Monday, July 23, 2012

A Border Tutorial

A couple people asked me how to make the border I added to this Schnibbles quilt:

Remember that? It's a border treatment that I think can add a lot to the look of a quilt--and can also be used as sashing--so I thought I'd take a few minutes to show you how I do it.

The sample I'm going to demonstrate has the colors reversed, with the black fabric as the backgrounds/setting triangles. First, you'll sew the squares together, background fabrics on either side of the fabrics that will form the diamond centers. Press the seams toward the darker fabric.

Here I have the three sections lined up in the positions they'll be sewn--see how they're offset from one another?

Next, sew them together, matching up the seams. If you've pressed your fabric to the darker fabric in each group of three squares, then the seams will be pressed in opposite directions, allowing the strips to snug up against one another at the seam lines.

I've done these steps out of order a bit, but let me show you my photos and then I'll tell you what I should have done differently. In this next photo, I've lined up my ruler so that the tips of the colored squares are at the quarter inch mark on the ruler, so I can cut off the excess and leave a quarter inch seam allowance. Then I trimmed away that excess black fabric.

Now, here's what I should have done before trimming--sewn background squares to each end of the colored center square. Because I forgot, I had to trim those separately, so it was an extra step.

Finally, after trimming and leaving a quarter inch all the way around, this is the section I ended up with:

Now, you may well want to know how to calculate how long your border section will turn out so you know how many squares to cut. I'm pretty good with math, but even so, I find it difficult to calculate more than just a guesstimate of the length. It's the old A squared plus B squared equals C squared that makes my head want to explode. So what I do is to start sewing the border and when it looks like it might be getting long enough, I'll take some measurements and figure out how many more squares I'll need to add. (Just to give you a rough idea of what you'll be working with, the original squares were cut at 2-1/2" to finish at 2"; the three square section above now measures 8-3/4" not including the two quarter inch seam allowances on each end.) We would always want to make the border section the same or slightly longer than the center of the quilt. Once we know how much longer the border is, we can add more background strips around the outside of the center of the quilt to bring it up to the size of the borders. The first couple times you try this, I'd recommend adding wider background strips to make the center a little bigger than you'll need and then trimming off what you don't need once you have a final measurement--it's much easier than finding you're still too short if you forget to take into consideration things like seam allowances.

I hope this gives you a new idea to play around with.


Theresa said...

What a great tip - thank you, much easier than fiddling around with triangles :) The border really finishes off your Schnibble perfectly.

Frances said...

Thank you. A painless way to stitch such a pretty border. You demo such practical ideas.

Tina said...

I've always wondered how folks did this. Thanks so much for letting us know! (It was always such a mystery.)

Rosa said...

Thanks you so much.I`ll sure try this.Your border are fabulous!!

CathyK said...

So pretty! Thank you for the tip!!!

Judy in Michigan said...

Great ideas!! I love the idea of making the border and then adding another border to make the center of the quilt match with the border you made!! You are one clever woman!!!

dianne said...

Happy Birthday!!!