Squaring up quilt blocks is an essential part of quilting. It ensures that all of your blocks are the same size, which helps to create a uniform quilt top. In this guide, we will discuss the importance of squaring up blocks, the different methods of squaring up blocks, and tips for squaring up blocks perfectly every time.
The Importance of Squaring Up Blocks
Squaring up blocks is important for a few reasons. First, it helps to create a professional-looking quilt. When all of your blocks are the same size, it gives your quilt a clean and polished finish. Second, squaring up blocks can help to prevent problems with your quilt top. If your blocks are not the same size, it can make it difficult to piece them together and can lead to gaps and uneven seams. Finally, squaring up blocks can help to save time. If you square up your blocks as you go, you will be less likely to have to make adjustments later on.
The Different Methods of Squaring Up Blocks
There are a few different methods of squaring up blocks. The most common method is to use a rotary cutter, square ruler, and cutting mat. You can also use a special squaring up tool.
Using a Square Ruler
A square ruler is a special ruler that, as you can guess, is square. This can make it easier to square up blocks, especially if you have the same size square ruler as the size to which you are trimming your block.
- If your square ruler is the same size to which you are trimming, center your block on the square ruler. Otherwise, center the block on the measurements labeled on the square for the right size to trim. For example, in the above photo, I am trimming to 3.5″ square with a 4.5″ square ruler, so I have centered my block within the 3.5″ measurements.
- Cut along the right and top sides with a rotary cutter.
- Rotate the block 180 degrees and repeat.
Using a Special Squaring Up Tool
There are also special squaring up tools available that can help you square up certain kinds of blocks. These tools typically have a gridded surface that helps you to align the block. One example is the Perfect Quarter Square and Half Square Triangle tool, which helps you trim down HSTs or QSTs to a perfect square. Many specialty blocks have special trimming tools, so if you find that a square ruler is not quite right, a specialty trimmer may help.
Tips for Squaring Up Blocks Perfectly Every Time
- Use a sharp rotary cutter. A dull rotary cutter will make it difficult to cut through the fabric cleanly, which can lead to inaccurate measurements.
- Use a ruler that is the same size as your desired finished block size. This will help to ensure that you are cutting your blocks to the correct size.
- Use a cutting mat that is large enough to accommodate your blocks and your ruler. This will help to prevent your fabric from slipping while you are cutting.
- Cut your blocks on a flat surface. This will help to ensure that your cuts are accurate.
- Be sure to square up all four sides of your blocks. This will help to ensure that your blocks are square and even.
- If you are using a pattern that requires you to square up your blocks to a specific size, be sure to measure your blocks before you cut them. This will help to ensure that you are cutting the correct size blocks.
- If you are squaring up a large block (over 12.5″ square), you may have to use a regular ruler (mine is 6″ x 24″). Square up as carefully as you can, but don’t sweat the large blocks too much. There tends to be enough wiggle room in them that they don’t have to be as precise as smaller blocks.
- Be sure to square up your blocks as you go. This will help to save time and to prevent problems with your quilt top.
With a little practice, you will be able to square up perfect blocks every time.