Tuesday Tutor - borders

Posted by Ruth on 16 March 2011 | 0 Comments

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Welcome back to our quilt making lesson. So what comes next? Yes you guessed it, it's time to add a border. On my quilt, I'm going to add one dark border. You may want to add more to make it bigger.

When cutting borders, it is known that if you cut the strips from the length of the fabric it will stretch less than if you cut the strips from the width of the fabric. Cutting from the length of the fabric naturally takes more fabric so I often cut from the width. I have ways to prevent stretching from happening.

With our sample quilt being 42 1/2" long at this stage, we should be able to cut our strips from the width of the fabric (as long as your fabric is 43" wide - be sure to measure it first).

Before we get started, we really should check that measurement though. Measure it through the center of the quilt lengthwise. Is it 42 1/2" long? Is it shorter? Is it longer? You can adjust your seams if you like to make the correct size or use your new size to cut the border strips.

Why do we measure through the center of the quilt? We do this so that we get an average measurement between the two sides. The correct way is to measure the length along each side too. Add the three measurements together and then divide that by three to get a true average length. When you cut the side border strips this length, it will keep the quilt square and in shape. One of the most important things to remember when adding borders is to always cut the border strips to the correct length.

So now that you have your measurement, cut two strips this length by 3" wide. This will make a 2 1/2" finished border. If you have extra fabric, you might want to make it a little wider.

Find the middle of each border strip and match them to the middle of each side of the quilt. Be sure to have raw edges even and right sides together. Match ends of strips to ends of quilt too. Add as many pins as you need, positioning pins perpendicular to the seam.

Sew your border strip on. If the strip seems a little loose or longer than the quilt, sew it with the quilt on top. The machine will naturally pull the quilt to fit without making pleats or gathers.

When you have both strips sewn in place, press the seams toward the border. I hope you haven't forgotten how to press accurately. You can always check back to our pressing instructions in lesson two >>

Now that you have the sides added, we need to add the top and bottom. You will measure through the width of the quilt this time. Measurement needs to include the border strips too. Cut two more strips 3" by the measurement.

Do the same thing by matching centers, pinning and sewing in place. Now wasn't that easy?

Sampler quilt with borders

2 1/2" borders have been added

Would you like to learn how to quilt this now? I know some of you would. Others will prefer to send their quilts to a longarm quilter to have it done, but really, they are missing the best part of quilting in my opinion <grin> So why don't you have a go. Let's meet back here next week and learn the next step to finishing your quilt.

See you then!

quilting classes available at the Academy of Quilting


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