The Best Way To Cut Fabric For Quilting

Preparation is key when it comes to quilting. Preparing your tools, your machine and most importantly your fabric. If you don’t get your fabric right you could easily end up making small mistakes you will later regret. Here is the best way to cut fabric for quilting.

Recommended Tools

These are tools I use nearly every sewing project and recommended. The links below are affiliate links, this costs you no extra money I simply get a small commission from any sales made from this link.

Best Fabric To Use For Quilting

I have never come across any other fabric used for quilting other than 100% cotton.

Cotton is stable and hard wearing to make a quilt from. You can find amazing colours, collections and varieties both online and in stores.

Best Way To Cut Fabric For Quilting

These are the steps in which to take if you are looking for the best way to cut fabric for quilting. These steps will help give your quilt a longer life, better finished look and accurate cutting lines.


Prewashing your fabric is an important part of making the quilt look its best when it is finished. This step enables you to get rid of any remaining chemicals that may be on the fabric, also any remaining dyes.

You also want to prewash to shrink the fabric as that will leave it in the most natural state. This is also important if you plan to give this to a baby or child.

When To Prewash

You want to be prewashing your fabric if you are buying it in bulk and straight from the bolt/roll. This is due to many of the remaining chemicals, dyes and shrinking happening.

Prewashing is better if you plan to be making a baby quilt or for a child as the fabric will be purer and have a softer feel.

If your quilt has a purpose and will be washed frequently. Things like bedding, throws, blankets, table runners, placemats and cushion covers.

When Not To Prewash

You won’t need to prewash fabric if you are using any precut fabric packs as this is done ahead of time.

If you are using the quilt as art or decorative purposes only. This doesn’t affect the fabrics as you won’t need to wash or use it.


When you dry your fabric you want to dry it in the tumble dryer on a medium heat gentle setting. This may cause some of the edges to fray but they are getting squared off after ironing.

If you don’t have a tumble dryer place the fabric on the washing line or airier to drip dry.


Ironing is a crucial point as you want to make sure your fabric is as flat and wrinkle free as possible. You can use an ordinary iron, steam iron or press to do this.

If you want to make your fabric easier to work with quilters often use spray starch to toughen up the fabric before cutting.

There are other products on the market that help release wrinkles from fabrics. One of these is Wrinkle Release, it is sold on Amazon and is an alternative to spray starch.

Square Off

The final step to the best way to cut fabric for quilting is squaring off. This will need to happen even if you are using precut fabric packs or from the roll/bolt.

Squaring off can be frightening and a little tricky especially for beginners. If you are using fabric from the roll/bolt the best as easiest way to square off is by folding the fabric in half.

Once in half lay on the cutting mat and smooth out, keeping the edges together best as you can. Place your quilting ruler on top so that the bottom line in matching the folded edge.

This will indicate the new line you will cut with your rotary cutter. It doesn’t have to be a lot to cut off or very little. Make sure you aren’t skimming the edge as this will cause more fraying and mean you need to square off again.

When squaring off precut fabric pieces they are generally quite good but still trim and square up where you can. Do the same method as above to square of your fabric strips/pieces.

Test Piece

If you are still quite new to quilting and patchwork, try out a test piece. This can be the first piece you cut. Pull it away from the rest of your fabric and check it is straight and at right angles.

If you find your test piece is slightly off then take it back to the cutting mat and try again. The precision comes from lining up the quilting ruler ready to cut. Don’t forget to hold the ruler down with a firm hand so it doesn’t move while you cut.

That is everything you need to know about my best way to cut fabric for quilting. If you know of any other methods and tricks I would love to know what they are. Also if you have any more questions about quiltings or the tools I use let me know in the comments below.

Scroll to Top