How To Square Up Fabric That Everyone Needs To Know

Whether You Pre-Wash Fabric Or Not

Squaring up fabric not only renders accurate cutting for quilt blocks, it also helps against fabric waste. Whether you’ve pre-washed your fabric or not, you will nearly always have to deal with jagged edges, irreparable off-center folds and even crooked selvages!


Catch up on these quilting tips to square fabric safely before making cuts for your project. A crisp neat piece of fabric well pressed, prepares for accurate cutting and easy piecing. However, cutting, handling, and sewing, affects bias edges, straight grain or lengthwise grain edges, of any piece of fabric.

how to fold fabric to square up

Alice and Terry of Tidbit Quilting suggest before attempting to square up, press fabric to smooth out stubborn creases and puckers. Then line up the selvage edges as best you can and iron to smooth out all the wrinkles. Fold fabric in half with the folded edge closest to your body. Then fold again aligning the fold with the selvage, resulting in four layers of fabric. Be careful when folding! Every fold introduces an opportunity for error. Try to keep the fabric that remains on the mat very still and match up the first fold to the selvedges carefully.

the right way to fold fabric to square up




If fabric is too long for the cutting mat, accordion-fold the yardage to your left (or right if you are a lefty) leaving the end that you are going to square up on the cutting mat.

Align the folded edge closest to your body, to a vertical line on the cutting mat. At the edge to be cut, align the ruler to a horizontal line on the quilting mat. Do a double check and square up the bottom of the fabric by cutting at a 90 degree angle to the fold.

how to line up fabric correctly to square up

Rachel Hauser Bluprint
Once prepared for the squaring up, it’s time to make the cut for a neat edge. The ruler almost always moves while rolling the rotary cutter forward. Prevent the ruler moving, by placing a small circle of rubber used by hand quilters, on the fabric before laying the ruler down. More commonly know as needle grabbers, they’re inexpensive, can be used over and over, and don’t block your view because you can place them away from the point of measurement.

square up fabric tips

Tidbit Quilting
An alternative is to place about three 1/2-inch squares of ‘stick on’ sandpaper on the back side of your cutting ruler. You will most likely be able to find a piece of this type sandpaper on your husband’s work bench. He would use it to stick to the bottom of his electric rotary sander. However, sand paper grippers are available for purchase anywhere that they sell sewing notions such as Nancy’s Notions or Jo Ann Fabrics.

While cutting to keep the quilting ruler stable, spread the fingers of your left hand on the ruler and apply a little pressure. Hold the rotary cutter against the side of the quilting ruler and begin rolling the cutter forward while applying firm, even pressure. Walk your left hand (don’t slide it) and re-position your hand as you advance the rotary cutter, without  lifting the ruler from the fabric until it has cut through the folded edge.

Rachel Hauser explains more do’s and don’t in her easy read tutorial.


Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *