How to Square Up Fabric for Cutting

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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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11 Responses to “How to Square Up Fabric for Cutting”
    • Customer Service

      Hello Norma,

      Heather uses a product called Synthrapol. It can be purchased at fabric/craft stores or online.

      Ashley NQC Video Membership

  1. Janet

    Thanks do much Heather. Have been a patchwork and quilter for 25 years and never knew this…but I am a prewar fan.

  2. Janet

    Thanks do much Heather. Have been a patchwork and quilter for 25 years and never knew this…but I am a prewash fan.

  3. Janie Fitzpatrick

    Just to say thanks for your video. I am a novice quilter and the basics are the things that I need the most assistance with. Thank you so much for your time and effort. A quality video.

  4. June

    Thanks for the video. It cleared up a few questions. Just one thing. I always tell people to make sure the whole ruler is on the mat. I find having part of it off tends to make it tip up a bit because of the thickness of the mat. Beginners tend to tilt their rotary cutter which will then go under the ruler,only slightly.but it makes an inaccurate cut. Just my observations.
    I love your videos. Keep up the good work

  5. Louise Ovens

    What is the best way to cut borders? I want no seams. I was going to cut along tge lengtg of fabric rather than the width. Should I fold the fabric or move the ruler to stay aligned?

    • Customer Service

      Dear Louise,

      Thank you for your patience while we ask the experts, here is the response:


      I would recommend folding the fabric if you only have to fold it once to get the length you are wanting. If you have to fold it more, the extra layers are going to be very difficult to cut through, so I would recommend moving the ruler.


      National Quilters Circle


Tags: Free Videos, Heather Thomas, quilting sizing tips, squaring quilt fabric




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