Tag Archives: tutorial

Trimming Appliqued Blocks

There’s nothing quite so intimidating as trimming up an appliqued block.  I always cut my block backgrounds a little larger than the pattern requirements because the background will distort as pieces are placed and stitched.  So what’s an appliquer to do?

IMG_3475Here’s a Serendipity Sampler block that needs to be trimmed to 24 1/2″.

IMG_3476It’s nice and square in this picture.  Here’s what I did.

IMG_3482Be sure the block is pressed.  Fold a thick towel in half and press the block from the back using lots of steam.   Use a little spray starch or sizing.  See the basted register line?


Place the block on a 24″ x 36″ mat with the basting line centered on a mat line.  See where the basting is lined up with the tip of the leaf and the line on the mat?  Yes, I know the block and the mat changed colors. 🙂  I did not get a good picture of mine and Joyce let me use hers.  Thanks Joyce!


The block needs to be trimmed 12 1/4″ from that center basting line.  Use a ruler and the mat to measure 12 1/4″ from the center line.  Mark that line with an air erasable pen.

IMG_3478See how the block will distort in the corners sometimes?  Just continue to measure 12 1/4″ from the basting line.

IMG_3472Here’s what that corner will look like before it’s trimmed.  (I’m glad I stay stitched the edge.)

IMG_3479Before cutting, measure the block in several different places to be sure it is 24 1/2″.    Happy?  OK, trim it using a rotary cutter or an old school pair of scissors.  Be sure not to trim until you are actually ready to sew the blocks together.  Raveling is a bad thing.

Hope this helps!