How to Accurately Trim Large Quilt Blocks (With the Rulers You Already Own)

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Big block quilts can be quick, easy and fun to stitch together, but how do you properly trim the individual blocks if the tools you have on hand are not large enough?

It's not difficult at all!  Using a 6" square ruler , this large pinwheel block will be trimmed into a 10" square. Just another great quilting hack to add to your quilting knowledge!

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Genius Hacks Every Quilter Should Know

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How to trim squares for big block quilts

Step 1: 

Determine the desired "trimmed" block size and divide that number in half.

In our example below, the pinwheel will be trimmed into a 10" block.  Therefore, 10" divided in half equals 5". (Remember to add seam allowance to your trimmed block size)

Step 2:

Place the 5" ruler marking directly on the horizontal and vertical center seams, and align the 45 degree line of the ruler on top of the 45 degree seam of the block.

If you do not have center or diagonal seams lines, fold your block to determine the center and press in centered horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines.  Use these as your guide.

Step 3:

Once the horizontal and diagonal lines are in position, hold the ruler in place.  Without shifting, trim away as much as the ruler will allow.

Step 4:

Rotate the block one time. Re-position the ruler, aligning the center seams and the 45 degree seam exactly as in the previous step. Continue to trim the right side of the block and across the top as far as the ruler will allow.

Rotate and trim the block total of four times.  

There you have it — a 10" block trimmed with a 6" ruler.

Do you have another strategy for trimming large blocks? Leave a comment sharing your method for trimming large quilt blocks. We'd love to know!

FREE Guide: Genius Hacks Every Quilter Should Know

Genius Hacks Every Quilter Should Know

Download this FREE PDF guide to discover insider quilting tricks for making every project easy & efficient!Get My FREE Guide »

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in February 2016 and was updated in March 2018.
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How to Accurately Trim Large Quilt Blocks (With the Rulers You Already Own)