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How to Square Up a Quilt Block (Part of The Beginner Sewing Series)

Squaring up quilt blocks was a step that I used to skip altogether. But then I just I drove myself crazy trying to stretch, pull and creatively iron :) my squares to make them work and ended up with some really wonky quilts. (Which is really fine, after all, this is supposed to be a fun hobby!) But, the more I quilt, the more I want my quilts to look really good, so I’ve started squaring up my blocks most of the time.

Here’s how I square up my quilt blocks. As with most things quilty, there are probably 3000 different ways to do this, but this is the way that works for me. And, a little heads up, you’re probably going to want to rely on my pictures more than my writing! (This was much harder to explain than I anticipated.)

In this post, I used a 6.5″ square quilt ruler and 5.5″ quilt blocks. (You can use your quilt ruler to square up any quilt square that is smaller than your ruler.)

Place your quilt square under the ruler and line up the corner of the quilt square with the 5.5″ corner of the ruler. To find the 5.5″ corner of the ruler, find where the little lines meet to form a right angle. And if that is about as clear as mud, just look at the pictures below. :)

(It probably goes without saying, but if your quilt square is a different size from mine, then line it up accordingly.)

Here’s a view of the entire square. You’re also going to try to line up the sides of your quilt square with the 5.5″ line on the ruler. I say try because it’s almost impossible to get this exactly perfect (at least it is for me) but close to perfect is really good enough to let you make a nice, squared up quilt.

I also use the diagonal line to try to line up my corners.

After you’ve lined everything up, trim the sides to make them even.

Repeat on all 4 sides. I usually at least check all 4 sides and make sure everything lines up pretty well. I don’t always have to trim all 4 sides.

Sometimes you’ll find that you don’t really need to trim anything and that’s great! That means your quilt square is already square!

For more beginner sewing tips, check out my Beginner Sewing Series!

Comments

  1. Okay, may I say that I have the same exact 6.5″ square ruler and I actually did figure this out myself after doing like you did, stretching my fabric this way and that to make it fit. My first fabric wall hanging was perfect all over, except for one corner that was a result of where all the extra fabric had gone after I pulled it back and forth to make the other three corners perfect. I love love love my square ruler and I want to see if I can find one even bigger.

    • Hmm. Let me look at my post. I might have said something wrong. I do pull and tug a little, but if you pull and tug too much, yep, you could end up with too much/little fabric by the time you get to the last side. Maybe I need to reword something. Anyway, thanks for your comments and good luck on your quilt. And I love my square ruler, too. I waited way too long to buy it!

    • Hey again Annette! After reading over my post I think I misunderstood your comment the first! You meant before you got your ruler you had that corner that would mot cooperate. ha! yep, quilt rulers are awesome. Spending the time on that extra step makes things easier and probably quicker, in the long run, right?

  2. great info just purchased my first ruler and its been so helpful. enjoyed reading through your blog have experienced a lot of the same issues thanks!!

  3. So, I see how easy it is to square of a square that is too big. What aboutva square that is too small. I just pieced a full 12 1/2 by 12 1/2 block quilt and they were all too small. What do I do?

    • Uh oh, thats no fun. I think I would probably just go back, figure out which block is the smallest, square that block up, determine its final measurement and then make all my other squares that size. Don’t know if this is “right,” and it probably depends on the type of block it is as to whether or not ot would work, but that’s what I would try. Good luck! :)

      • This was very helpful. I am a beginning quilter and very frustrated with trying to make the blocks square. I do have a question, what if squaring the block makes the design look wrong–like in a 9 patch where the middle patch is bigger than the side patches if you have to trim. (Hope this makes sense)? Any advice?
        Thanks!
        TJo

Trackbacks

  1. [...] have this. (It’s under the quilt ruler because I was squaring it up. You can square your block any time during the process you want, you don’t have to wait until [...]

  2. [...] your seams, square it up and you’re [...]

  3. […] to check out. Hopefully this will help you. If not, there's tons of videos on youtube as well. How to Square Up a Quilt Block (Beginner Sewing Series) Renee Be kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle ~ Plato Reply […]

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