Angela Walters and Linda Augsburg demonstrate an easy way to machine quilt your borders.

October 13, 2016

Looking for more quilting design inspiration? See more here.


Hi I'm Linda at American Patchwork & Quilting and I'm here with Angela Walters; ambassador for Handi Quilter and we're at the Sweet Sixteen machine and we were talking about how to quilt a border and you have some great tips on how to do that because I've always just done it in one long strip, so what are your ideas? Well, I will say that quilting borders are my least favorite part of the quilt to work on, it just seems dealing with those long sections whether you're on a sit down machine like the Sweet Sixteen or even on a long arm with the vertical borders it can be kind of a pain. So instead of trying to quilt those all in one long line, I can break the border up in chunks which means I can work my way down the quilt easily quilting the border as I go. Oh that's a great idea. So one example would be a feather, a feather is a really traditional design that a lot of machine quilters like to use, it looks gorgeous, but instead of quilting a feather one long line down the border, we can actually quilt it in chunks, which is actually what I've done on this quilt. I like to make the feather smaller, make them look as if they're running off the border of the quilt, now I could say that I like the jested position of the design or something artsy but it's really just that it's easier, so by using the quilting to break it up into chunks, a lot easier to manage. And again if you're on a sit down machine because if you have to reposition that quilt to just quilt just that one line it's going to be kind of a pain. Now when you do that do you start and end at the same place or how do you keep going. Pretty much, when I'm quilting I'll quilt this feather come back here and then continue on the quilt, so when I rearrange I can easily move and quilt on the next one. Now this is a really formal traditional kind of feather but I have a fun feather variation that's really easy to quilt and it's perfect for borders. Ooh let's look at that. Now I have to call it a Paisley Feather; just because it's a feather type design but it has paisleys as the petals instead of your traditional traveling which makes it really nice plus it's really echo heavy so if you have a little trouble to get it perfect just add some more echoes and call it good. Always a good solution. Now I like to use the gloves when I'm machine quilting on a sit down machine you definitely don't have to, if you don't; don't worry about it- it just helps me get a little more gripe on the machine. Now most traditional feathers have that long spine but this is more of a curve, so when your starting this design you're going to quilt a swirl or an elongated kind of curve and this right here is going to act as the spine in your feather and you're going to turn back to the beginning so something like that, now I like to make them skinny, but you can make it wider part depending on the area that your filling. Now instead of the regular petals I'm adding a paisley in here, now a paisley is just kind of a tear drop shape and I'm echoing around it, so there's one and when I'm ready I'm going to add the next one, just kind of swinging out and coming back, no traveling you don't have to worry about keeping the spacing perfect, you can just add more echoes around it. So what I'm going to do is work my way around the whole outside of the swirl adding these paisleys. Now the great thing is its really versatile and depending on how big your border is you can make these longer you can add more echoes you can really make the area fit, make it fit the area your working with. I'm going to work my way around and if you're working on a sit down machine, one of the benefits is you can change the orientation of your quilt so if you have the ability to you can just tweak it this way if you want, if not you just work your way around normally. Now I'm using a contrasting thread color so you can really see the design and I think it looks really good but if you use this design with a thread color that matches the quilt top it's going to look great, it's going to have a gorgeous texture to it, it's going to look real nice. I can see that that would be really nice on a border. As I'm making my way into the center of that swirl you can tell I'm kind of going to be running out of room so I'm just going to make them a little smaller again just working my way in and as far as you need to and when you get to the center I'm just going to echo my way all the way back out so that's kind of the individual element, so you could quilt it just like that or if you wanted you could come add more echoes around it to your next one, but it's a really nice design that adds a little custom look to your quilting but it's actually really easy. That's perfect and then you would just go from there into the next quilt block or whatever. Thanks so much Angela, I really appreciate you helping me break down those borders into pieces instead of having to do the whole length of them. I hope these tips have helped you to better understand how to tackle your borders whether you're working on a long arm machine or your sit down or a domestic sewing machine.