Kimberly Jolly and Fat Quarter Shop

Kimberly Jolly

Kimberly Jolly is the founder and owner (with her husband Kevin) of Fat Quarter Shop, the comprehensive online resource for anything to do with quilting.  Kimberly has been interested in the sewing crafts practically her entire life – as she says, “When I was five, my grandmother taught me to crochet, later on I picked up cross stitch, and finally, in my early twenties, quilting.  With quilting, I found my true passion and have been quilting over 20 years now”. Kimberly was a quilter for several years before she became frustrated because she couldn’t find a particular fat quarter she wanted in any of her local shops. As she says, “that was the seed to start an online quilt shop where quilters could find any and every fabric they wanted.  That’s part of how Fat Quarter Shop came to be the name!”

A fat quarter is a one-fourth of a yard of fabric in a cut that usually measures 18" x 22", depending on the initial width of the fabric. To create a fat quarter, a yard of fabric is cut in half lengthwise, and then again widthwise. Fat Quarter Bundles are collections of fat quarters from a fabric line.

Kimberly started Fat Quarter Shop in 2003, while she was still working in the corporate world, and she would cut fabric, box and ship orders at night. She says “With lots of blood, sweat, tears and very little sleep, I have grown it to the company it is today.  I have a talented team of smart, creative minds that work very hard, including my husband, and FQS has expanded to way more than I ever dreamed.  I can’t describe it, except that every day is different and exciting.”

Kimberly and her husband Kevin are particularly happy about three things in the growth of their business: Getting their first warehouse was an important development, although they have moved several times since as their business and space needs grow. They feel fortunate to have gained long-term employees who take pride in their work. And finally, Kimberly is proud of Starting the It’s Sew Emma brand, named after daughter Emma. As she says “so obviously it is special to me. Having this brand also allows us to do things I never dreamt of before, creating new patterns, books and notions!”

It’s Sew Emma is the publishing arm of Fat Quarter Shop, and all the patterns are designed by Kimberly and her team. As she says, “We also write and publish wonderful books by outside authors, such as Lori Holt, Sherri Falls, Edyta Sitar and others, and we have a very exciting line up for 2018!”

Of course, there are always difficulties on the road to success. Kimberly’s has been balancing her business and family. As she says “The biggest challenge for me has been running a demanding, growing business alongside raising my family.  I have four children, and my eldest was born not too long after I started Fat Quarter Shop.  I will not say it has gotten easier, it is always a challenge to be both Mom and Boss.  My kids come first, so I have had to learn to delegate what I can workwise, but still keep the things that only I can do.”

Fat Quarter Shop has evolved into offering more than quilting supplies. As Kimberly says, “We try to stay on top of all the current trends and listen to what our customers are saying.  Being online and in the digital space, there are so many ways to communicate and share what’s new.  I think that is the most important way we are different.  We are constantly sharing new fabrics, notions, projects, videos and other creative content for everyone to use.  We also have an entrepreneurial approach to new ideas.  If one of our team comes up with a good idea, we encourage them to take charge and do it.  That’s how we have our YouTube channel, our Sew Sampler Subscription Box, our annual Quilt Alongs for charity, and many of our clubs!”

Aurifil Thread

We asked Kimberly how she decides what fabrics and notions to carry. She replied, “It always comes back to what our customers want (and what I want too, as a quilter!)  Going way back to my search for that one fat quarter bundle, I want to have as much quality fabric and notions available as possible.  Even if I don’t find a notion useful, it might be another quilter’s essential item.  And I still get excited when I find a cool new product to add to my stash or toolbox!  For instance, I’m obsessed with Aurifil thread – I actually have a full wall devoted to it.”

Fat Quarter Shop also produces informative and instructional videos. We asked Kimberly how she decides what to feature, and she told us “It starts with what we love!  If someone presents an idea, and we get excited about it, it’s probably going to get done.  I love our Shortcut Quilt series using precuts, but I especially adore our Classic & Vintage quilt blocks!  I also want to make instructional videos that are very thorough and complete, like our binding tutorials.  It was something that I struggled with, so our tutorial is very comprehensive in showing every detail.  You can click the following links to be taken to the respective libraries:

Shortcut Quilts

Classic & Vintage


With all that Kimberly has on her plate, she still has time for hands-on involvement in her products. As she says:” I think a lot of quilters are surprised to know that I still sew a lot of quilt samples for our store.  It’s important to me to put out perfect patterns, so I still sew our most important quilts to be able to proof everything that goes into our Quilt Kits and Clubs, like the Designer Mystery quilts and our It’s Sew Emma book quilts!”

Designer Mystery:

YouTube Channel:

Sew Sampler Subscription Box:

Clementine Quilt Along for St. Jude:


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