Each month, learn a fun trick or tip to make your quilting easier and more polished! This month, learn to add mitered borders to your next project! This is a great technique for when you want a standout print to match up at the corners.
1. Determine the yardage and measurement for your border strips.The yardage needed depends on the pattern repeat of the border print across the width of the fabric, the pattern repeat of the border print along the length of the fabric, and where the border strips will join. Cut the two side border strips first from the same lengthwise repeat of the border print, selecting a motif to be at their centers.
2. Fold each side border strip in half crosswise and press lightly to mark the center. Fold the assembled quilt center in half and press lightly to mark the center of the side edges.To ensure accuracy when pinning border strips to the quilt top, measure the length of the quilt center on each side. Divide the quilt center’s length by 2, and measure this amount in both directions from the center crease on the border strip. Make a mark at each measured point, which should correspond to the quilt center corner. With right sides together and centers and corner marks aligned, pin a side border strip to one side edge of the quilt center, allowing the excess border strip to extend beyond the corner edges. Sew together, beginning and ending 1/4″ from the quilt center’s corners.
3. Fold the border strip corners back at 45º angles as if to miter.
4. Cut the top and bottom border strips from the same lengthwise repeat of the border print, selecting the same motif used at the center of the side border strips for the centers of the top and bottom border strips.
5. Lay the quilt center with its attached side border strips right side up on a work surface. Align the centers of the top border strip and upper edge of the quilt center, allowing the excess top border strip to extend under the side border strips.
6. Make a pleat at the center of the top border strip and pull the border strip fabric into the pleat until the desired motif appears at a corner. Pleat an equal amount of fabric from each side of center on the top border strip.
7. Fold the pleat to the wrong side of the top border strip and pin. The pleat should align with the marked midpoint on the top edge of the quilt center.
8. Pin the border strips with right sides together at the corners.
9. Sew the pleat along the fold lines. Trim the seam allowance to 1/4″ and press open.
10. NOTE: different fabric used to demonstrate for the next steps for easier viewing. With the wrong side up, overlap the border strips at one corner. Align the edge of a 90º right triangle with the raw edge of the top border strip so the long edge of the triangle intersects the seam in the corner. With a pencil, draw along the edge of the triangle between the border seam and the raw edge.
11. Place the bottom border strip on top and repeat the marking process.
12. With the right sides of adjacent border strips together, match the marked seam lines and pin.
13. Beginning with a backstitch at the inside corner, stitch exactly on the marked lines to the outside edges of the border strips. Check the right side of the corner to see that it lies flat.
14. Trim the excess fabric, leaving a 1/4” seam allowance.
15. Press the seam open.
16. Repeat steps 5–9 to add the bottom border strip.
17. Repeat steps 10–15 to mark and sew the remaining border corners in the same manner.
Cut It, Sew It, Stow It
by Ebony Love
$12,95; Annie’s Sewing
Review by Lindsay Fullington, assistant multimedia editor
Need a professional organizer, storage products, and sewing lessons for only $12.95? Then this book is for you! Not only do you get instructions for 10 multi-use fabric storage containers, but author Ebony also gives clever organizing ideas for each container. It’s the perfect way to use your favorite fabrics to match your decor, but also store household items and sewing supplies smarter! And with the holiday season coming, cute organization is definitely on our wish list!
From hanging organizers, tote-like carriers, divided containers, and a pillow with pockets, these DIY storage projects are not only totally functional in any room, but also so stylish! Say good-bye to plastic containers or expensive organizers. These make-in-a-weekend projects are easy, quick, and perfect for showcasing beautiful fabric. On my to-do list are definitely the Entryway Mail & Key Trays that have cute button accents and the Plastic Bag Hamper to help corral my large supply of bags in the kitchen.
The photography in this book is beautiful and provides clever ideas for displaying and hanging each container. These ideas are perfect for me, since I frequently make things but then never know what to do with them! And the diagrams and detailed instructions take the guesswork out of some of the harder steps in making three-dimensional objects.
One of my favorite parts of this book (and one that I think really ups the value) is the “Make It Fancy! Embellishing” section in each project. It gives you an option for adding special details to each project. Although not required in the instructions, these ideas teach you a new technique and can really add a handmade touch if you have the extra time! From decorative stitches and machine quilting ideas to applique and pleats, these ideas not only add to the specific project they’re featured in, but also any project you’re working on!
Simply Modern Christmas
by Cindy Lammon
Review by Lindsay Fullington, assistant multimedia editor
If you’re like me and author Cindy, you love Christmas traditions, but don’t necessarily think of yourself as a traditional quilter. Simply Modern Christmas combines traditional quilt blocks and holiday motifs, but with a modern and fun spin! No matter what your skills level is, this book has a project that will help you add a handmade touch to your home in the busy holiday season. From stockings and table toppers to bright wall quilts and cozy throws, these 14 quilted projects will have you in a holly jolly mood while quilting.
