Without a trusty ruler to help achieve straight seams, perfect points and utmost accuracy, a quilter is stuck before they’ve even started. From getting your angles on point to confidently cutting the units of your quilt blocks to the rights size, acrylic rulers for quilting are a real game changer. Luckily for us, there’s a whole world of innovative designs out there to help with any quilt block you can think of. Whether you’ve just started making quilts and you’re not sure which ruler to pick to get started, or you’ve already invested in one ruler and found it so helpful you want to expand your collection, this article is for you.
Quilt rulers for rotary cutting, patchwork and machine sewing come in all shapes and sizes. Some are straightforward, others curious, many multi-purpose and several specialised, so sometimes it’s hard to know what we really need in our workspace.
Read on to discover our top 12 quilting rulers – we’re featuring beginner acrylic rulers for quilting, alongside some more speciality quilting rulers and machine quilting rulers in this round up. This lot will make sure you’re set with everything you need to know before adding to your patchwork stash.
Best quilting rulers
- Arteza Square Patchwork Rulers – 4 sizes set
- Creative Grids 6½ Inch x 24½ Inch Quilting Ruler
- Creative Grids 1½ inch x 6½ Inch Ruler
- EZ Quilting Easy Angle Ruler
- Creative Grids Bias Binding Simplified Ruler 2½ inch and 2¼ inch width
- Marti Mitchell Log Cabin Ruler
- Creative Grids 6½ Inch x 6½ Inch Square Ruler
- EZ Quilting 60 Degree Triangle Template
- Creative Grids Circle Savvy Ruler
- Sew Easy Dresden Template Ruler
- June Tailor Charming Circles Quilt Ruler
- Alcony Designs Star Quilting Rulers
Arteza Square Patchwork Rulers – starter set of 4 sizes
- Buy it now (Amazon, £30.29)
- Best for: beginners who want to cut fabric shapes accurately
No quilter’s toolkit is complete without some square rulers. There are so many available but this starter set will be by your quilt-making side for years. It features four ruler sizes – 4.5in, 6in, 9.5in, 12.5in – to cover most common quilt block sizes, so you’ll get the portability of smaller rulers when you need it combined with the potential of a larger ruler for bigger units. They can take care of all the measurements you need in 1/8in increments, and it’s not often we find we need anything larger.
These rulers are especially handy for trimming finished blocks, cutting setting triangles, larger squares for clever bulk piecing of HSTs and Flying Geese, and squaring the corners of your finished quilt.
Creative Grids 6½ Inch x 24½ Inch Rectangle Ruler
- Buy it now (Amazon, £28)
- Best for: an all-rounder you’ll use again and again
This is a great all-rounder, and a real workhorse on my cutting mat. It was the first ruler I ever purchased and is the ruler I find I reach for most often when I’m working, even now. It is an excellent tool at the start of a project when large pieces of yardage require cutting into strips and large blocks, but it gets a lot of use later in the process too when trimming quilt sides straight and square or measuring up borders and binding.
Printed 30 degree, 45 degree, and 60 degree angles make it handy for cutting unusual angles too, and mine gets a lot of use alongside strip piecing methods. An entire quilt could be cut using this ruler, though it makes an excellent companion to a square ruler or two, for real cutting versatility.
Creative Grids 1½ Inch x 6½ Inch Square Ruler
- Buy it now (The Sewing Studio, £6.95)
- Best for: quilting on the move and paper piecing
I love this for its portable size. It is brilliant for travelling projects, as a quick reference when needing to check measurements and as the perfect companion for more intricate work. It will happily live in a pen pot or pocket by the side of your machine so it’s in easy reach, ready to be put to work at a moment’s notice. It’s ideal for checking accurate seam allowances, measuring scraps for usefulness or trimming pesky dog ears, and can double up as a quilter’s quarter to add that all important ¼in to the edges of templates for appliqué and English Paper Piecing.
It’s wonderful for trimming excess fabric during Foundation Paper Piecing too, and its grip dots are especially useful for holding onto small and fiddly fabric pieces. Slip it into your sewing pouch to take on the go for hand sewn projects – it will make light work of marking stop and start points in corners. The short but straight edge is also excellent for drafting your own designs, so why not keep it alongside your sketchbook and pencil for when inspiration strikes?
EZ Quilting Easy Angle Acrylic Template
- Buy it now (Amazon, £15.51)
- Best for: Half square triangles
Speed up cutting half square triangles, squares and attic windows from ½in to 6in without fabric waste with this nifty triangle ruler, including a built-in ¼in seam allowance. It comes with clear guidelines on a transparent but sturdy acrylic base to help you position your triangles for maximum print impact.
To me, half square triangle blocks look very modern alone and can combine with other block units to create some beautiful and unusual patterns. Use the ruler to speed up cutting and accuracy for traditional and modern quilt patterns.
Creative Grids Bias Binding Simplified Ruler
- Buy it now (Etsy, £20)
- Best for: Cutting speedy binding strips
By the time I’ve pieced and quilted a project I’m keen to get it bound and finished as quickly as possible. While any long ruler can be used to cut binding strips from yardage, this specialist ruler makes it especially straightforward to cut strips for straight or bias binding at 2¼in or 2½in widths, without having to concentrate on lining up the right measurement with every cut.
