Thursday, September 13, 2012

If You Like It, Put a Border on It!

After a nostalgic look back to summer, this week it's back to quilty business! 

A few weeks ago, I found a box on my shelf full of purple and white pinwheel blocks. Orphans. We got started on making a quilt. Now it's time to finish that puppy! Check blog posts here and here for the back-story.
The last time we looked, that purple pinwheel quilt had a completed center, but needed a border.
So, I chose three fabrics from my stash - a focus print featuring lilac blooms, an accent sage green solid that added interest and picked up the leafy green in the lilac print, and a little swipe of the cream--the same cream used in the pieced center, so the middle of the quilt wouldn't look so much like the center of a target.
Since I'm lazy, instead of adding each border one at a time, I decided to add the borders all at once, and miter the corners.
Find mitered borders intimidating? No worries. They are easy. Watch . . .
First, I like to lay out the quilt top, and then the borders, one at a time. With scissors (nothing fancy) I trim each border so the length is as long as the side of the quilt plus at least one border width extra at each end. Don't be stingy on the length of fabric! Mitered borders require a more fabric than traditional borders do.

With mitered borders, multiple borders can be sewn together first, then all three (in this case) are attached to the quilt center at once. If you have multiple borders, be sure to press seams on adjoining sides in opposite directions so they'll nest at the mitered seam.

Since my quilt is lap size, I folded it in half and then folded the sewn border in half. Lay the folded border on top of the quilt, so the folds align, and the border edge follows along one of the horizontal seams on the quilt, somewhere in the middle of the piecing. Using the quilt top as a guide, place a pin in the border fabric 1/4" to the inside of the quilt edge. Here I'm measuring two borders at once. Turn the quilt, and repeat to measure the top and bottom border lengths.

Open up the quilt, and pin the border in place at the quilt edge, using the pins to mark where to start and stop sewing. To secure it for sewing, I also place pins across the entire length of the border at about 2-3" intervals.

Sew all four borders onto the quilt, one at a time, leaving 1/4" at each edge unsewn, the back of the corner where the border seams come together should look something like this. You can see that I added a couple of backstitches at the end and beginning of the border seams.

Work one corner at a time. Fold the quilt center in half on the diagonal wrong sides together. You don't have to fold the whole quilt, only the corner where the borders come together is important. The bulk of the quilt can be crumpled up on the edge of the work surface while you are working on one of the corners. At the same time, align the edges of the floppy unsewn ends of the extra border fabric onto your work surface, nice and flat. 

Place a ruler on the border fabric (you will have two layers of border ends), so the edge of the ruler aligns with the end of the border seam, and the 45˚ line on the ruler aligns with the bottom edge of the border.  The multiple border seams will nest. Draw a line from the end of the border seam to the edge of the border

Sew on the drawn line, and cut 1/4" away from the seam. I used scissors because they were handy, you can use a ruler and rotary cutter. At this point, some folks like to take a peek to make sure the seam looks okay from the right side of the quilt. Better to check this before trimming. . . in case of any potential do-overs.

Press the mitered seam open (this is one of the rare instances where I prefer pressing the seam open) from the back. 

Pretty. Repeat the last four steps with the remaining corners. Then. . .

Sandwich . . .

Quilt . . .

and bind.

bout 75 orphan purple and white pinwheel blocks disappeared into this quilt. Another 75 or so remain in that shoebox I discovered a few weeks ago. Time to make another quilt!
Happy Stitching!

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