Today’s “perfect quilt” topic is borders! Most of you know that I love pieced borders. I love multiple borders. I love borders so much that my third book is this:
It can be ordered through the left sidebar link.
As with most everything quilt related and non-quilt related, there are several ways in which to do things. I’m not saying my way is the only way or the best way but it’s the way that works best for me.
There’s a lot more info in the book on borders and as you might expect, I’m not going to give away all the info here! 🙂
Because of my love for borders, I think one of the most important aspects of creating a nice top is that the borders are the appropriate size and are applied correctly. When I first started quilting for others is when I realized that borders that don’t fit properly can turn an excellent quilt top into a nightmare!
For years I was taught to measure the quilt along the edges and down the middle, and average those measurements. Through years of making and quilting my own tops, as well as quilting for others, I didn’t not realize how inaccurate this method can be until I began using Electric Quilt software. When using EQ, I am able to see exactly what those measurements should be.
When I first began teaching my borders class, I would take along a couple of quilt tops and have folks come up with the size they thought the borders should be. These were experienced quilters and it was rare that they came up with the exact right size. Depending on the number of seams and whether there’s any bias edges, those numbers can be off by inches!
The example I’m going to use today is the Road to Llano quilt. There are lots of bias edges once those blocks are sewn together and waiting for the border. Without stretching the edges, these are the measurements I get when I take the measurements:
Left side – 67″
Center – 66-1/2″
Right side – 67-1/2″
The average of those three measurements would be about 67″. The correct measurement is 66-1/2″. Do I mind attaching a 66-1/2″ border to a 67″ edge of a quilt? Or, to a 67-1/2″ edge? No! That’s 1″ total on the longest side that I have to take into the 66-1/2″ border. That’s 1/2″ per top half and 1/2″ per bottom half. With all those bias edges, that’s no problem at all.
If I were to lay that edge down and sew it to a long strip of fabric without measuring, I could easily have stretched that edge 3 or 4 inches.
Please figure out what size your borders need to be. If you need help or border inspiration, of course I recommend my own book. Please be careful to measure at least at the halfway point and maybe even the on quarter points if it’s a long or stretchy border and get the border properly placed on the top. This will help avoid wavy edges or bulging quilt centers and if your quilts are quilted by a longarm quilter, she will probably be quite happy!