Cutting Long Borders on “Sewing in Slippers with Sue”
Are you tired of dealing with wavy borders in your quilts? Have you ever experienced the frustration of carefully piecing together a quilt only to have the borders ripple or wave? If so, you’re not alone. In this blog post, we’ll explore a solution to this common problem: cutting quilt borders on the lengthwise grain of fabric for increased stability.
Welcome to “Sewing in Slippers with Sue,” where this week’s topic is all about preventing border issues with the technique of cutting long borders. Whether you’re torn between using long borders or pieced borders, this post will provide you with the necessary information to make an informed decision. Join me as we uncover the reason your borders wave, and discover the key to cutting long borders accurately.
Now, let’s take a look at the quilt pictured above. It’s not just an ordinary quilt; in fact, it was the infamous winner of Ami Simms’ “Worst Quilt in the World” contest. We certainly don’t want your quilt to end up in a similar competition! So, let’s explore the two main reasons why borders wave and a few guidelines to ensure your quilts stay square and flat.
Let’s address the two primary reasons why borders tend to wave and the simple solutions.
a) Incorrect sizing of the border or sewing borders on without measuring. Many quilters sew borders on to thier quilts without measuring the quilt or the border. Even if your quilt center is square and straight, it is easy to distort the center as you add add borders. To prevent this issue, it’s crucial to measure your quilt meticulously in various locations across both the length and width. Take the average of these measurements to determine the appropriate border length. Pin the correct border length to the quilt center at each end, and as you attach the border, gently “ease in” any fullness to ensure a smooth fit.
b) Stretching of the border: Borders can stretch when adding them to the quilt center or when un-sewing and re-sewing seams. Cross-cut borders are particularly prone to stretching. However, there’s a simple solution: cutting your borders from the length of the fabric in one piece. By doing so, you take advantage of the fabrics most stable threads, the warp threads that run the full length of the fabric. Remember, it’s as straightforward as that—cut your borders from the length of the fabric, and they’ll maintain their stability and shape.
So why are many of today’s quilt designers planning your quilts with pieced borders? The simple fact is, it is easier! It is easier to write the instructions, and it is easier for the quilter. But for me, making a high-quality quilt always comes first over saving time.
Choosing the right method for your quilt is essential, taking into account both your project’s requirements and your budget. If your quilt is intended for display, such as hanging in shows or on the wall, long borders are the way to go. On the other hand, if your quilt is more functional, like a bed quilt or a cozy blanket, you can probably get by with pieced borders. While pieced borders may require slightly less fabric, consider whether the potential savings are worth it. I recommended cutting your long borders first, utilizing the remaining yardage for the quilt top or back. You’ll never regret cutting full-length borders on the lengthwise grain of the fabric so you can make quilts that you are proud of!
The secret to cutting long borders successfully is folding your fabric. In this video, you’ll find a detailed demo of folding the border fabric, making sure it lays flat and smooth, trimming the selvedge, and cutting perfectly straight borders.
By following these simple tips and cutting your quilt borders on the lengthwise grain of fabric, you’ll be well on your way to creating quilts that stay flat, square, and free from those pesky waves. Say goodbye to border issues and hello to beautifully finished quilts!
Stay tuned for more helpful sewing tips and tricks on “Sewing in Slippers with Sue.” Until next time, happy quilting!