Achieving true square

Today I’m following up on last week’s tutorial by showing you how I achieved perfectly square center squares for the square-in-a-square blocks that go into my spring quilt. If you missed the first tutorial about making square-in-a-square blocks, click here.

To fussy cut the center squares like I did, you will need to start by drawing the center square on a piece of template plastic with a black, ultra fine point permanent marker.

template supplies

For the 14″ blocks in my quilt, the center square measures 10⅜”, including ¼” seam allowance.

It’s helpful to draw the seam allowance on your template as well.

It’s helpful to draw the seam allowance on your template as well. Two edges of the template material doubled as edges of my square template which is why you don’t see a black line on them.

Two edges of the template material doubled as edges of my square template which is why you don’t see a black line on them.

When cutting out the square from template plastic, try to cut outside the line to give yourself a few extra threads all the way around when you trace it onto your fabric. You will need them later when trimming your square.

template2

Next, center the template on top of the motif.

spring1

Using a pencil with a very sharp point, trace the template shape onto the fabric.

Switching to a pink flower here because I think it shows up better.

Switching to a pink flower here because I think it shows up better.

For ease of handling, separate the motif from the yardage. Align the ⅛” mark of your ruler on one of the traced lines and cut.

square2

Do likewise with the remaining three sides. Lift the cut square out of the yardage and put it on your cutting mat.

square3

Now it’s time to trim the square to a perfect square using a quilter’s ruler.

To achieve a perfect square, the measurement across both diagonals must be equal.

Align the top and right edges of your ruler just inside the traced lines on those two sides.

square4

Press down on the ruler and trim the right side. Don’t stop when you reach the top of the ruler; guide your rotary cutter all the way off the top edge.

Keeping firm pressure on your ruler, trim the top edge.

Two sides trimmed.

Two sides trimmed.

Time to cut the third side. Paying attention to one side at a time lets you focus on achieving that perfect square.

Turn the fabric 180 degrees. Align the 10⅜” mark (that’s the unfinished cut size needed to make a 14″ square-in-square block) along the left side of your fabric and a horizontal line on your ruler with the bottom edge.

I like to cut my squares on the fat side of the ruler line. Those one or two extra threads help when adding your triangles and pressing to one side.

I like to cut my squares on the fat side of the ruler line. Those one or two extra threads help when adding your triangles and pressing to one side.

Take your time; do not hurry. The accuracy you achieve here will make things go together much easier further into the block’s construction.

Once everything is aligned correctly, trim the right side of the square.

Rotate the square clockwise one-quarter turn to cut the fourth side. Once again, align the 10⅜” mark along the left side of your fabric and a horizontal line on your ruler with the bottom edge.

square7

Trim the right side of the square.

Now check the diagonal measurements of the square. Align the 45-degree line on a 6″ x 24″ ruler with the left side of the fabric square so that the ruler’s edge runs through opposite corners of the square.

square8

The corner of the square rests right on the 15¾” mark.

square9

Now check the other diagonal. Align the 45-degree line on your ruler with the bottom edge of the fabric square so that the ruler’s edge runs through opposite corners of the square.

square10

Check the measurement. If it matches the first one, you have a perfect square.

square11

For information on completing the square-in-a-square block, click here.

Here are all the squares ready for the addition of triangles.

spring2

I put them on the design wall to determine which direction the stems/blooms should be pointing/facing in the overall layout. Yeah, OCD.

Here are two finished square-in-a-square blocks:

spring4

spring3

And a four-patch block:

spring5

I am keeping up with my Aunt Grace blocks, but didn’t post last week’s set, so you’re getting two weeks’ worth today.

AGG20

AGG30

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Filed under piecing, rotary cutting

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