How To Square Your Backing Fabric

P1020545In a perfect world, fabric would be cut straight when we purchase it.  However, we don’t live in a perfect world…  Having a square backing for your quilt is essential.  Regardless of whether you tie your quilt, quilt it yourself, or send it to someone for long-arm quilting, this is IMPORTANT!!  No one can see the back as they’re creating magic on the front.

Squaring fabric is simple!  And it relieves tension…  And it makes this quilter thrilled when it’s done properly…  Sew —

First step: when purchasing your fabric, purchase a little extra.  Have you checked out Hancock Fabrics for deals?   The fabric cutters at the store cannot cut straight.  They just can’t!  No offense to any of our friendly clerks, but fabric is not always printed square, folded on bolts square, etc.

P1020546Second step (and this takes courage for the first couple of times) grab your scissors and make a cut in the selvedge near one end.  Yup.  Just do it!  Then RIP!!  (Can you feel the tension leaving your body?)  If you start to tear and it doesn’t rip completely across, make another small cut from the opposite side.  Once it has ripped successfully from selvedge to selvedge, you have squared fabric.


P1020547Third step, do the other end.  Easy, right?  Helpful beyond words to you and/or your quilter!!

If you have a large quilt that needs a pieced backing, square your fabric at both ends as described above.  Next you can make a cut in the middle of your long piece of fabric and rip it in two equal pieces.  When you sew the two pieces together, DO NOT just fold the pieces one over the other and sew.  You need to take one original end and match it to the other piece’s center end.  Fabric sometimes has a sheen.  To make the finished piece blend, you should sew the two pieces together this way.

One last plea:  please, please, please after sewing together the two pieces (or three), square up your ends again.

I hope this is clear.  If you read this and have comments, please share.  I truly want this blog to be helpful and interactive!!

Sew on, Friends!!!



  1. […] Fabric will stretch more on the weft direction (side to side, if you will) versus the warp direction (top to bottom).  I learned these terms when I had a time of weaving.  Great hobby, by the way.  As long as minky can be loaded on the machine with the warp being horizontal, there should be no problem using it.  The reason minky may not be able to be loaded this way is if it is too long for the width of the machine.  Loading minky horizontally allows the weft, or stretchy sides, to be anchored by clips on the side of the machine.  The goal with the clips is to keep the fabric straight and even.  Never is the goal to stretch backing fabric.  This is why it’s so important to have a square piece of fabric for your backing.  More on that in another post here. […]

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