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.
Each month, learn a fun trick or tip to make your quilting easier and more polished! This month, learn to make a two-color binding for a quilt that looks just as pretty on the front as it does on the back!
French Braid designer Becky Cogan in American Patchwork & Quilting April 2013
To make two-color binding that finishes a scant 3/8″ wide, complete the following steps:
From binding fabric that will show on quilt front, cut:
- 7/8″-wide binding strips in number and length specified in your pattern
From binding fabric that will show on quilt back, cut:
- 1-5/8″-wide binding strips in number and length specified in your pattern
1. Sew together 7/8″-wide strips with diagonal seams to make one continuous front binding strip. In same manner, join 1-5/8″-wide strips to make one continuous back binding strip.
2. With right sides together, join front and back binding strips on a pair of long edges with scant 1/4″ seam to make a pieced binding strip. Press seam toward darker print.
3. Fold pieced binding strip in half lengthwise with wrong side inside. Sew pieced binding strip to quilt, placing front binding against quilt front.
Each month, learn a fun trick or tip to make your quilting easier and more polished! This month, learn to love hand piecing, the technique favored by designer Jen Kingwell of Amitié Textiles. Love her look in the pillow below? Get her tips for making hand-piecing easier!
(From American Patchwork & Quilting February 2014. Buy the digital issue here.)
- I make my templates from template plastic and write the pattern name and any identifying numbers or letters on each one with an ultrafine permanent marker. I store them in sandwich-size ziplock bags.
- For fabric markers I prefer a mechanical pencil with a 2B lead or a fine chalk pencil, usually white.
- When tracing around templates I use a sandpaper board. It holds the fibers firmly, which reduces distortion.
- Good-quality cotton fabrics give the best results.
- I prefer size 11 straw needles from Jeana Kimball. These fine needles have a straight shaft that glides through the fabric easily. They are also long, which allows me to take several running stitches at a time.
- I love Machine Embroidery Thread (also called Broder Thread) from DMC. It is a 50-weight two-ply thread and comes in a fabulous color range. I find the finer the thread and needle, the more accurate the seams.
- The first thing I do is put a quilter’s knot in my thread: I hold my threaded needle in my dominant hand. I take the end of my thread in my other hand and loop it so about 1″ of this end lies on my needle. With my dominant hand, which is still holding the needle, I hold the end of the thread in place. With my other hand I wrap the thread around the needle three to four times. With my fingers holding the wrap on the needle firmly, I use my nondominant hand to pull the needle through the wrap, continuing to hold until this knot stops at the end of the thread. It’s quick and easy and is never too bulky.
- To finish a seam I take a small backstitch: Before pulling the thread all the way through the fabric, I bring my needle through the loop, which effectively ties a knot. To prevent unraveling, I cut the thread but leave about a 1⁄4″ tail.
Each month, learn a fun trick or tip to make your quilting easier and more polished! This month, learn how to add texture to your quilt with dimensional flying geese units!
August 2013 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting.)
To make one dimensional Flying Geese unit, gather two 2″ squares and one 2×3-1/2″ rectangle. Lay the rectangle vertically on your work surface. Fold the rectangle in half with wrong side inside to make a folded unit. Place the folded unit on the right side of one square, aligning side and bottom edges; pin. Place remaining square right side down on top of folded unit; sew through all layers with a scant 1/4″ seam allowance. Open stitched unit and press seam in one direction. Refold rectangle so that the center crease aligns with the seam, forming a triangle, to make a Flying Geese unit. Press well and, if desired, baste bottom edges. The unit should be 3-1/2×2″ including seam allowances.
Each month, learn a fun trick or tip to make your quilting easier and more polished! This month, learn how to prep your quilt layers for taking them to the long-armer (or quilting them yourself!).
1. Both the batting and the backing should be 6″–8″ wider and longer than the quilt top. Confirm this measurement with your quilter if you’re sending a quilt out for finishing.
2. Make sure the quilt top lays flat by using consistent ¼” seams, pressing seams to one side, and watching for seams that twist and cause a bump. Give a finished quilt top a final press to ensure it is ready to be quilted.
3. Clip all loose threads and fabric, and trim dog-ears. Any of these can cause a shadow behind lighter fabrics if not removed. Loose fabric can bulk up in a quilt sandwich and make it look bumpy.
4. Repair raveling seams and stay-stitch quilt top edges. Especially if you have a pieced border, it’s a good idea to stay-stitch a scant ¼” from quilt top edges to secure unintersected seams. It prevents them from popping open when the quilt layers are loaded onto the machine.