Squaring Up Fabric in Quilting

The process of squaring the quilt comes up with a lot of questions no matter how expert one is in it. The need for a pre-wash and the need to square up a quilt before adding borders are some of the common questions we encounter. While we will answer these questions in detail without fail, we’d appreciate it if you could just read on to the end for some serious take away including suggestions and tips on quilting.

Let’s start with the basics.

What exactly is squaring up a quilt?

In simple terms, squaring up a quilt means straightening the fabric before cutting. This is done to ensure that all your quilt corners are cut square at a 90° angle and that all the edges are straight. If not squared up, attaching the bindings will not be as easy as it should be and when it is kept folded on the bed, the lack of a professional’s touch will be evident.

4 tips from experts to square up the quilt

While perfect square up is an art of a master quilter, here are some tips that you can use to master the art of quilting.

1. Iron each block

Ironing each block before cutting will make the edges lay flat and remove the creases on them.

2. Double check the measure

Before every cut make sure that you double-check the measurements at least twice.

3. Slow and steady

There is always a chance that you are going to cut some extra fabric. Hold the ruler tight so that it won’t slip.

4. Patience is the key

You may overcut at times. But remember it is an art form and you need patience and dedication to tame this one.

What are the types of fabric you can use in quilting?

a. Quilting cotton:

Quilting cotton is the best choice among all the fabrics used for quilting. It doesn’t shrink much compared to the cheaper cotton fabrics. Apart from being non-shrinkable, they come with a variety of printed patterns including animal themes with a huge fan base. Visit our collection now.

b. Woolen quilts

Woolen quilts are generally more insulating than other quilts and are flame resistant. They last longer and won't fray when cut. Though it is indeed a good choice, its weight and size make it tough to handle.

c. Quilter’s Linen

 Quilter’s linen is a material similar to quilting cotton but thicker, denser and softer than. Being a linen material, it is susceptible to shrinking and needs to be starched sometimes. Like quilting cotton, it comes with various printed designs and patterns to make it visually appealing. Visit our collection for more insights.

 d. Cotton flannel

 Cotton flannel or baby brackets are the lovely velvety material often made from a polyester mix. Square up would be quite difficult but it can be done with a little starch sprinkling or ironing.

How to square up fabric?

A pre-wash is always recommended on the fabric to be squared up. The pre-wash will help you better feel the fabric you are handling. Ensure that the fabric is properly dried and pressed after the wash as it might shrink after washing. Moreover, pressing will make the cut lines straight.

For the best quality fabric that is less prone to shrinking and stretching, feel free to visit our collection.

The process of squaring up a fabric varies depending on whether or not the fabric has a selvedge or not.

Fabric with selvedge

Step 1:

Identify the selvedge edge by the imprint of the fabric manufacturer on the woven ends. This edge line is machine made and can be trusted for its precision and also can be considered as a reference guideline. No other edges can be chosen as they will either be frayed or cut disproportionately.

Step 2:

The next selvedge edge should now be brought to the first one. Lay it flat on a table so that it can spread to full. Slide the two edges along one another so that the opposite edge be straight without bumps or folds, call it the folded edge. Now you can notice the uneven cuts on the side edges.

Step 3:

Now that you got two edges straight, slide in the cutting mat underneath the fabric layer. Align the selvedge edge with a top straight line on the mat. The folded edge will automatically be aligned to a straight line at the bottom of the mat.

Step 4:

Take any of the side edges and fold them in so that the inner layers of the fold are visible. Take the transparent ruler and find the point on the fabric such that the raw edge just brushes past the end. You may note the point with a temporary marker.

The bottom and the other edge should be at right angles to each other. The alignment in step 3 shouldn’t be disturbed at any cause.

Step 5:

Now you may cut the line slowly using the rotary cutter such that the ruler doesn’t slip. Cutting a crooked line is quite frustrating as you have completed all the above steps and ended up messing with the final one.

It is advised that you keep your fingers at least half an inch away from the edge of the ruler. Hold it steady and straight while cutting and keep the rotary blade sharp enough.

Fabric without selvedge

Step 1:

Lay the quilt spread on the cutting mat and place a square ruler on the first corner. You should ensure you have the entire square ruler covered by fabric underneath. Cut both the edges of the ruler using the rotary cutter slowly. If disturbed, you will be ruining the whole fabric.

Step 2:

Get the long ruler to align the cut edge and the ruler and continue cutting the fabric along the edge slowly. Cut along so that the next corner is reached. Make sure that the ruler doesn’t slip.

Step 3:

As said in the first step you need to overlap the square ruler so that the horizontal cut edge is in line with the sides of the ruler. Cut along the vertical line holding the ruler steady.

Step 4:

Rotate the quilt and repeat steps 2 and 3 so that all the sides are covered and are trimmed.

We hope that you found this article helpful. Follow these steps to square up your quilt perfectly. Once you’ve got the squared-up material ready, get on to quilting!

 Happy quilting!

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