Learn How to Square a Quilt

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After you have pieced together your favorite quilt blocks into a beautiful quilt top, it’s time to start the prep work for the all over stitching such as long arming or free motion. That means, square a quilt top, create a quilt sandwich, truing you topper and pinning things together.

It is important to square a quilt before starting the preparation for long-arm and free motion stitching. Learn how to square any size quilt topper. The Sewing Loft

Taking the time to do this prep work can transform your quilt from a homemade “nice job” to a stand-out, professional project. One of the most important steps is to true, or square up, the quilt as you complete it.

It is important to square a quilt before starting the preparation for long-arm and free motion stitching. Learn how to square any size quilt topper. The Sewing Loft

When you sew together the blocks of a quilt, sometimes you’re going to wind up with seams that weren’t perfect – after all, you’re a human, not a machine! But all those little imperfections in the seam allowances can add up, and by the time the quilt top is finished it might have a little bit of unevenness along the edges. Learning how to true a quilt can solve that problem, so let’s get started!

It is important to square a quilt before starting the preparation for long-arm and free motion stitching. Learn how to square any size quilt topper. The Sewing Loft

How to Square a Quilt

Skill Level- 1 Button

Materials Needed:

  • square quilt ruler (any size, but in general the bigger, the better)
  • straight edge cutting ruler
  • rotary cutting tool
  • rotary cutting mat
  • quilt sandwich components – top, batting, backing

**Omigrid offers a value priced variety pack of non slip square rulers. These are great for any size project!

Step 1: Square a Quilt Top

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 straight, even lines. Here’s how:

  1. Lay out your quilt top on a large table or cutting surface so that it’s well supported and one side isn’t pulling it down off the table. Arrange it so that the bottom right corner of the quilt top is on your cutting mat, with room around the edges.

    Tip: You can fold or bunch up the rest of the quilt top to keep it on the table at this point, just make sure you’ve got a large, smooth surface to work with in this corner.

  2. Position your straight edge cutting ruler on top of the corner of the quilt top, lining it up so that the outer edges of the ruler are in position to give you a clean corner on the quilt top.It is important to square a quilt before starting the preparation for long-arm and free motion stitching. Learn how to square any size quilt topper. The Sewing Loft
  3. Place your square cutting ruler directly on top of your straight-edge ruler, so that you can clearly find a clean corner that is neat and straight. Adjust both rulers as needed in order to find the perfect corner placement – you’ll use this as your cutting guide, so the edges of your ruler will become the new edges of your quilt top.

    Tip: Make sure the fabric edges of your quilt top line up with or extend beyond the edges of your ruler – you don’t want them slipping under it or else your newly-cut lines won’t be even.

  4. Use your rotary cutter to cut along the right edge of your rulers, as far as that ruler will allow you to go.
  5. Move your quilt top so that the top right corner is in position on the cutting mat, and repeat steps 2-4 to cut a straight, clean corner in this position.
  6. Move your quilt top accordingly so that you can continue to cut the straight line between the bottom right corner and the top right corner, using your straight-edge ruler and rotary cutter. Move the quilt top as you go, continuing that line from one corner to the other, until the whole right side of your quilt has a straight edge.
  7. Repeat these steps with the bottom left and top left corners.
  8. Straighten out the top and bottom edges of your quilt, as in step 7.

Now you can add your batting and backing to your quilt top, and quilt it however you normally would. Be sure that the batting is slightly larger than the quilt top, and the backing is larger than the batting.

Learn tips for squaring a quilt top, creating a sandwich and making your quilt shine! The Sewing Loft

Step 2: Square/True up the Quilt Sandwich

Before you add the binding to the quilt, you want to make sure it’s still neat and squared-up at the corners and edges. This will give you a smooth, even foundation for sewing on the binding.

It is important to square a quilt before starting the preparation for long-arm and free motion stitching. Learn how to square any size quilt topper. The Sewing Loft

Sometimes the quilting process pulls in at the edges of the quilt, so this process helps to even that out. The first step is to press the finished quilt sandwich; some people even like to block the quilt (wet it, stretch it into shape, and let it air dry) or wash and dry it before doing this process. Any of those options are fine, and are up to the individual quilter’s preference.

In order to true the quilt sandwich, you’re going to repeat all of the steps outlined in Step 1, except this time you’ll have a whole quilt sandwich to square up and cut through. The process is exactly the same, you’ll just have a little more bulk to work around. Square up your quilt sandwich and then you will be ready to bind the finished quilt.

Need more tips?

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