Flash Back: Should I Square Up My Quilt Blocks?

Flash Back

Today we are taking a trip down memory lane. This is the first in the series I’m calling Flash Back. The original post was shared way back in May of 2012. I hope you will find it as informative as I do.

A Work of Art

Hours and hours of preparation and construction go into creating a quilt top.  From choosing the pattern to selecting the fabrics and even the thread, so much thought and contemplation is devoted to achieving just the right outcome.  Careful techniques are used to make sure the fabrics are cut at just the right angle and just the right width.  Seams are meticulously sewn so that the pieces all fit properly.  When all of the components are assembled the finished display is a work of art.

Attention to Detail

Achieving a quilt top that has square corners means paying attention to detail.  As your blocks are assembled it is imperative that you check their measurements.  If the measurements do not match with the patterns specified dimensions you may need to make adjustments in your sewing or pressing techniques.  Perhaps your seam allowance is not as the pattern specified.  Perhaps in pressing your blocks you added to the imbalance by stretching in one direction or another.  Sometimes authors even have you make the quilt blocks larger than needed.  Then after the block is constructed and carefully pressed they give you the measurements for the final version and instruct you to cut it to size.

Adjust It Now

No matter what caused your block to be misshapen it is extremely important that you make whatever adjustments are necessary for its dimensions to match with the pattern instructions.  Making those corrections now will help to eliminate future problems when the quilt top is assembled.  If you don’t take the time to remedy the problems before your pieces are sewn together the resulting imbalance will be even more pronounced.

Easier to Square Up A Block

Squaring up a quilt block is much easier that squaring up a quilt top.  There is a big difference between a quilt top that has square corners and one that does not.  The one “with” will be much easier to attach borders to, much easier to quilt and most important of all will have the most desirable outcome.  We all want quilts that dazzle the eyes and bring a smile to our faces.  Why not invest a little extra effort and a little extra time during construction?  You will be much happier with your outcome.

Additional Assistance

Before you go let me give you two of many websites that can help you square up your blocks:

This is a You Tube video:  Squaring up your blocks and these are written instructions

Cindy Anderson of In A Stitch Quilting


4 thoughts on “Flash Back: Should I Square Up My Quilt Blocks?

    1. And now your method of creating masterpieces doesn’t require such precision. Awesome state to be in.

  1. It’s true, checking your sizing early let’s you correct for mistakes. The mistake *might* even be in the pattern, but more likely it’s because of the reasons you mentioned. Sometimes trimming the block is the answer. Other times it is in restitching or pressing differently. But once you’ve solved that puzzle, the rest of the blocks will probably go pretty easily and save a lot of headaches later.

    Since I make medallion quilts, my designs depend on getting the sizing right. Hard to make the next border fit if this one doesn’t! But I also build in places, spacer borders that are unpieced, that help me adjust for the 1/8″ to 3/8″ that a long border sometimes creeps.

    Thanks for the post.

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