Week 9 of the 2020 American Patchwork & Quilting Quilt-Along starts on 4/13. The assignment is: Add borders and remove foundation papers. Below you'll find some helpful tips and some answers to questions we've been getting. See more about the Quilt-Along here.
get together quilt along

My quilt center isn't completely square? How do I handle adding borders?

We like to wait until we're done piecing our top before we cut our border strips, and here's why: no matter how perfectly you piece your quilt, with so many seams, it's probable that one or more of the sides of your quilt may be a little larger or smaller that it's supposed to be. If this is the case, measure each side of the quilt and then also measure down the center. Take the average of those three numbers and cut your two side borders strips to that average length. Then match the ends and the center of the inner border strips to the quilt. When you sew the borders on, put whichever piece is longer down toward the feed dogs, which helps take care of small differences in length.

Pulling out foundation papers is a pain. Any tips for making it easier?

It helps to start in the center of the foundation-pieced unit to remove the papers. Spritzing the paper lightly with water will soften it and help in removal. Running a pin or the tip of a seam ripper along the stitching line makes the paper easier to remove, too. Avoid tugging, as it will loosen your stitches. If the paper won't come out of a small area, use tweezers to gently pull it free.

And find a good show to watch on Netflix while you're doing it. It may take awhile.

When I'm done adding my borders, what else do I need to do before quilting?

  • 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.
  • Make sure the quilt top lays flat by using consistent 1/4" 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.