How to Accurately Trim Large Quilt Blocks (With the Rulers You Already Own)

Big block quilts can be quick, easy and fun to stitch together, but how do you properly trim the individual blocks if the tools you have on hand are not large enough?

pinwheel block

It’s not difficult at all!  Using a 6″ square ruler, this large pinwheel block will be trimmed into a 10″ square. Just another great quilting hack to add to your quilting knowledge!

pinwheel quilt block

How to trim squares for big block quilts

Step 1: 

Determine the desired “trimmed” block size and divide that number in half.

In our example below, the pinwheel will be trimmed into a 10″ block.  Therefore, 10″ divided in half equals 5″. (Remember to add seam allowance to your trimmed block size)

Step 2:

Place the 5″ ruler marking directly on the horizontal and vertical center seams, and align the 45 degree line of the ruler on top of the 45 degree seam of the block.

If you do not have center or diagonal seams lines, fold your block to determine the center and press in centered horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines.  Use these as your guide.

pinwheel quilt blockpinwheel quilt block

Step 3:

Once the horizontal and diagonal lines are in position, hold the ruler in place.  Without shifting, trim away as much as the ruler will allow.

pinwheel quilt block

Step 4:

Rotate the block one time. Re-position the ruler, aligning the center seams and the 45 degree seam exactly as in the previous step. Continue to trim the right side of the block and across the top as far as the ruler will allow.

pinwheel quilt blockperfect corner seam

You should rotate and trim the block total of four times.  

pinwheel quilt block

There you have it — a 10″ block trimmed with a 6″ ruler.

Do you have another strategy for trimming large blocks? Leave a comment sharing your method for trimming large quilt blocks. We’d love to know!

Anxious to get started on a big block quilt of your own?

great big block quilt

Photo via laugh yourself into Stitches* Craftsy pattern store

The “Easy as Pie” quilt is truly as easy as pie! This fat-quarter friendly project will use up almost an entire fat quarter with very little waste, meaning you really get your money’s worth. The pattern comes with two different versions — one to be made with fat quarters and one to made with flannel yardage.

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