A Simple Guide To Squaring Up A Quilt

Have you ever wondered how to square a quilt? Squaring up a quilt is such an essential step in quilt making.

It can make the difference between your quilt being a wonky creation to a truly square, beautiful masterpiece.

I know some of you are wondering, “Do you square up a quilt before adding borders?” or “Do you wait until right before you add your binding to square up your quilt?”

My answer is yes — to both questions! I try to square up my blocks, rows, quilt top and finished quilt sandwich after each step to ensure my quilts are as square as possible.

This post will walk you through step-by-step my method for squaring up a quilted quilt sandwich.

What Is Squaring Up a Quilt?

So what exactly does it mean to “square up a quilt?” It means all your corners are cut square at a 90° angle, and all your edges are cut straight.

This will make attaching your binding much easier, and when your quilt is laid out on a bed or folded neatly, it will look professionally made.

When I am piecing my blocks together, once a block is complete, I like to go ahead and “square it up” or make sure it is a perfect square to keep things uniform.

Keeping your blocks square will also help your overall quilt top be neat and straight throughout the entire quilt-making process.

Here are a few tips when you create your quilt top to help keep your quilt square:

  • Iron each block before you cut into it to make it square. Make sure all your seams lay flat, and you have ironed out any creases.
  • Measure twice, cut once. We all know this one, but it’s good to remind yourself before each project.
  • You can always cut more off, so take it slow and be sure your ruler doesn’t slip.
  • If at any point you cut too much, don’t stress over it. Quiltmaking is an artform so treat it as such. Perfection is different for everyone.

Supplies You Will Need for Squaring Up Your Quilt

  • Quilt Sandwich (completely quilted)
  • Rotary Cutter
  • Cutting Mat
  • Square Ruler (for your corners)
  • Long Ruler (or something you can use as a straight edge)
  • Water Soluble Marker (optional, for marking your lines before you cut)

How to Square Up A Quilt (Steps 1-4)

Step 1: Cut the first corner.

Lay your quilt out on the table or floor, wherever you have plenty of space to cut your edges. Place your square ruler on your first corner and line it up, making sure you have fabric on the entire 90° angle.

Since I quilted with straight vertical lines, I also want to make sure my lines on the quilt top are straight with the lines on my ruler. Cut both edges of the corner slowly and be sure your ruler doesn’t slip. I speak from experience — it’s quite a frustrating realization when you see that you cut a crooked line.

Step 2: Cut the horizontal edge.

Now I will switch to my long ruler, which is 24” long. Overlap part of the line you already cut and line up your ruler (or another straight edge tool you use) and slowly cut along the edge. Again, make sure your ruler doesn’t slip. 

Continue cutting along the entire edge until you reach your next corner. 

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Step 3: Cut the second corner. 

As you did before, overlap your square ruler over the line you already cut with your long ruler. Then line up the edge of your square ruler with the vertical edge of your quilt top.

Cut a 90° angle on the second corner.

Rotate your quilt, so the next edge is closest to you. Repeat Steps 2 and 3 until you have trimmed all the corners and edges.

Step 4: Bind the quilt and enjoy it!

With all your corners at perfect 90° angles and your edges straight as a line, binding your quilt should be a piece of cake!

I know the term “squaring up your quilt” sounds intimidating, but I hope with this step-by-step tutorial, you can square up your next quilt with confidence and ease. How do you make your quilts square? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

Keeping your blocks square will also help your overall quilt top be neat and straight. Learn all my quilt squaring tips in this post.

About the author: Miriam Ronne is a lover of all things quilting and sewing. She is a self-taught quilter and is constantly learning and broadening her skill set to create one-of-a-kind quilts! When she's not behind her sewing machine you can find her playing with her fur babies or trying her hand at other crafty things.

10 thoughts on “A Simple Guide To Squaring Up A Quilt”

  1. Thanks so much for this easy to follow guide to squaring up a quilt. I have been sewing all my life and quilting for just 9 years. I just completed a wall panel and had a senior moment. I could not think how to square up this panel. I appreciate your easy way to square up. Thanks again.

  2. Janet, thank you so much! I’m so glad my instructions are beneficial for you. Good luck and happy sewing!

  3. How do you square a quilt top if it doesn’t have blocks. The quilt I’m making for daughter is Called Nightsky so its just lines for the sky ,hills and water. There is nothing to square it up with, Thanks Betty

  4. I am a novice quilter 🙂 How would you square-up for a rag quilt? Should I do that before sewing my quilt sandwiches together or after? My squares are 8″ x 8″ — thank you so much!

  5. Hello, Cathy, great question! A rag quilt is unique since you will have raw edges on all your squares. You probably won’t need to square up your entire quilt if you have cut your squares consistently and use the same seam allowance on all your blocks. Hope that helps! Best wishes!

  6. Hi, Betty! Hmm…that is a bit more tricky. I would use something with a straight edge whether that is a cutting ruler, a yard stick, or even a 2’x4′ board and trim a straight line on one of the edges. Then use that as a guide being sure to have a 45 degree angle on the corners. Hopefully that makes sense! Let me know if you have other questions!

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