Wednesday, March 13, 2013

If we measure precisely

for regular borders, why don’t we do the same for mitered borders.  I asked myself that the last time I put a mitered border on my quilt.
I decided to give it a try and wow, the difference was incredible.
My border laid flat – it wasn’t out there waving to the neighbours.  Wavy borders drive me up the wall and down the other side.  It’s so hard to make them quilt properly and make the quilt look great when you are done.  One of the many reasons a quilt will never, ever lie flat.
Okay this is how I did it.  This is lengthy as it is a step by step photo description.  A PDF is available for download.
Mitering a Border
1. Lay your quilt top down on a flat surface. Using a measuring tape, measure both the width and the length of the quilt through the middle of the top. Measure exactly and write the measurements down.
2. With your quilt top still lying flat, mark the four corners of the quilt ¼” in from both sides.
3. Mark it carefully with a pencil.
4. Find the centre of the top and mark that. You can use a pin or a pencil mark.
Set the top aside for now
The border fabric
For this we are only using one border fabric, not multiples of borders.
1. For the border length you need the measurement from the side you will be working with, the width of the border times 2 and extra length – make it 2” per end -- to make the 45* angle you need for the mitre.
2. The quilt shown measures 30 ½” in both directions. The border is cut 3 ½” wide x 2 which makes it 7”. Add 4” to the total = 41”.
3. Make sure your border is at least 41”. It can be more, but make sure it isn’t less.
4. Fold your border in half, and press. Divide the measurement of your top in half…….this time you need a measurement of 15 ¼”. From the centre of the border measure out to the ends 15 ¼”. Do it for the other side.
5. You will have to take ¼” off each of those measurements to allow for your seams. Your markings will look like this:
6. Now pin your border to your top right sides together. Find the centre of both pieces and pin them together. Find the ¼” markings in from each end and pin those two together on each end. Now starting in the middle work your way out to the ends. Do the same in the other direction. I use a lot of pins when pinning my borders to my top.
7. Once your top is pinned together, sew the two together starting at the ¼” marking and ending at the ¼” marking.
8. Before you attach the next side, pin your ends back over the border you have just sewn on.
clip_image014 You want to be sure to keep these out of the way so they are not sewn into the next border.
9. Do the same thing again for the next border. Always start at the ¼”mark.  Always end at the 1/4” mark.
10. To form the mitre,bring the first border around to the second border, pinning the two together with the centres of each border piece matching. Pin your borders together.
11. On a flat surface, place your ruler with the 45* angle along the edge of the border,
clip_image018 laying your ruler so that it runs through the corner you have just created, clip_image020 following the line of the quilt.
12. Mark a stitching line with a pencil and then pin the two borders together.
clip_image024 clip_image026
13. I start about ½” away from the corner
clip_image028and sew right to the corner and then turn the entire border around and stitch out towards the edge. Make sure you stitch on the line you have just drawn. I leave a tail of thread after the stitching is completed. I don’t want it to unravel.
14. Check to make sure the border is sewn correctly, that you have not caught anything in the stitching. clip_image030
15. Very carefully press the seam open clip_image032
16. Trim away the excess fabric leaving a ¼” seam allowance
17. Repeat these steps for each corner of your quilt. It is a bit more time consuming than a regular border, but really worth it.

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by Maya Angelou

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