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The first time I needed to square up a quilt block, I was at my friend Jenny's house and she had square rulers in just about every size imaginable. Placing the square ruler over my block and trimming it up was a piece of cake. But, I don't have square rulers, and I don't want to spend that money, so what do I do? (read more)
HOW TO SQUARE A QUILT BLOCK
It's super simple, and I'm going to lay it out for you in pictures and in a video. Whether you're at work and need no volume, or you're at home and need detailed instruction, I've got you covered.
You're going to need three things:
A self healing cutting mat
A rotary cutter
A straight ruler
I'll be squaring up a large quilt block (many) for a T-shirt quilt I'm making for a friend. See the little taggy ends where the half square triangles meet? Those are the things that really need to come off the block.
LET'S GET STARTED - IN ORDER
STEP 1 - Place your unsquared block onto your cutting mat. Line the edges up with a THICK line intersection on the mat so you can easily see where you want to cut. Basically, I want you to nestle one of the corners into the cross section of two thick lines.
This is super important because by nesting your block inside of the intersection, you are ensuring the end result will be square as you trim those taggy ends, extra material, etc. You want those crisp 90 degree corners, so be sure and nest your block. Don't guess if your corner is good, nest it and you'll know for sure.
Since most of my blocks are smaller than 15 inches, I like to use the 15 inch line on my mat both horizontally and diagonally, like so. This block is actually on the 15 inch and 10 inch (since I forgot to take pictures of the large blocks I was squaring), but as long as I have them butted up to a thick line corner, I'm happy.
I do not like to put them right on the edge because if I do, I can't see the numbers.
You will see me nestle the big blocks on the video below.
STEP 2 - Once you've got your block nestled into the corner, double check your measurements from your pattern.
Let's pretend I want to square this block up to six inches. I can tell by looking at it that the current measurements are 6" x 6.5".
Place your ruler over your block along whichever edge you want to start from. I'll start from the bottom. It looks pretty straight, so I'll leave the quilt square where it is, but I'll move the ruler to the next edge I want to square up.
If it didn't look good, I'd trim.
Both of my side edges look good, so now I move to the top edge. If any of these edges had been ragged, I'd just trim as I went.
The important thing to remember is that you need to have a mat that is marked. As long as you have a place to nestle the block that is already square, you can work your way from there.
Figuring out measurements is easy because you can just add or subtract based on the beginning or ending edge of your mat.
For example, if I want my block to be six inches square, all I need to do is either count the segments (conveniently marked on my mat) or look at where I'm starting and ending, then subtract the start from the end.
Here we have my block ending on 15 and starting on 9, so we know the block is six inches.
Something else to remember when you're figuring out how to square up a quilt block is that this is really going to be a minimal work venture. It's mainly used when you've been sewing half square triangles and have those little taggy ends jutting out.
I am not a fan of cutting with my right hand on my left side.
If you're like me, your options are either to move around the table, just moving your ruler, or you can cut two edges, then rotate your block 180 degrees. Just make sure you've marked where your block was nestled so you're sure to put it in the same place again.
HOW TO SQUARE A QUILT BLOCK VIDEO
If you need to see this in action, here you go. I'll tell you what I'm doing in the first part, and then fast motion the rest so you can see me square each block.
Sometimes seeing it done is just the best way to learn.
THE "ALMOST" FINISHED TOP
I love this pattern, it really goes together quickly, so I was able to just about finish the top after making that video.
My bed is a king. As you can see, it's a good size quilt, accomplished with approximately 15 T-shirts.
If you have any questions, be sure to let me know.
Until then, happy quilting!
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About The Author
I started quilting in June of 2018 after attending a quilt show in support of my
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