While some quilts use the common green and red color scheme, the use of graphic prints, florals, and stripes puts a modern twist on tradition. The table toppers would look stunning on a Christmas table, but could easily transition to everyday decor by swapping out a centerpiece. And the argyle quilt would make a perfect throw for then men in your life or just something to curl up in in the winter months.
Many quilts add teal and pink to elevate the traditional colors to bright and cheerful creations. The tree skirt (one that is definitely on my to-do list) showcases trendy diamonds in reds, greens, pinks, and teals for a pop of color under your tree. An applique wall hanging uses these colors as a backdrop for a whimsical tree that will give joy to both children and adults.
And best of all? Most of these quilts are made using fat quarters and simple shapes, so you can whip one or two (or more … ) up before the holiday season gets too busy! Cindy’s color diagrams, easy-to-read instructions, and beautiful photography will not only inspire, but also walk you through each quilt with ease.
My month of relaxation is over. After almost two weeks or vacation time in July, I’m back to the grind. And while I did get a little sewing done this month, I concentrated on a quilt for a gift and a lot of reading. (Find out more about my goals this year in my resolutions blog – read it here.) My month off helped me regain focus on my projects and helped me look forward to working on my quilts for fun instead of a chore.
On my to-do list this year:
- Tula Pink‘s City Sampler (See all my blocks here.)
- American Patchwork & Quilting Quilt Along (Read more about it here.)
- Pat Sloan‘s Globetrotting Block of the Month with Free Quilt Patterns (Get details here.)
- Finish my Passion 48 (See our staff’s Project 48 rules here.)
- Quilts and More Welcome Home wall hanging series (in Quilts and More Summer)
I got the last 20 blocks for this quilt cut out! Only a little more sewing to do and then I get to start the fun process of designing this quilt!
I got four more of the American Patchwork & Quilting Quilt Along blocks done. Only 7 more blocks to go! Check out everyone’s blocks on Instagram if you need motivation or ideas (search: #apqquiltalong).
Seven of the blocks for the Globetrotting Block of the Month are done. The next block came out today, so I’ll be working on this soon!
I have some tips for jumpstarting your creativity. (See my tips for making your list here.)
1. Take time off. While it’s important to be creative every day to keep the juices flowing, it’s also alright to take some time off from your to-do list. I took time this month to be creative while reading, gardening, and baking. And while I did do some quilting, it was a gift that was not on my to-do list. Taking a break gives you the energy and motivation to move ahead on your projects.
2. Do what you feel. With nicer weather this month, I didn’t want to be cooped inside at my sewing machine. I, instead, opted for a lot of cutting. I liked being on my feet with some music playing. And touching the pretty fabric was a nice stress reliever after a long day. I still made progress on a quilt, but it wasn’t something that was time-consuming or felt like work
3. Let your mind wander. We always say in the office that sitting at your desk and thinking counts as work. While it may seem silly to let your mind wander while you’re working on a quilt, sometimes the best ideas or creative spark come from just sitting. If you’re not feeling the creative process, look at some quilting magazines, browse some websites for inspiration, or go to a store to look at fabric. You’ll be surprised how this can jumpstart your motivation!
Happy quilting in 2014! Share your own quilting to-do list in the comments and make sure to check back to see my progress.
Girls Get Stitching!
$21.95; C&T Publishing
Review by Elizabeth Stumbo, assistant art director
Plain white T-shirts and boring tote bags will be a thing of the past after reading Girls Get Stitching! by Shirley Mclauchlan. This book is perfect for the young stitcher in your life. The easy-to-follow instructions and inspiring projects will soon have her embellishing items found in her closet and room.
Inspired by her own teenage years and love of creating gifts with her hands, Shirley encourages readers to simply “have a go.” Don’t worry about perfection and straight stitch lines, but instead focus on learning, exploring and creating something unique for yourself or someone special. With 10 basic stitches and 20 adorable project to choose from, the possibilities are endless to personalize clothing, housewares, cards and more! Shirley’s designs are sweet, on-trend and perfect for new or beginning stitchers. Cupcakes on aprons and foxes on pillows are just the beginning of the fun!
Everything needed to get started can be found in the front of the book. Included are a list of basic tools needed with helpful explanations, tips for fabric and thread selection and step-by-step instructions for easy template transfers. Tips on where to find more unusual materials and items are also scattered throughout the project pages. Pretty photography with helpful details of each project make it easy to see Shirley’s stitches and color selections. A special section on creating mood boards helps teach readers how to make strong color, fabric and stitch choices that will help to personalize their projects and instill confidence. Many of the projects also feature additional ideas to encourage readers to mix-and-match patterns.
This book teaches readers to see the potential for creativity everywhere. Take something ordinary and create something truly one-of-a-kind through basic stitches and techniques. What will you embellish today?