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How accurate do I need to be before adding borders?

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    How accurate do I need to be before adding borders?

    My quilt length dimensions (measured in three places on the length and width) are 70 1/8, center 70 1/8, and 70 3/8. The width is 62 1/8, center 61 5/8, and 62 1/8. At what point should I square up my quilt before adding borders? Or should I even square it up? Is there a tolerance? Do the three measurements need to be within an inch, half-inch, quarter-inch? I've read so many different schools of thought, it's getting confusing.

    And I know that it's best to square as you piece. I apply that technique when necessary.

    Thank you!

    #2
    Re: How accurate do I need to be before adding borders?

    So, my question is: Why wouldn't you square up before adding a border?

    Your difference in length is 1/4"; width difference is 1/2" -- that is too much to try to "correct" in the seam allowance of your added border.

    Can you cut your length to 70" and width to 62" without affecting the quilt pattern? If not, then to 70 1/8" and 62 1/8".
    Blessings, DramaMama


    "May your bobbin always be full!"

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      #3
      Re: How accurate do I need to be before adding borders?

      I understand how this can be confusing because there are different thoughts and opinions on it. I think the bottom line is to find what works for you, through trial and error. Years ago I worked at a quilt shop and asked the owner this same question. She said take the average of your 3 measurements (the 2 sides and center) and cut your border the average. If there is a big difference in the measurements this can be a challenge and the border can be shorter than the 1/4" needed at the end. Carefully squaring up your blocks helps a lot with this. Pinning, careful pressing and an accurate 1/4" seam as you are sewing your blocks and the blocks together and then the rows helps a lot too. As the saying goes "How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice." You will eventually develop a feel for this and know when it is right and when it isn't.

      Other quilters have said they simply cut the border to be the length of the side they are adding the border. This can create a wave in the quilt and it won't lay flat. Again it comes down to what works for you. I am a hand quilter and only in the past few years have started machine quilting (children's small quilts). I've heard quilters say that the waives created can be quilted out with heavy quilting on the quilt. I can't tell you from experience how well this works for the quilt. If this quilt is going to be a wall hanging maybe this would work for you? If the quilt is going to be used and snuggled under you may want to opt for less quilting and a softer feel and heavy quilting wouldn't be the direction you want to take?


      Without seeing the quilt I can only guess but are you opposed to finishing this quilt without a border? Or would this be too far off for the look you want for this quilt?

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        #4
        Re: How accurate do I need to be before adding borders?

        Another option that hasn't been mentioned is to cut and attach the border and THEN square up. The eye won't pick up the difference. It really depends on what the quilt will be used for - wall hanging, bed, etc.
        Cindy

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          #5
          Re: How accurate do I need to be before adding borders?

          If there were a like button I would opt for Seaturtle on this. You won't see the difference in the border and, if you are just going to use it as another blanket, throw...it won't even matter If its square. The only time you will notice is if you are folding it. But, if its a show piece...whole nother ball game
          Walk in peace with the Lord by your side.
          Terry

          Comment


            #6
            Re: How accurate do I need to be before adding borders?

            I square just the corners before adding a border. Having learned the hard way, I now always cut my border strips at least 4" longer than the length or width of the quilt top. Some of the border fabric gets taken up when sewing it on, & one may come up short if you cut it exactly. Those trimmed ends can be used in a scrappy quilt.

            Comment


              #7
              Re: How accurate do I need to be before adding borders?

              Originally posted by Cool Breeze Quilter View Post
              I understand how this can be confusing because there are different thoughts and opinions on it. I think the bottom line is to find what works for you, through trial and error. Years ago I worked at a quilt shop and asked the owner this same question. She said take the average of your 3 measurements (the 2 sides and center) and cut your border the average. If there is a big difference in the measurements this can be a challenge and the border can be shorter than the 1/4" needed at the end. Carefully squaring up your blocks helps a lot with this. Pinning, careful pressing and an accurate 1/4" seam as you are sewing your blocks and the blocks together and then the rows helps a lot too. As the saying goes "How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice." You will eventually develop a feel for this and know when it is right and when it isn't.

