Little Bit Different Ruler designed for left-handed quilters
[ Quilting Tips ]

Trim for best results

Ahh, that glorious sense of satisfaction when a quilt block is finished and all the points meet, and it measures exactly what the pattern called for! Do you know that feeling? Quilters learn quickly that it is necessary to trim for best results. Let’s explore why trimming is such an important step in your quilt-making process.

Fabric stretches

Accuracy matters at every stage of quilting. We need to measure and cut fabric accurately and then we must sew with a consistent seam allowance. Finally, we carefully press our units so that they can combine easily to make the final quilt pattern emerge as planned. Since fabric is a malleable substance, it can shift and stretch, sometimes to the quilter’s dismay. Including a trimming step after sewing and pressing your quilt blocks will ensure that these unfortunate surprises are a rare occurance.

HST cutting

Does it really matter?

What if we just sew all our quilt blocks together and don’t worry about trimming them to a consistent size? While it can be tempting to jump ahead to the next step and skip the tedious trimming stage, that will only create problems when you try to sew rows together and realize things don’t match. I’m sure you are familiar with the “stair-step” look of a row of blocks that are different sizes. Imagine sewing a border on that edge – you would create a definite slant to your quilt rather than keeping things straight and even.

Trimming Quilt Blocks

When you arrive at the trimming step, the easiest way to check your blocks is with a ruler that matches the size of your quilt block. I can quickly match the center of a small block to my 6 1/2″ square ruler and see where to trim the excess so that all of my blocks end up at a consistent size.

taped ruler

When I started making 6″ x 9″ blocks for my Little Bit Different Block of the Month program, I realized that it was a bit tricky to trim them since they are an odd size. I have larger rulers, so it is possible to add a piece of tape at the 6 1/2″ and 9 1/2″ marks to make the process a bit faster, but I hate the time it takes to mentally double check that I am looking in the right spot every time.

So, I called my friend Rick at Off The Wall Quilt and worked with him to create the Little Bit Different Ruler! Now I have a ruler that is the exact size I need to trim for best results. That speeds up the process immensely.  Off The Wall Quilt uses a patented EeziGrip coating on the backside of the ruler, so it will not slip on your fabric. I love the speed and accuracy I get when trimming with my new custom ruler. If you want one too, hop over to my shop and order one today!

6.5" x 9.5" Little Bit Different Ruler

Right now, I am using the Little Bit Different Ruler to prepare foundation fabric and trim my finished June Stripes blocks. Let me know in the comments if you are sewing along in 2023.

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Longarm Quilter, Pattern Designer, Teacher


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