Use the ruler to cut strips across the width of fabric or choose to cut binding on the bias for curved and zigzag edges, which require that extra stretch in the fabric. Bias binding will also live up to wear and tear better than straight binding, so it’s a great option no matter the project. The ruler is printed with instructions for how to make bias binding as an easy reference point. It will also help estimate binding length from yardage and features measurements so you can calculate the overall length of strips you need. At one end a 45 degree angle edge will help with joining strips with diagonal seams, or use the squared edge for straight seams if preferred. Finally, use this ruler to finish ends for easy continual binding.
Marti Mitchell Log Cabin Ruler
- Buy it now: (Amazon, £14.85)
- Best for: Cutting the strips for log cabin quilt blocks
A quilter’s repertoire isn’t complete without the Log Cabin block, but with so many pieces it is very time consuming to cut accurate strips in all the required sizes. Strips can also stretch and bow during assembly and pressing, leading to discrepancies and inaccurate results. That’s where this nifty ruler comes in to help you cut strips accurately and quickly.
Use this nifty 15 x 4½in ruler to rotary cut squares and strips to the exact length for perfect log cabins eery time. It will help you piece perfect log cabin blocks up to 14 inch square.
Creative Grids 6½ Inch x 6½ Inch Square Ruler
- Buy it now (Amazon, £14)
- Best for: trimming triangular units
A wonderful square ruler to start off with is the 6½in square. This is an excellent standard size which will be useful for myriads of small blocks and units… after all most quilt blocks include a square or two! It is less cumbersome and easier to handle when cutting yardage into smaller pieces than a larger ruler, so I regularly switch to this when sub-cutting strips into blocks for a quilt.
It’s also a perfect size for trimming units such as Flying Geese and HSTs, especially as it has a printed 45 degree line that can be matched up with seams to ensure they bisect block corners to create perfect matching points. Paired with a rotating cutting mat, trimming is a piece of cake!
EZ Quilting 60 degree triangle ruler
- Buy it now (Amazon, £6.50)
- Best for: Cutting accurate angles for 60 degree and 30 degree triangles
Once you’ve mastered squares and rectangles, you’re bound to feel the draw of triangles sooner or later. I love the simple geometry of an equilateral triangle and it is a shape I revisit often in my patchwork. While templates can be used to cut these shapes, this can be a slow process and the bias edges need to be treated with care. A dedicated triangle ruler opens up countless quilt patterns, especially one that can cut such a huge range of sizes. This ruler will cut 60 degree triangles up to 5in tall in ¼in increments and can be used to create diamonds and
30 degree triangles, too.
Pieced together, these triangles can also create hexagons, so this ruler is a hugely versatile tool that will elevate your piecing. Stack multiple layers of fabric in your desired width, then line up the size marking with the edge to cut a handful of triangles at a time. By rotating the ruler 180 degrees with each cut, fabric wastage is completely avoided and shapes are cut out efficiently. The resulting triangles feature a blunt tip which is designed as a guide for perfectly lining up raw edges when piecing. It also ensures bias edges are contained so that straight edges remain at the top and bottom of each row.
Creative Grids Circle Savvy Ruler
- Buy it now (Etsy, £38.36)
- Best for: cutting cool curves smoothly
Cutting perfect circles is notoriously tricky to do without a good template. This ruler has everything you need to fulfil all your curvy desires, cleverly cutting circles, semi-circles and quarter-circles in sizes from 3in all the way up to 15½in diameter in ½in increments. That’s a lot of circles! No matter the technique, this tool will help. For freezer paper methods for turned edge appliqué, use this ruler to cut the paper the desired finished circle size then rotate it to cut the fabric exactly ½in larger.
For pieced circles, including Drunkard’s Path, set-in circles and rings, cut the background and circle with the same ruler using the seam allowance lines. Just choose your desired finished size, fold your fabric as instructed and use the channels to guide your rotary blade. Any blade up to 45mm will work.
Sew Easy Dresden Template
- Buy it now: (Amazon, £8.99)
- Best for: cutting and piecing flat dresdens
Dresden Plate and Fan blocks are so pretty and can be used to create all sorts of effects and add movement to a quilt. However, their construction includes working with unusual angles that are difficult to cut without the right tools. Dresden Plates come in different combinations of wedges, but my favourite is the 20 wedge version, with shapes cut at an angle of 18 degrees.
This ruler will cut 18 degree wedges from 1in up to 9in long to make Dresden Plates more than double that measurement in diameter. But don’t worry, there is no maths required, a handy chart is included for block sizes. A circle template is also included for cutting the centre circle and can also be used to round off the tops of your wedges, opening up even more Dresden design options.
June Tailor Charming Circles Quilt Ruler
- Buy it now: (Amazon £14.85)
- Best for: Cutting the units for curved quilt blocks
Sized to work with 5in charm squares or any 5in fabric squares, this nifty circle ruler will help you cut curved patchwork units with ease.
Alcony Designs Star Quilting Rulers
- Buy them now (from £13.54, Etsy)
- Best for: machine quilting or appliqué stars
This eye-catching range of of quilting rulers was originally intended for longarm quilting and is designed to help you quilt your quilts with nesting heart patterns, but the collection has since been expanded to include shorter thicknesses to hep you machine quilt stars on other size machines. They double up as great stencils to cut star shapes for appliqué additions to your quilt tops too. Each set has 4 pieces, and they’re designed to protect your fingers as you sew too.