Sunday, July 10, 2016

Squaring Up Your Fabric

Iron your fabric in half selvage to selvage, just like it should already come folded. As you iron, make sure the selvages are even to each other and you make a crease at the bottom fold. The flatter your fabric is the easier it will be to cut! If you think you need to, double check that your fabric was cut to the proper length when you bought it. If you prewash your quilting fabric, it could have shrunk more than you thought it would. Or, if it's your own pattern, you may have miscalculated how much you needed. This would be terrible to find out after you already cut out most of your squares!

*Note: I am using a fat quarter for this example because it is easier to photograph so you can see all of it. The same method applies to both fat quarters and whole yards of fabric.

**Note #2: I have badly miscalculated how much fabric I needed before, and it isn't fun to figure out in the middle of cutting. Because of this I have learned how to improvise, but I'd rather not have to deal with it! Before cutting, double check your calculations and that you purchased the correct amount of fabric. Also, check that your fabric was cut correctly.

Try to get those selvages as even as you can!
Iron the bottom fold.
Align your ruler so that it is flat against the folded edge of your fabric. If you are using a clear quilting ruler, it doesn't have to be the bottom of the ruler. It can be any line on the ruler as long as you can see clearly that the fabric is aligned. The bottom fold and your top selvages are the straight edges of the fabric and should be parallel.

Be sure to place your ruler edge just before the sides of the fabric become uneven. This can be seen in the last 2 of the next 3 photos.

Ruler aligned on the bottom fold of the fabric.

Ruler placed just before the fabric is uneven.

Ruler placed just before the fabric is uneven.
Cut off this uneven edge of fabric.

One side of your fabric is now even and perpendicular to the selvages and the fabric fold. Repeat on the opposite side so that your entire piece of fabric is a nice rectangle. If you like, you can cut off the selvage from the entire piece of fabric before you begin cutting. I do this for smaller pieces of fabric, but for larger ones I find it easier to cut off as I cut out my squares.

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