              Other quilters have said they simply cut the border to be the length of the side they are adding the border. This can create a wave in the quilt and it won't lay flat. Again it comes down to what works for you. I am a hand quilter and only in the past few years have started machine quilting (children's small quilts). I've heard quilters say that the waives created can be quilted out with heavy quilting on the quilt. I can't tell you from experience how well this works for the quilt. If this quilt is going to be a wall hanging maybe this would work for you? If the quilt is going to be used and snuggled under you may want to opt for less quilting and a softer feel and heavy quilting wouldn't be the direction you want to take?


              Without seeing the quilt I can only guess but are you opposed to finishing this quilt without a border? Or would this be too far off for the look you want for this quilt?
              I agree with all this. I always measure at 3 places, then average and cut the borders. You might have to do a little easing but it will be okay. I wouldn't just cut the borders to match the measurements on each side. This creates a quilt that will be wonky. Good luck

              Comment


                #8
                Re: How accurate do I need to be before adding borders?

                Our guild is making a quilt with several people furnishing the blocks...rows of 12" and 10" finished blocks with various 1/4" seam allowances (not all 1/4" seams are alike!) and points that would be cut off with much trimming. We used the Bonnie Hunter method (link) to measure for the borders and it worked great.
                *~* Myrna *~*
                *~* Quilters lead pieceful lives *~*

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                  #9
                  Re: How accurate do I need to be before adding borders?

                  I like the Bonnie Hunter way, she lays the border across the width [or length] and cuts the fabric to the same size as the middle of the quilt then either eases the borders or the quilt to have the cut piece match.
                  She has lots of tips on her website which I think is www.quiltville.com.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Re: How accurate do I need to be before adding borders?

                    Another thing I might add is to pin. I find the center of my border strip and the center of the quilt and match those and pin. Then I pin the ends to match and then make sure the border is distributed evenly between those and pin. I have good luck with borders doing it that way. Also, I just measure the center of the quilt for the measurement as Bonnie Hunter recommends.
                    ***Kathy***

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Re: How accurate do I need to be before adding borders?

                      Now doesn't that make everything as clear as mud? You will never get just one way of doing things from this bunch but that's why I ask. 'Sides, then if the way I choose doesn't work I have someone to blame it on
                      sigpic

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                        #12
                        Re: How accurate do I need to be before adding borders?

                        One tip I remember from Stretch-and-Sew back in the 70s for applying ribbing or elastic: fold your circle in half and mark; match those marks (quarters) and mark again. Do the same for the edge the ribbing will be applied to. Then you stretch the ribbing to match the fabric. This makes the ribbing even all the way around the neck/sleeve/etc.

                        Obviously for quilting you don't stretch your fabric. But I have started marking the center of the border, then bringing the ends to that mark and marking the subsequent fold and repeating with the edge of the quilt. Then match up those marks and pin the border to the quilt, adding pins as necessary. This spreads any fullness out evenly over the entire length of the border.

                        Back up----I use the "lay the border across the center of the quilt to measure" method.
                        The trail is the thing----Louis L'Amour

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Re: How accurate do I need to be before adding borders?

                          Originally posted by seaturtle View Post
                          Another option that hasn't been mentioned is to cut and attach the border and THEN square up. The eye won't pick up the difference. It really depends on what the quilt will be used for - wall hanging, bed, etc.
                          If the like button was here I'd certainly LIKE this comment. This works well is an easy and efficient fix. It's been a while since I've added a border to a quilt (the look of quilts without borders has grown on me quite a bit.) When I added borders to all of my quilts I squared up right before sewing the binding on.

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                            #14
                            Re: How accurate do I need to be before adding borders?

                            I square up my blocks as I go but NEVER square up the finished quilt top. My quilts are all used they are not submitted for competition or anything so I just cut my border to fit the side I am adding it to and when it is all quilted it looks fine. I think it is possible to over think every aspect of the quilt making process and drive yourself crazy! I try to keep in mind that quilting is supposed to be fun so I don't fuss over every little thing.

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                              #15
                              Re: How accurate do I need to be before adding borders?

                              Thank you everyone! All very valuable advice for this rookie.

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