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How to Square Up a Quilt Block

Karen Flournoy

Posted on April 22 2020

How to Square Up a Quilt Block

Being home, I've been working on my quilting projects and wonder if some of you might be too? 

If you've pieced your favorite blocks into a finished quilt top, then it needs to be squared up to begin the finishing process.  

There are few steps to make sure your quilt is ready for the over stitching, whether by long arming or free motion quilting.

Taking the time to do the prep work can transform your quilt from a homemade "nice job" to a "stand out" professional project.

The first and probably most essential step is to "true" or "square up" the quilt top. Most of the time, when we join our blocks to form rows, we end up with seams that are not perfect. (We are human after all.) But, these little imperfections over a whole quilt can add up. We end up with slightly uneven edges. That is why squaring up a quilt top is so important.  

To square the quilt top, you're going to make sure that all the corners are at 90-degree angles and all of the edges straight, even lines. 

Tools you will need: 

(All of which you can find online HERE)

  1. Square quilt ruler (the bigger, the better)  
  2. Straight edge cutting ruler
  3. Rotary cutting tool
  4. Rotary cutting mat

Step-by-Step: 

  1. Begin by laying out your quilt top on a table or cutting surface (I use the floor). Arrange your quilt on the cutting mat so it is well supported, and the other side is NOT hanging off the surface. Now make sure the bottom right corner is on the mat with room on each edge. (You can fold or bunch up the rest of the top to make handling easier.).  
  2. Position your straight edge cutting ruler on the top of the corner. Lining it in this position will give you a clean corner on the quilt top.
  3. Add your square cutting ruler directly on top of the straight edge ruler, so you can clearly see a clean corner — one that is neat and clean. Use this as your cutting guide.
  4. To true the quilt top, you're going to make sure that all the corners are at 90-degree angles, and all of the edges are straight, even lines. 
  5. Move your quilt, so the top right corner is in position on the cutting mat and repeat steps 2-4. This will give you a clean neat corner in this position.
  6. Move quilt top to a position that you can cut between top right and bottom right corners using your straight edge ruler and rotary cutter. Move your quilt as you go until you have finished the right side of your quilt.
  7. Repeat steps 2-6 for the left top and bottom corners. 
  8. Finish your edges of your quilt by cutting along the left, right, top and bottom by following angles made by using the square quilt ruler.

Hopefully, soon, we'll be able to resume our Chateau Sew & Sew Quilting Classes in our sewing studio, but in the meantime…we are offering the following two classes privately via Facetime/Zoom/Skype:

Precision Crafting 101: Rotary Cutters, Mats, & Rulers 101  and Sewing Machine Basics: Private Lesson.   

If you are interested, please click the link to sign up and we’ll call you to schedule a time for your lesson! 

We love quilting and quilters at Chateau Sew & Sew and are here to help, no matter which stage your quilting project is in. 

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