Sunday, August 8, 2010

Quilt Step Five: Border

Disclaimer: I am in no way a quilting expert. I have learned solely from trial and error (emphasis on error) and reading on the internet. I have only made 4 quilt tops and have hand quilted 1 top and machine quilted 4 tops. I am not saying everything I do is the right way to do it, just sharing what I've picked up so far. You'll probably learn best by trial and error too ;-)

I finished up the top for the Spin Drift quilt! Only 3 months later than I was hoping for, but hey, it's still before winter time.

Today I finished up the borders. I was wanting to do mitered corners on the borders, but in keeping with the idea of using scraps and saving money, I ended up using fabric that I had just enough of, and there wasn't enough to do a miter. So these are just regular ol' borders.

First, I cut my fabric (a bunch of long, narrow strips) and sewed all the short ends together so that I had one skinny, long piece: Then, I cut that piece into 4 pieces that would fit the sides of the quilt. If you're following a pattern, it will give you the measurements you need here. If not, you'll need 2 pieces that are the same (or very slightly longer for fudge factor) length as the sides of your quilt and 2 pieces that are the same length as the top and bottom of your quilt plus the width of your border times 2

Then, starting with the sides, mark the center of your border piece and the center of your quilt side:Match up these two points, lay the right sides of the fabric together (I always lay the quilt out on my bed at this point) and pin the center of the border to the center of the quilt. A couple of notes here: First, as I've stated before, I HATE pinning. Borders are not the time to avoid pins. Use pins and use a LOT of them. It's a minimal time investment to save you a huge headache. Second, I used to pin things with my pins parallel to the seam until I saw an episode on HGTV that showed someone sewing with the pins perpendicular. I wondered why it was done that way and looked it up...with the pins perpendicular (as I have them in the above picture), you can sew right over them and pull them out later. It minimizes bunching on the fabric, makes it easier as you're sewing, and you prick your fingers less too.

Once the center is pinned together, work your way from the center out to the edges and pin your border to the quilt (again, LOTS of pins). The border is going to help square up your quilt, so you want the border straight, not necessarily following every edge of your quilt. Hopefully you've been careful throughout the piecing and the small errors are still within a reasonable seam allowance. If there are some bigger mistakes, you may need to square up the quilt by doing some cutting before putting the border on.

Sew the border on both sides of the quilt, press the seams, then sew the border on the top and bottom of the quilt and press the seams:
This particular quilt had two borders, so I repeated the whole process all over again for the second one and here is the finished quilt top: Sorry the picture's not any better--the best hanging situation I could come up with didn't leave me much room to back up for a picture plus I had to stand on the bed to take the picture (which my midwife would probably not approve of in the first place), so this is what I ended up with. I think you can definitely get the idea though. The borders are really a big part of this quilt. They calm down the craziness of all those pinwheels and the first one sort of blends, while the second one really frames it. I would like to be able to use that same rose fabric for my binding, but I don't think I have enough left, so I will probably have to come up with something else. This quilt will be for the girl's room though and they have both been coming up to me all day saying how pretty it is, so I guess it's a winner!

It will probably be another week or two before I write up the post detailing the actual quilting and then the binding, but here is the fabric I plan to use for the back: Again, not entirely my first choice, but we're going with what I have laying around. This was gifted to me and I won't use it for anything else, so I'd like to make it work for this. There is just barely enough for it to work--I'll have to be very careful not to waste any of it and even then it may not work out, but I'm sure gonna try!

Quilt Step One: Planning
Quilt Step Two: Cutting Fabric, Preparing Machine
Quilt Step Three: Piecing The Quilt
Quilt: Piecing, Continued
Quilt: More Piecing
Quilt: Scrap Happy Blocks Pieced
Quilt: Spindrift Pieced
Quilt Step Four: Sashing
Quilt Step Five: Border
Quilt: Choosing Batting
Quilt Step Six: The Quilt Sandwich

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