How to Square Up a Log Cabin Quilt Block

Written by anne baley
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How to Square Up a Log Cabin Quilt Block
Square up blocks for a log cabin quilt. (Patchwork as a background 2 image by Lucy Cherniak from

Log cabin is a relatively old quilt pattern that relies on the combination of many blocks to create an overall pattern on the quilt top. Each block is made of a central square with strips sewn around the four sides in an increasing spiral design, often with light and dark colours set on opposite sides. Each quilt square must be the same size as the others, and all corners must create a perfect square, or the quilt may get out of line and look as if it has wavy lines instead of straight ones. Square up your quilt blocks before combining them into a quilt top.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Ruler
  • Templates
  • Scissors
  • Masking tape
  • Rotary cutter mat
  • Rotary cutter
  • Rotary ruler

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  1. 1

    Measure your fabric carefully before sewing. Use plastic templates or a rotary cutter and board with plastic rulers. Make sure that every square and strip are the exact same size.

  2. 2

    Mark your sewing machine with a masking tape strip to indicate where to place the fabric for a 1/4-inch seam allowance. Always use this mark to ensure that all of your seam allowances are the same width. If you are sewing the blocks by hand, mark the seam allowance on the strips before sewing.

  3. 3

    Iron the blocks gently when they are complete. Folded fabrics or seams without a crisp edge will lie differently than pressed seams. Ironing the squares will help to ensure an even quilt block all around.

  4. 4

    Lay the pressed quilt block on the rotary cutter mat. Line up the right edge and the bottom edge with lines on the mat. Cut the upper edge or left edge off if need be, to create a perfect square. Only cut along lines on the mat to make sure that the block is a perfect square instead of a rectangle.

  5. 5

    Lay each quilt block on the mat and cut it down to the exact same size as the first block. Sew the quilt blocks together only after all of the blocks have been trimmed to size.

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