Squaring Up

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swiesbrook posted on Tue, May 6 2014 7:04 PM

I have a hard time keeping my quilts square.  I just made a quilt that had a center panel made from one yard of fabric.  Of course, I had to fold it to trim the edges and square it up.  I thought I had it, but after sewing two  borders on, I see that it is not square and have determined that it is my center panel that was off.

How can I be sure when I fold material and cut that it is going to come out square?  Especially if I am cutting several layers. 

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Roxana replied on Mon, May 12 2014 6:42 PM

Sweisbrook, I'm not sure I can answer your question but this video might help. be sure to watch both parts.

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Great video Roxana.


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Thanks Roxana!


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Joyce replied on Sat, May 17 2014 8:28 AM

Roxana that little video on squaring up was very helpful.  I watched the 2nd one also on larger quilts.  I was doing the no no trimming up after the entire quilt was finished and boy what a job and mess that is.  Thanks.



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Pamela replied on Sun, Jun 1 2014 10:31 AM


I hear you saying that when you cut your panel fabric, you cut across the width of fabric to square it up, but now find that it wasn't straight. Now, after adding borders to the panel, you realize that the center wasn't really square.

The previous suggestion may resolve the issue, but I wonder if the squaring up of your fabric before cutting is the area to begin with the next time. There could be several factors.

Fabric is not always placed onto a bolt so that when cutting along the folded edge you get a square cut. Be sure that the selvedge edges line up with one another, which may mean the folded edge is uneven. This could result in a cut panel not being square. Check that the measurements from the selvedge to the fold are the same across the length of the fabric.

If you prefer to pre-wash fabric, poorer quality fabric may shrink so that the fabric edges are crooked. However, pre-washing will remove the center fold and make it easier to line up the edges. Hold the doubled fabric with the fold up and reposition your hands from end to end until the selvedges line up across the lower edge. Carefully lay the fabric on the cutting table and smooth it out. You will find that some fabrics have a large difference in the cut edge and where they actually line up square. I still check the alignment by placing a ruler from selvedge edge to folded edge to be sure that it measures equally across the length of the fabric. (This process works best with about one to two yard lengths of fabric or about your arm span.) I learned this process in a class taught by Ami Simms.

Until you master a straight cut, I would work with only one layer of fabric. When you do several layers, do only enough that you are able to cut through easily - I haven't done more than four at a time. This could be two fabrics folded or four fat quarters.

Hope this helps someone. Wish I had a way of demonstrating this, since word pictures are often difficult to visualize.

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