How to Fussy Cut Big Squares

Have you ever done fussy cutting for a block before? Fussy cutting is when you cut your quilt pieces so that a fabric motif is in a precise location. For some quilt patterns, you can use this to create a secondary pattern or kaleidoscope effect. For other quilts, you can use this technique to ensure you are getting the wow factor with alternate blocks or big pieces. We’ve put together a tutorial to show you how to fussy cut for a large square, one where your ruler doesn’t cover the entire piece you need. Let’s get started!


  • Fabric with large motifs 
  • Frixion pen for marking
  • 24” quilt ruler
  • Large cutting mat (24” by 36” recommended)
  • Starch spray or Best Press
  • Rotary cutter


Step 1: Prepare Fabric and Select Motif

  1. Lay out your fabric and identify the large motifs you want to feature in your quilt block.
  2. Determine which part of the motif will give you the desired large square. Is it symmetrical? Balanced? What does it look like off-center?


Step 2: Marking and Centering

  1. Using the Frixion pen, mark the center of your chosen motif or square.
  2. Use the 24” quilt ruler to determine where the top and bottom of your block will be.
  3. Shift and adjust the fabric until you’re satisfied with the placement, ensuring the motif is centered to your liking.


Step 3: Cutting the Fabric

  1. Fold the fabric in half to make it more manageable on the cutting mat.
  2. Align the fold with the top edge of the cutting mat, ensuring everything is straight.
  3. Use the ruler to measure from the fold to one side of the block  and make your first cut along the ruler’s edge.
  4. Turn the fabric and align the cut edge with the zero line on your cutting mat.
  5. Measure from the cut edge and cut the other side so that you have a strip of the correct width.


Step 4: Squaring the Fabric

  1. Unfold the fabric and line up the cut edges.
  2. Use the ruler to measure and mark your strip so that you have the motif back to center and your edges marked for your square.
  3. Trim off any excess fabric to create a square.
  4. Repeat the process on the remaining side.


Step 5: Pressing and Final Touches

  1. Before making your final cuts, press the fabric to remove any wrinkles and ensure crispness. We like to use Best Press or starch for added stability if needed.
  2. Trim and square up any remaining edges to achieve a perfect square.
  3. If your quilt pattern requires multiple large squares, repeat the above steps with additional fabric motifs as needed.


Additional Tips:

  • Take your time and double-check measurements before cutting to avoid mistakes.
  • If unsure, mark the fabric before cutting to ensure accuracy.
  • Frixion pens erase with heat, so wait to iron your fabric until you’ve finished cutting. Otherwise, you’ll have to lay everything out and re-mark your fabric.

Now you can confidently fussy cut large motifs and precise squares for your quilting projects. And if you’re more of a visual learner, you can follow along to the video tutorial with Mindy on YouTube. We can’t wait to see your big beautiful blocks!

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