Yesterday on QUILTsocial I used my Brother NQ900 sewing machine to sew together my flying geese blocks and to extend these pieced borders so they would be long enough to fit on my quilt. Today we sew these borders onto the quilt, and I’ll show you how to make the pieced flying geese blocks look like they’re floating on the border.
Step 1 Cut inner and outer border strips.
The first thing I need to do to make my floating border is to cut strips for an inner and outer border using the same fabric I used for the ‘sky’ in my flying geese blocks – my yellow word fabric. Since my small red border, which I attached on Monday, was cut 1½” wide, I’m cutting these strips 2″ wide. I need about 7 strips for this border and another 7 for the last border, so I’m cutting them all now – all 2″ wide using my rotary cutter, quilting ruler and cutting mat.
To get strips long enough to make my borders, I need to sew these 2” strips together end to end. Unless I’m piecing together striped fabric strips, I always join these strips with a mitered (diagonal or 45°) seam. As you can see, for narrow strips like these, I don’t cut or pin, I just layer the fabrics together so they are perpendicular to each other, and then I sew diagonally from one side to the other. For wider strips, I pin the strips together and then draw a diagonal line to follow when I’m sewing.
Then with my Oliso Pro Smart Iron, I press these seams open.
Step 2 Cut borders and sew the borders onto the quilt.
Now we measure the length of the quilt from top to bottom and cut our two side borders to this exact length. Lay the quilt on a flat surface and pin the border to the side of the quilt before sewing. By measuring, cutting and pinning we help the borders to lay flat. Just sewing the extra long border to the quilt and cutting off the excess can lead to borders that are too long and wavy.
After you sew both side borders onto the quilt, press the seams towards the borders. Measure the width of your quilt, cut two borders this exact length, and pin them to the top and bottom of the quilt. Sew and then press the seams towards the borders.
Step 3 Trim the pieced borders and attach them to the quilt.
Now we attach our flying geese borders. Before we sew on the side borders, we need to measure the length of the quilt again and trim the two long flying geese borders to this exact length. Make sure you cut off the end of the border that doesn’t have the flying geese units.
Next, pin these borders to the sides of the quilt and sew them on with a ¼” seam.
Sewing with an accurate ¼” seam ensures the points of your geese don’t get lost in the seam. Press your borders. With a pieced border like this, I like to press the seams away from the pieced border, towards the center of the quilt. This helps to disperse the bulk of the seams where the points meet.
Sew on the second side border and press.
Measure across the width of the quilt and trim the two shorter borders to this exact length. On your flying geese border, measure from the end that has the square of fabric, and cut away the excess fabric from the opposite end.
Pin one of these borders to the top of the quilt, matching up the seam between the square of fabric and the flying geese on this border and the seam that you just sewed to attach the side border. Sew with an accurate ¼” seam and press the seam away from the pieced border.
Repeat this process with the bottom border.
Step 4 Add the final border.
The final step is to sew on the last outer border using the remaining 2″ fabric strips. Measure the length of the quilt from top to bottom and cut two side borders this exact length. Lay the quilt on a flat surface and pin the border to the side of the quilt before sewing. Sew one side and then the other and press the seams toward the border.
Now measure the width of your quilt, cut two borders this exact length, and pin them to the top and bottom of the quilt. Sew and then press the seams toward the borders.
And that’s how you make a border with pieced blocks that appear to ‘float’ on the background. This technique works especially well with Amish-style quilts with a black background – the pieced blocks appear to ‘pop’.
Now that the quilt top is finished, I’m getting ready to make my backing using my Brother NQ900 sewing machine. Tomorrow I’ll show you how to figure out how much fabric you need to back your quilt and what to do if you don’t have enough fabric.