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Cut strip set blocks for my Rail Fence quilt the wrong size

Rhea writes to ask...

Hi! I am making a Rail Fence quilt and my strip set blocks should be 6-1/2" x 6-1/2". The strip sets turned out approximately 6-1/2" but then I accidentally cut the blocks 6-1/4".

How can I fix this?

Should I trim an 1/8" off of each outer strip on the block? Or just keep going? Help!!



Julie replies...

First, mis-cuts happen to every quilter at some time or other. You are not alone.

I'm interpreting this to mean that your Rail Fence blocks are now 6-1/2" x 6-1/4" (unfinished).

As you sew these blocks together you'd be constantly stitching a 6-1/4" side to a 6-1/2" side. While it is possible that you might be able to ease in the excess in the seam allowance, I don't think that is the best solution. None of the seams would lie perfectly flat. That in turn would make the quilting much less fun to do.

If it was me, I'd trim an 1/8" from each side so that all the blocks are 6-1/4" square.

I don't believe that the slight difference in width of the outer strip will be noticeable. Furthermore, if all the blocks are that way, it will look as if that's what you intended. The viewer's eyes won't notice the 'mistake' because it doesn't look like one.

Remember that the wider the original strips, the less noticeable the finished width discrepancy is. That's because the 1/8" trimmed away is a smaller percentage of the width. Conversely, the narrower the strips, the more noticeable the difference in width will be.

Avoiding the problem in the future

When I've got lots of patches to cut—especially if I'm going to be cutting several different times, I draw the shape with my ruler on a piece of paper. Label the size. Then double check it.

Now when I cut a shape, I can lay it on the paper for a quick double check that it's the correct size. Just remember when you trace around your ruler with a pencil that it will be a smidgen larger due to the width of the pencil lead.

I hope this helps!

Readers, your thoughts are always appreciated! Please share them using the 'Comments' link below. Thank you.


Julie Baird

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