I'm not sure I should admit this, but I'm not one to square up quilts on a regular basis. Usually I just follow the rows of patchwork when adding the binding, then I trim off the excess batting and backing afterward. That usually works for me. But what do you do when you have wavy solids on the edges of your quilt with no patchwork to guide you? Well, you have to get a little creative!
The goal was to square up my leftovers quilt. The edges weren't square after piecing it, but I figured if I started hacking at the quilt top things might go bad. So I decided to quilt it and THEN deal with the problem. Nothing like procrastinating, huh???
What I did to square things up:
I laid the untrimmed leftovers quilt on the floor, as flat as possible. (In the photo you can see the grey front and the blue back.) Then I pulled out my spiderweb quilt-which is MOSTLY square-and laid that over the top. I smoothed things out, much like I do when I baste a quilt. (Nothing is taped down at this point.) The purpose of the spiderweb quilt was to act as an approximate cutting guide. Working on one side at a time, I anchored the masking tape on the floor, then stretched it taut over the width of the quilt, parallel to the edge of the spiderweb quilt, as pictured above. (Think of stretching a string from post to post when planting a garden to achieve a straight row.) After eyeballing the line, I lowered the tape and smoothed it out very carefully onto the quilt, making sure to not distort the line. My cutting guide (the tape) was in place. I got out my 6"x 24" ruler, my rotary cutter and a mat and cut oh-so-carefully following the tape line. The long ruler kept my cutting line true. I had to be sure to move my mat with each cut! I was also VERY careful not to cut my finished quilt! By the time I got to the 4th side of the quilt I was heaving a huge sigh of relief. It looked pretty good. I measured the final side and I was only off by 1/8" from top to bottom, which isn't bad at all! I did a bit more trimming in one particular area and called it good! I am quite happy that this technique worked or I may have ended up with a very small quilt. :)
I'd love to hear your thoughts on squaring up quilts. Do you bother? Or are you like me and only do so when completely necessary?
If you have any questions about my approach, I'll try to answer them in the comments.