Heather Thomas

How to Square Up Fabric for Cutting

Heather Thomas
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Duration:   6  mins

Learning how to square up fabric before cutting any pieces for your next quilt is an important lesson. Heather Thomas teaches you how she squares up fabric after it has been pre-washed and gets it ready to be used.


Heather first begins by explaining how she likes to pre-wash her fabric. If you plan to do this step it should be done after you bring the fabric home from the fabric store- before you do any other preparation with it. She then explains how she dries the fabric, which is different depending on if she plans to use it right away or not.

Once the fabric has been washed and dried she explains how to fold the fabric selvage to selvage, explaining where to find the selvage on a piece of fabric. She then shows how to manipulate the selvage if needed due to it shrinking when washing. Once the fabric is folded, she explains what the new ‘true’ straight edge is to base your cuts off of. This edge then gets lined up with a line on your cutting mat and the raw edges can be cut. Learning to square up your fabric like this not only ensures that any strips or pieces you cut will be straight but it helps ensure a square quilt in the end.

Heather also gives tips on what size of ruler she likes to use when squaring up fabric as well as tips on how to best hold the ruler so it doesn’t move when cutting. Once you have your fabric square you can cut all of your pieces and begin working on your next quilt. Even though you are piecing with precisely cut pieces of fabric, it is still also important to square up your quilt blocks with precision as well.

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19 Responses to “How to Square Up Fabric for Cutting”

  1. Rho

    The video isn't working. :-(

  2. Susan

    Can you show us how to do this with a piece of fabric that isn’t nicely lined up?


    Am I squaring up my fabric correctly??

  4. Nancy Cutshall

    This was a nice video. Would it be possible sometime to show how to do a wonky fabric that got way off and you try to square that up sometime?

  5. Karen Wickham

    Thank you Heather I’m a newbie and your vídeo was perfect💕

  6. Jayne

    previous comment of mine should read PREWASHING, not preaching!

  7. Jayne

    I'm also a prewasher. Thanks for letting folks know the benefits of preaching.. Consider adding a bit to the video about what to do when the cut edges do not line up and you get a pucker at the fold. It seems to happen more often than not and is a bit tricky to sort out. It would be helpful for folks who are trying this for the first time. I usually buy an 1/8 yd. extra to allow for this-- you can lose a lot of fabric if it distorts in the wash!


    Can you explain why you use the ruler and not the mat to measure? I line up my long ruler edge from point to point on my mat. Thank you. Enjoy your videos.

  9. Charlotte Campbell

    A big “thank you” for this video. I too am a “washer” in fabric prep. And I square up my fabric before cutting. I have no quilt sisters who do either of the above. I feel reassured in my prep work.

  10. Carol

    Would love to see an example where the top doesn't line up perfectly or squaring up a block

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