Recently, I taught a class at a local fabric/quilt/craft store, and was asked to describe pre-cut fabrics and review the subject for a group of new quilters.
I LOVE using pre-cuts to try out color palettes and to do smaller projects in no time flat! It also helps me keep up with new trends without having so much fabric left over to add to my ample stash, and with the scraps, I've started doing improvisational piecing to make table mats that I can quilt along with larger projects and give as hostess gifts or use to try new free motion designs on my mid-arm quilter, or (and I love this application) I use them as demo projects for quilting classes to pass around as samplers to teach techniques.
So the overview is that pre-cuts came onto the fabric market to show off new fabric lines, and to promote easy-cut projects to the new generation of home quilters. Moda Fabrics used the idea of sweets to label the various cuts and it sort of caught on.
Jelly Rolls: 2 1/2" by Width of Fabric (WOF, usually 42" to 44" wide) strips with at least one fabric from the whole line of a designer's new offerings. They are rolled up in a swirl and look like a sweet roll, hence the name (usually 40 strips).
Honey Buns: 1 1/2" by WOF strips presented in the same way. A smaller version of the fabric line examples.
Layer Cakes: 10" squares, at least one of each fabric from a new line, usually around 40 squares.
Charm Pack (or Charm Squares): squares measuring 5" x 5".
Mini Charms: half the size of Charms, these small squares are 2 1/2" x 2 1/2".
Some companies use other names for their pre-cut bundles, since Moda has the 'sweet' names trade marked. The 5" squares are sometimes called nickels, and the 10" square packs are sometimes called dimes.
Fat Quarters: rectangles that measure approximately 18″ x 21″, sold individually or in stacks of collections or assortments of solids or batiks.
Besides new fabric lines, you can also get pre-cuts in single solids, (to use for sashing or binding or borders) collections of colored solids, and collections of batiks usually grouped in color ways. These are excellent for baby quilts, smaller projects like table runners and lap rugs, place mats, hot pads and home dec projects.
You not only save loads of times cutting pieces to size, but you also get the fun of sampling so many new and trending styles that you might not purchase in larger yardage.
Pick something yummy (and low calorie) the next time you're at the quilt shop and give a quick project a try...can become addicting!!