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Finished vs. unfinished quilt block sizes

When finished block is indicated as 6.5" is that the size prior to putting quilt together or after it is put in the quilt. Like should it first be 7"?


It sure can get confusing!

Yes, the unfinished size is the actual size of the block from raw edge to raw edge after you have pieced it and before you have assembled it into the quilt.

If the pattern says the block is 6.5" finished, its unfinished measurement is:

6.5" + .5" = 7" unfinished

That extra .5" is for the seam allowances that will disappear into the seam once the blocks are joined.

Thank you for your question. I'm working on some new patterns and because of it, I'll be adding both finished and unfinished block sizes for greater clarity for the reader. Thank you!


Julie Baird

Online Quilting Class

Comments for Finished vs. unfinished quilt block sizes

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finished vs unfinished
by: Anonymous

I am amazed that these quilting patterns that we pay so many money for do not make things more clear. They should specify both sizes as it is very confusing.

A beginning quilter, especially if they are self-taught, is going to have a mess in their quilt because things don't measure correctly. I always thought finished was before it was sewn into the quilt.

Lost a lot of points that way.

Block size
by: Anonymous

If the pattern just states the "block size is 10 1/2" do u trim it to that size before piecing the quilt?

It does not state finished or unfinished.

From the Editor: Without seeing the pattern, I can't reliably answer the question.

However, you can determine this for yourself. Get some graph paper and draft out the block using the cut sizes in the pattern. Remember that for squares and rectangles the finished size (you draft with finished sizes) is 1/2" less for both length and width. (A patch cut 2-1/2" x 3" will finish at 2" x 2-1/2".)

Another quick check is if there is any sashing around the block.

If the blocks are squares (most pieced patchwork is) then the length of first piece of sashing that attaches to a single block is the dimension of the unfinished block.

I know that's a lot of words. However, put a block in your hand and walk through it. That should make sense.

I wish I could be of more help.

~ Julie Baird

Challenging block size!
by: Linda Lou

This is very challenging! I have followed the pattern to a "t" and when I see the sashings on I am going to barely have enough material for the seam. So sad to put all this effort in and hope your seam stays in🤔

finished vs unfinished quilt blocks sizes.
by: Anonymous

So if a pattern says it is a finished 6" block and they give you all the cutting measurements. It then is a 5.5" block when trimmed?

PS You are right, very confusing.

From the Editor: No. If the block is 6" finished, that's the size that shows after it is pieced into your quilt top.

To stitch it into your top you need to have a 1/4" seam allowance on each side. Add 1/2" to the finished size (6" + 1/2"); it is a 6-1/2" UN-finished block.

The unfinished size is always larger than the finished size because of the seam allowances needed to 'finish' it.


~ Julie

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