Have you ever pieced a block or an entire quilt only to find it a bit wonky after it is sewn together?
While mastering fundamental quilting practices may seem tedious, the end result is worth the care and time from the moment the first fabric strip is cut.
Make the first cut count — every time — by learning this simple method for how to square up fabric yardage.
Photo via laugh yourself into Stitches
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Fabric is made of many threads running lengthwise and crosswise. Before cutting, it is very important the length and crosswise threads line up perpendicular to one another, creating a “right angle” where the threads intersect. This is called on grain. Fabric strips cut off grain will cause the fabric to stretch, creating a wonky block or a quilt top with a distorted shape.
How do you square up that first strip of fabric from a yardage cut?
Open up the fabric yardage and gently press using your favorite spray starch.
Fold the pressed fabric yardage in half “selvage to selvage.” Keep the selvage edges lined up together and lay the fabric on your cutting mat. Smooth the fabric fold back and forth until it lies flat while maintaining even selvage edges. This will create an uneven edge on the right side of the fabric.
Lay a straight line from an acrylic ruler on top of the fabric fold with the uneven fabric edges exposed just beyond the ruler’s edge.
Keep the acrylic ruler firmly in place and trim the uneven edges into a nice clean on-grain cut.
Without shifting the freshly cut edges, turn the fabric over to the opposite side of the cutting mat. These edges are now on the left side of the folded yardage piece and are ready for the first “squared up” or “on grain” cut.
In the photo above, notice the ruler line is directly ON top of the fabric edge. Proper rotary cutting is key to successful piecing. See our post Rotary Cutting 101 for detailed instructions on the best techniques.
In our next Make it Square installment, we’ll cover how to squaring up blocks and borders. Make sure you don’t miss it by subscribing to the Craftsy Quilting Blog today!
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