Virtual Quilting Bee – Sashing and Borders

Today as part of the Virtual Quilting Bee we are going to assemble our quilt blocks into a finished quilt top wish sashing and borders, ready for quilting. It is so much fun to be this far along in the process!
For all of the previous tutorials for the blocks, etc in this series you can visit the Virtual Quilting Bee page.
As you know, we’ve done two versions of each of the blocks. This is the Kona Solids version of the blocks. I added white (Kona Snow) corners to all of the solids blocks. See the finished sashing on this version at the end of the post.
But for now here are the directions for sashing and borders for the scrappy prints, Happy Go Lucky, version.
Cutting: 
  • From assorted prints cut 25 squares 2 3/4″ x 2 3/4″ for the cornerstones
  • From sashing fabric cut 40 strips 2 3/4″ x 11 3/4″ (requires 1 yard fabric)
  • From 1st border fabric cut 6 strips 2″ x 42″  (requires 3/8 yard fabric)
  • From 2nd border fabric cut 7 strips 6″ x 42″ (requires 1 1/4 yards fabric)

I knew I wanted to use a tone-on-tone white print for my sashing fabrics (the strips between all the blocks) but I wasn’t sure what color fabrics I wanted to use for the cornerstones (the squares between all the sashing strips.) So I played with some different options when I laid out the quilt.

I was originally going to use the navy prints as my cornerstones, but decided the contrast was a little stronger than I wanted. So I tried some of the lighter prints, but colors that still had contrast with the white sashing. I decided I liked the more subtle cornerstones and went with that for this particular quilt. Neither one is right or wrong- just whatever personal preference you reach. With this quilt, I liked the pop of red in the cornerstones. In that quilt I also used the same fabric for all of the cornerstones. Lots of options. Don’t be afraid to try different looks. I was surprised by what I ended up choosing in the end.

When you’ve got your final fabrics chosen, lay out the entire quilt to balance colors, prints, etc. Sew quilt together first into rows. You will have four rows of sashing strips alternating with the pieced blocks, and fiver rows of cornerstones and sashing strips alternating. Press all seams (1/4″ seam allowances) toward the sashing strips. (Pressing is going to make for a really crisp quilt top and help corners match up much easier.)
Then sew the rows together in order. Match up the seams so that they butt up against each other to keep corners matched up. One thing I really like about the sashing with cornerstones look is that the cornerstones keep the rows lined up straight.
Borders: I’m going to share a really simple method for measuring and adding your borders. It’s important to be careful and measure and trim your borders before you sew them to the sides of your quilt. This will keep your sides “square” and keep them from becoming wavy or stretched out.
First take the strips from your first (inside) border and sew sets of strips together end to end to create two long strips. Now take your strips and carefully lay them down the center of your pieced top, matching up the edges with one edge of the quilt. Carefully use a pin to mark where the bottom edge of the quilt hits the border strip, and trim neatly with a rotary cutter. 
The reason you measure using the center portion of the quilt, and not the outside edges is that the edges of a quilt can tend to wave and bow. The center is the tightest part.

 As a result the newly trimmed border strips could be slightly shorter than the sides of the quilt. (This is not a bad thing because it will help square up the quilt and keep the edges from getting wavy). When you go to pin your border to the sides (and this is a really important part for keeping that quilt square) start by finding the center of the strip and matching it up with the center of the quilt edge. Pin there and then pin at both ends. Then carefully pin the rest of the strip to the edge of the quilt. If the quilt edge is slightly longer, carefully space the pins equally. When you go to sew the seam, place the border strip on top as you send it through the machine. The feed dogs should ease the excess of the quilt edge through the machine without creating puckers.

Sew with 1/4″ seam and then press seams toward the border. Repeat with remaining sides.

Repeat that method again, two opposite sides at a time, with the outside quilt borders. For more information and details on adding borders to a quilt visit the Quilt Borders 101 tutorial.

And here is the finished Kona Solids version. I opted to make my sashing slighly thinner on this one – cutting the sashing strips 2 1/2″ x 11 3/4″ and the cornerstones 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″. I also did not put on a skinny border between the sashing and the 6″ outside border.

I love seeing the contrast between the two quilts. f you are looking for Happy Go Lucky yardage, precuts and some bundles, try these shops: The Little Fabric ShopPoppyseed Fabrics, and Southern Fabrics.

In two weeks we will be talking quilting! See you then!

Adding Borders 101

Originally posted at Make and Takes.

Today we are going to talk about sewing borders onto a quilt.  It’s important to have borders that help keep your quilt square – otherwise your pieced top will be more difficult to ‘quilt’ and it will not lie flat – instead it will have little ripples in the edges of the quilt.
For this project you will need four strips of fabric measuring 3 ½” x 42″ (or the width of the fabric as it comes.)
It’s a good idea to measure the length of the quilt sides before you sew, rather than just starting at one end, sewing on a strip, and cutting-off the excess after. This will help to keep the quilt ‘square.’
This is the easiest and fastest way I’ve found for measuring your border lengths. Before you measure your borders, carefully trim off the selvage edges of the borders themselves. Then lay 2 of the border strips across the middle of your quilt, lining-up one end of the strips with the edge of the quilt. The other strip edges will hang over the side. Place a pin in the border strips where the quilt ends. And then carefully trim with your ruler and rotary cutter where that pin marks.
Then fold the border strip in half, end to end, to find the center. Pin the center of your strip to the center of the edge of your pieced quilt top and pin the ends of the strip to the ends of that quilt side. Then space pins along the strip to secure the strip in place. (It is not bad if your strip is slightly smaller than the pieced part of the quilt, but this is why starting at the center and the ends when pinning is important.)
Pin opposite side of quilt and sew both borders on to the edges of the pieced portion. Press the borders open and flat working from the front side of the quilt.
Repeat the process on the other edges.  Lay the 2 remaining border strips across the center portion of the quilt. Place a pin to mark where to trim, cut off remnant, pin and sew. Press. That’s it!
Now, this project worked out nicely size-wise – we didn’t need longer strips. If you are working on a larger quilt, cut your border strips the same way (just cut more of them) and sew the strips together end to end to create a longer strip of fabric. The process for measuring is the same. Measure, trim, pin, sew, press. Same goes for adding multiple borders to one quilt.
Up next Tuesday in our Quilt Along Series: Batting and Backing fabric