Monday, May 13, 2013

Adding Borders to Your Quilt

(This is a repost, as I had to delete the original due to thousands of comments by spam-bots.)

As a long arm quilter, I have a few pet peeves when dealing with customer quilts. Bad pressing is one. But what bugs me the most is bad borders. Borders that are too short on one side and too long on the other. Borders that are rippled and wavy. Borders with too much fullness. They all add up to one insane quilter.
To a certain extent, they can be "quilted out." But it takes a lot of fidgeting, time, steaming and irritation on the part of the quilter.

My posting for today is simply my own instructions for adding borders. I’ve gathered bits and pieces of information and techniques from a variety of sources, blended them together until I found what works best for me. Many of my students have told me that it works well for them. Try it for your self.

How to Add Straight Borders to your Quilt
Ensuring that the quilt is square and the borders lie or hang flat without ripples is as simple as following the steps listed below.

  1. Measure the quilt to calculate a "base" measurement for each border.
  2. Do not take the measurements on the edge of the quilt as the seams may have opened a little and will give a false result. Instead position the tape measure approximately 20 -30 cm in from the edge at both ends. Take a third measurement through the center of the quilt.
  3. Now average the three measurements to find the "base measurement". However, If there is more than a 1.5 cm variation in the measurements it means that the pieced seams are not even so go back to the quilt and adjust seams before adding border. This will make you quilt lay and hang flat. In the end you will be glad you took the time to correct your seaming.
  4. Cut your side borders to base measurement for the length of your quilt.
  5. Mark the quilt and the border at the ½ and ¼ points with pins. Match these points and pin the entire length together of your border and center unit together. Sew with a ¼ inch seam.
  6. Repeat for the other side. Press these seams. Generally press to the darker fabric. You may press to the light or open as needed.
  7. Measure the width of the quilt (including the added borders) in three places as instructed in step two.
  8. Add these borders as above.
Note: if your fabrics strips are not as long as the required borders I recommend that you piece them together using a 45-degree seam. This lies flatter than a straight cross-seam and is less visible.
Lay two border strips right sides together at with their ends at a 90-degree angle. Sew a seam from point to point. While stitching from point to point, think of the capital letter A. Your strips are the legs of the A and your stitching the cross bar. Open to ensure the strips will lay straight. If so, trim seam to 1/4inch and press open. Repeat with another strip if more length is needed. Cut desired strip length from this piece. Piecing all your strips together and then cutting your borders gives all one large piece for your scrap bin rather than many small ones.
It doesn’t take long to make your borders perfect. Try it and see what you think.

Please, if you share these directions, let people know where you found them. Thanks.


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