Sew Many Strips Quilt-Along: Week 8 and 9 Tips
Week 8 of the 2019 American Patchwork & Quilting Quilt-Along starts on 4/8 and Week 9 starts on 4/15. The assignments are: Cut and add inner border and assemble and add outer border. Below you'll find some helpful tips for adding borders, and some answers to questions we've been getting. See more about the Quilt-Along here.
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 inner 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 inner 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 inner borders on, put whichever piece is longer down toward the feed dogs, which helps take care of small differences in length.
Does the Quilt Assembly Diagram have a mistake in the outer border?
Yes. Thank you to all those people who caught it and brought it to our attention. If you bought the magazine or a digital pattern before February 20, your Quilt Assembly Diagram has a mistake. On the Quilt Assembly Diagram, the bottom border is shown upside down, so the strips don't offset correctly. The rest of the pattern is correct, and it shouldn't affect anyone's cutting or piecing – only sewing on that bottom border. Here is the the updated Quilt Assembly Diagram as a PDF. If you don't think you'll remember this change as you come to it, please print this for your records!
When I'm done adding my borders, what else do I need to do before quilting?
- Repair raveling seams and stay-stitch quilt top edges. Especially with this pieced border, it's a good idea to stay-stitch a scant 1/4" from quilt top edges to secure unintersected seams. It prevents them from popping open while the quilt waits for 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.