Adding Borders To A Quilt II


Mitered Borders

Borders on a quilt can also be mitered. A miter is defined as a joint between two pieces of material at an angle of ninety degrees where the line of junction bisects the angle. In a quilt, the fabric borders can be mitered to form a 45-degree angle with an angled seam that extends from the quilt top’s body to the edge of the border. Although it is a little more complicated than adding a straight border, it is worth the extra work.

The process of adding a mitered border starts like adding a straight border. The quilt needs to be measured through bordersthe center, or an average measurement needs to be figured out by taking several measurements and dividing by the number of measurements taken. To this measurement, the width of the border must be added, times two. It’s a wise idea to cut an extra three to six inches in order to have enough fabric to finish the miter. The extra fabric can be cut away after the miter is finished. In a quilt that’s thirty by thirty inches with a border that’s three inches wide, the borders would have to be cut thirty inches plus twice the width, six inches plus a few extra inches to have “insurance fabric”.

Just as with any other border, press the middle and quarter marks on the border and the quilt top itself and pin the borders to two adjacent sides of the quilt, matching the half and quarter mark points. Pin as much as necessary to avoid rippling and to ease any fullness if there is any. When stitching the border to the top, start and stop sewing bordersone-quarter inch from the edge of the quilt body. Backstitch at both the beginning and the end of the seam. Repeat for the other two sides of the quilt. When all four borders are sewn, fold the quilt top on the diagonal with right sides together, matching the border strips. Using a ruler with a forty five-angle line and a pencil, lightly mark the sewing line, starting where the backstitch ends, lining the angle line on the ruler with the outside edge of the borders. Extend the line all the way to the raw edge of the borders. Pin carefully and stitch from the backstitches all the way to the end. Backstitch at the end of the seam. Make sure there is no gap at the point where the forty-five degree angle seam meets the quilt top. Unfold the quilt, remove the pins and trim the extra border fabric to one-quarter inch from the pencil line where you sewed the miter. Press the seam. Repeat the same procedure for all four corners of the quilt. Make sure that the border miters lay flat before trimming any excess fabric. The mitered seam can be pressed open to make the border look nice and flat.

Scalloped Borders

A more fancy edging for a quilt, scalloped borders are not too difficult to do, but they require marking and careful borderssewing and even more careful binding. To make a scalloped edge, you must measure the border’s length and width minus the measurement of the four corners. The four corners are figured by extending an imaginary line from the edge of the quilt top to the edge of the border of the quilt (it will be equal to the width of the border or borders used on the quilt). Scallops are easier to work with if they are not deep, so you will have to figure out how many scallops per side you want. The easiest way to mark them is to make them equal in width to the size of the blocks you used on the quilt top.

It’s best to wait until the quilt is completely quilted before marking and cutting the scalloped edges. Quilt your top and borders, then run a line of hand stitched basting stitches all around the edge of the border that will keep the quilt top, the batting and the backing securely together.
With a disappearing marker or washable marker, mark lines extending from the edges of the quilt blocks all the way to the raw edge of the quilt border. The measurement between two of these lines will be the width of each scallop. To mark the curved portion of the scallop, you can either make a template with a compass, or use a curved object (like a dinner plate or the edge of a CD). Always start marking the scallops at the center of the quilt, working your way out to the outside edges.
The corners will require special treatment. First, one must decide whether to finish the corners a pointed corner or a rounded corner. Rounded corners are easier to bind, so they are a good option. Mark a full scallop from the last scallop of the side of the quilt towards the corner, and adjust in the center. For a pointed corner, mark only half a scallop.
Scallop templates are available for purchase and they make it easier to measure and mark scallops, They are available in two sizes, for large and small scallops.

Bind the quilt with continuous bias binding before cutting the excess border fabric to make the scallops. This is crucial to keep the border from stretching. Once the binding is sewn in place, the extra fabric, batting and backing can carefully be cut following the line of the scallops.

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