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I recently published a post about Jelly Rolls and how they were perfect for making cross stitch folded star ornaments.  And I got some feedback on the post, mostly telling me how expensive Jelly Rolls were.  I have to admit, the two Christmas themed Jelly Rolls I purchased were on sale at about $20 dollars per roll.  Even at that price, I felt they were on the expensive side.  But I really didn’t know if they were more expensive than standard bolt fabric or not. The quest to find out was on.

Are Pre-Cut Fabrics Really Expensive?

In the case of the Jelly Rolls, it seemed to me that the Jelly Rolls were more expensive than standard bolt fabric. But I really wasn’t sure. As always, I have to do the math to answer the question. Tedious? Yes, but worth it.

As most quilters know, quality quilting fabric by the yard is not cheap. The range is between $5 to $18 per yard with an average of $10 to $11 per yard.  To compare Jelly Rolls to bolt fabric, we need to determine bolt fabric yield, or how much you will produce, based on 36″ (one yard) of fabric.  You will cut your fabric into 2″ strips the full width of the fabric, so a full yard will yield 18 2″ strips (36″ divided by 2).

To make cross stitch folded star ornaments, you’ll actually need to buy a half yard of two different colored fabrics. For comparison sake, we’ll base our figures on finding a red and a green fabric, both the same price, at $10 per yard. Your half yard pieces (18″ each) will yield 9 2″ strips per color.  That’s a total of 9 red & 9 green strips.  Put that all together and it means you can make 9 ornaments from one yard of fabric.

The Jelly Rolls consisted of 40 precut, perfectly color coordinated strips. Using two strips per ornament means that I can make 20 ornaments per Jelly Roll. That’s a bunch! Plus, I don’t have to spend the time cutting a single fabric strip.  Jelly Rolls CAN be expensive, I found, starting at about $10 and costing up to $40 for a single Jelly Roll.  GADS!

The Numbers Never Lie

When you really crunch the numbers, it’s the cost of fabric per ornament is what gives you the true fabric cost.  The Average price for Jelly Rolls and bolt fabric is highlighted in yellow in the charts below. I ran this in a spreadsheet to see the cost breakdown.

The difference between the two showed that in reality, the cost was really not so different after all.  And, even the most expensive Jelly Rolls, at $40 each, were not that expensive on a cost per ornament basis.

With bolt fabric, if you picked a $6 per yard red fabric and a $10 per yard fabric, you’d be looking at $16 per yard total, which would make even the $30 Jelly Roll a better value.

Something Else

The other thing to think about, in terms of value, is the difference in variety.  If you purchase bolt fabric, you only get two fabrics to choose from.  If you’re making a batch of identical ornaments, that’s fine.  Or if you’re combining fabrics from your fabric stash, that works too.

But I like to make unique cross stitch folded star ornament with different cross stitch centers & different fabric combinations.  I think I may get a lot more options if starting from scratch, without dipping into my fabric stash, if I purchase a Jelly Roll. And for those who simply want to make ornaments and don’t have other fabrics on hand, pre-cuts are a very economical option.