase fabric, as a quilting pattern may state how many yards is needed but we have to purchase it in metre lengths.

This means, we have to convert the calculations before we get to the store or if we don’t, we end up overestimating and buying more than we actually need, just to be safe.

Not necessarily a bad thing really, as we always manage to find a project for the leftovers but still, you don’t want to buy more if you can help it.

How many metres of fabric will you need to cut a full layer cake pack?

Now, our reader specifically wanted to know how many meters of fabric you would need to buy to cut a full layer cake pack so let’s answer that question first.

Since a layer cake is usually made up of 42 squares, you would need 3 metres of fabric to cut this many squares. You would also have 2 squares left over to play with.

And here’s a nifty little chart for some other amounts…

Fabric Size  # of 10″ squares
1 metre 12 squares
1.5 metres 20 squares
2 metres 28 squares
2.5 metres 36 squares
3 metres 44 squares

If you want to work this out for yourself,  continue on…

Let’s start by converting 10″ into metric. In this case, we would end up with 25.4cm which is just a little over a quarter of a metre.

Now, in the grand scheme of things, it would have been nice if it measured a neat 25cm or exactly a quarter of a metre. Things would have been so much easier, but no, we had to make it just a teensy bit over.

cutting 10" squares from a meter of fabric

My brain hurts…

This is where my brain starts to hurt because I am one for making things simple and having to work with exact measurements makes my brain have to work.

Oh well, at least my brain won’t turn to slush while I have this wonderful hobby but even so, I am going to try and keep things really simple.

So for those that are more visual, you can see by the image below that a 10″ square is equivalent to a 25.4cm square.

cutting 10" squares from a metre of fabric

Now that we have that 25.4cm measurement in our head, we can work out how many squares we can get from a metre of fabric.

You can see in the image below how that would look if we had a metre of fabric in front of us. We would end up with 6 squares, but remember that our fabric is folded so we double that. and we end up with 12 squares.

You’ll also notice that we end up with a bit of wasted fabric because we just can’t quite fit in 4 squares across, but more on that further on.

how to cut 10" squares from a metre of fabric

And now, for those that want a calculation…

Here’s the calculation:

Step 1:

fabric length ÷ 25.4cm = no. of squares  (round this down)

Step 2:

Now take the result from that calculation and multiply it by 4


Let’s say we have a metre of fabric and we want to see how many squares we can get from that.

We know that there are 100cms in a metre so our calculation would look like this:

Step 1:  100cms ÷ 25.4cms = 3.93

We have to round down that number so we get 3.

Now we need to multiply that number by 4 to get the total number of squares.

Step 2:  3 x 4 = 12 squares

HOWEVER….there is something you need to consider before buying your fabric!

Before you go buying a metre of fabric and cutting your fabric up into squares you might want to think about wastage. This can happen when buying exact amounts.

Remember our image above? There was quite a bit of wastage because we just couldn’t fit 4 squares across.

So what does this mean?

It means that if you want to make the best use of your fabric, you would buy just over a metre so that you could get 4 squares across and not waste so much fabric.

To be exact, this would mean buying 1.016 metres of fabric.

Good luck getting your fabric store to cut that measurement for you. They usually like to cut in .20cm or 25cm increments. And then, as we all know, fabric is rarely straight when we bring it home and we have to trim off a little to get it ready to cut.

So at best, you might end up with a piece of fabric measuring 1.20 metres which is still going to mean you are left with waste, but I’m just putting all this out there so you can keep that in mind when buying your fabric.

NOTE: How to Cut Your Own 10' Squares
You can check out our tutorial here on how to cut your own 10″ squares.