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How to Rotary Cut Squares and Rectangles
How to Cut Squares for Quilts

Cutting squares and rectangles from long strips of fabric. Arrows indicate the fabric's straight grain.

© Janet Wickell

Rotary Cut Squares, Rectangles & Bars for Patchwork

Nearly all of the shapes used in quilts can be cut from long, rotary cut strips of fabric with the straight grain running along their edges.

  • Squares have four 90-degree angles (right angles) and four equal sides.
  • True rectangles have four right angles and are twice as long as they are wide.
  • Longer rectangles are called bars.

All three shapes are used as-is in quilts and are starting points for cutting many other patchwork shapes.

Left-handed cutters must reverse fabric and ruler positions for many cuts.

Cutting Squares and Rectangles

  1. To cut a square, rectangle, or bar, rotary cut long strips of fabric that are 1/2" wider than the height of the finished patch.
  2. Square up one end of the strip in the same way you squared-up the fabric edge before cutting strips from it.
  3. Use a rotary ruler to cut away segments that are 1/2" longer than the finished patch length.

Keep right angles accurate by carefully aligning the ruler line used to measure the width of the patch with the leading edge of the fabric. Choose any horizontal ruler line and align it to the bottom of the strip before cutting. When both a horizontal and vertical line match, you'll have a 90 degree cut.

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