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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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by: Anonymous

The pattern says it's a 12" block. Does that mean a finished 12" or unfinished 12"? A bit confusing.

From the Editor:

While I'd have to see the pattern to be sure, I'd assume that they're talking about finished block size if it's on the outside of the pattern.

~ Julie

6 inch or 6 1/2 inch!
by: Anonymous

That is JUST so wrong!! I have now trimmed 25 of my 100 6 1/2 inch square to 6 inch due to using some complicated patterns thinking that's what it meant by finished 6 inch and now realize it's suppose to be 6 1/2 inch as I'm doing easier patterns now. VERY frustrating! Just say one or other or be more explicit in stating needing a 1/4 inch seam for the finished pattern.

From the Editor:

I suspect that what happens is that the designer is no longer a beginner and forgets how confusing terminology can be.

That is why you'll see the finished and unfinished or (edge-to-edge) measurements referenced in the tutorials on this site

It can get very confusing.

~ Julie

Finished Quilt Size?
by: Karen's Kreations

I have 65 9"x9" quilt blocks I want to put together but don't know how to figure what size quilt I will end up with due to not know what design to put it together. Any ideas anyone can help me with?

Thank you

From the Editor:

Take the finished size (that's what the blocks measure AFTER they're stitched into a quilt.

Then lay them out in rows. Multiply the number of blocks in each row by the finished size.

Repeat this for the number of rows (the columns).

Add the finished width of your binding times two to each measurement to arrive at the finished size of your intended quilt.

I hope this helps.

~ Julie

Finshed and unfinshed?
by: Maura

Don't know why I make myself nuts. Anyway first time paper piecing.

so my blocks, which no 32 of them, should be 10 1/2 inches and then when I sew them all together , they will be 10P right.


From the Editor:

If after paperpiecing your blocks they are 10 1/2 inches from edge-to-edge (unfinished size), then yes, after sewing them together, they should measure 10".

You've got this!

~ Julie

Finished vs. Unfinished Question
by: Anonymous

Boy, this is SO confusing to me, new quilter.

OK, * Unfinished is raw edges after cutting then * Finished is when the cut piece is sewn into the quilt.

So, my question is "If" the finished (sewn it quilt) is measured at 6" ~ I have read you are to cut your piece at 6 1/2 due to 1/4 sewing allowance. This is where I get confused if you are cutting a square you have 4 edges to sew into your quilt. Does that mean you cut 1/4 more inches on each side? If so, that would mean you would cut 7"? 6 and 1/4 for each side.

Thank you

From the Editor:

You're almost there!

For square and rectangular shapes you add 1/2" to each dimension, always. Both shapes have two pairs of parallel sides.

If you start with a 6-1/2" cut/unfinished square and sew the top and bottom edges to other blocks, the finished size measuring the square from top to bottom is 6".

At this point, the left and right sides are unfinished because they haven't been sewn to anything else. They are still 6-1/2".

Sew units to the left and right, now the whole square has a finished measurement of 6".

Does that help?

~ Julie

by: Anonymous

I would like a chart that says if you want to make a 9" block cut your blocks (what size) so it will finish at 9". All block sizes should be on the chart. 10" 12" 14" whatever so you know what size to cut so you can finish it at the proper size. I too am a novice quilter and it takes so much time to do trial and error for blocks that I usually use as corner blocks on a border. I still work and don't have a lot of time to devote to doing all this and I love to quilt but this is so time consuming, it appears someone could make a chart so we would know. Also, if you use 1/2 square or 1/4 square triangles does that measure differently? I am sure I am not the only confused quilter out there! Perhaps I am just thick headed!!!


Sonya G.

From the Editor:

Sonya, for those other shapes (not squares and rectangles) I do have cutting charts for a number of different shapes. You'll find them on the Beginner Quilt Block Patterns and Units page.

Honestly, I'd never thought to produce such a chart for squares and rectangles. No matter how you slice it, you always add 1/2" to the width and to the height of those two shapes.

I hope this helps.

~ Julie

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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