How to tell if a quilt top is square - without measuring!

If a quilt is meant to be "square" (opposing edges that match in length), I do my best to make it so.

Sometimes it is easy, sometimes I work a little harder.

There is always a LOT of measuring - as the quilt is loaded, as it's quilted, and as it's trimmed before it goes out the door.

But, before I break out the measuring tape, I like to see what I'm dealing with.
  • Are the top and bottom edges a consistent width? Are they the same as the width across the center of the quilt?
  • What about the side edges? Are they equal in length, and consistent with the center?

Here's how I tell with very little effort!

Lay the quilt top (flimsy) out on the floor (or across a rail of your frame) and fold the TOP and BOTTOM edges of the quilt in so they "meet" in the center (see photo, below). It is often possible to use the piecing to help you line things want to go straight across the quilt, not at an angle.
  • If the widths (L to R) are consistent throughout, you've hit the jackpot! The quilt will be a breeze to load!
  • If the widths are not consistent, you will know immediately which areas will need attention during loading and quilting.

Top and bottom edges of the quilt are folded in to "meet" in the center.
All widths are consistent - yay!

(Please note: I've illustrated with a trimmed quilt because there isn't room to get a proper shot of a top draped on my frame.)

To check for consistency of LENGTH throughout, simply fold in the SIDE edges instead of the top and bottom edges.

This quick test alerts me to issues that may come up during quilting, and allows me to start planning how load the top.

Once I know the "big picture", I can measure and work out the details.

Pretty client quilt, fresh off the frame!

Folding the quilt - leave space between the edges to accommodate the bulk.

Ready to go home!

Linking up with:
Linky Tuesday, at Freemotion by the River
Fabric Tuesday Friends, at Quilt Story
Let's Bee Social, at Sew Fresh Quilts

Try, Learn, & Grow!
P.S. I'm on Instagram under my blog name, FreshofftheFrame


  1. Great idea, I never thought of folding to the middle! I always line up the edges top to bottom, and side to side. I will sure give your method a try as it also tells you if the middle of the quilt is the same as the edges, killing more birds with one stone!

  2. Great tip! I tend to only work on quilts for myself, but if I ever get brave enough to quilt for others I will try to keep this in mind. :)

  3. you are just a wealth of tiny tidbits, aren't you?! Thanks for sharing them with us!! :-)

  4. Thank you for such a great tip, especially for those of us that don't have a lot of space to lay out a quilt.

  5. This is such a simple way to check!! Thanks so much for posting this.

  6. I agree with all of the above. Can you tell us now what you do if the flimsy doesn't square up? How do you load it so it will come out even?

  7. Thanks for the tip. I will definitely have to remember this.

  8. This is a great tip, I always fol all the way across rather than going to the middle too.

  9. The quilt is just beautiful and thanks you for the great tips.


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