6 key steps for an easy curved border

Yesterday we talked about many different notions that help to make curved piecing easier including the Twisted Square Template, SCHMETZ 90/14 Microtex needles, Gütermann 50wt cotton thread, 5 OLFA Stainless Steel Serrated Edge Scissors, and KLASSE´ Glass Head Pins. Today I’m using all these notions again to create an easy curved border on our lap quilt.

Step 1 – Marking a cutting guide on the template

First, I’ll add a cutting guide to our template. You’ll notice there are three holes in the middle of the Twisted Square Template. These holes can be used for positioning the template on the fabric like I did on Monday when fussy cutting the bear fabric. I’ll use these holes today to make sure the template is square on the cutting mat. First, make sure the edge of the two top holes are lined up with one of the horizontal lines on the cutting mat. Second, make sure the edges of the top and bottom holes are lined up with one of the vertical lines on the cutting mat. Now you know the template is square on the mat.

Use the holes on the Twisted Square Template to line up the template with the cutting mat.

I’ll use some tape (or in my case tiny sticky notes) to mark a vertical line on the template. Just line the tape up with one of the vertical lines on the grid, close to the edge of the template. This is where I’ll line up the template with the straight edge of our brown border fabric.

The cutting guide marked on the curved template.

Step 2 – Line up and cut right and bottom blocks

Next, fold the border fabric in half, selvage to selvage, place it on the cutting mat and square up the edge. Lay the template down on the fabric so the straight edge of the fabric is aligned with the tape mark on the template. Rotary cut through both layers of fabric and cut three curved sides.

Place the cutting guide along the edge of the folded fabric.

Since I had the fabric folded in half, I ended up cutting two mirror images of the block.

Mirror image blocks are cut when the fabric is folded in half and cut.
Alt text: Two brown Twisted Square border blocks.

One block will be used for the right side of the quilt and the other will be used for the bottom of the quilt. Repeat cutting along the edge of the fabric until you have a total of seven right side border blocks and eight bottom border blocks. If you run out of room on the edge of the fabric, just use your rotary cutter and straight ruler to square up the side again, then continue cutting the templates.

The two blocks will match up with the bottom right side of the pieced quilt.

Step 3 – Mark template to cut left and top blocks

Now we need to cut the left side and top blocks. Follow the same process as above, but mark the Twisted Square Template like I have in the next photo.

Placement of the new cutting line on the template.

Square up your border fabric again and use the template to cut 8 top blocks and 7 left side blocks.

The two blocks will match up with the top and left sides of the pieced center.

Here’s how I’m arranging these border blocks with the rows of curved blocks that have already been sewn together.

Arranging the border blocks.

Step 4 – Sew the side blocks to the rows

Let’s sew the side blocks to the rows. Use the same process discussed yesterday to match up the marked point, pin the corners, clip the curves and then sew slowly and carefully. Also, sew the top row of border blocks together using this same process, and then sew together the bottom row of border blocks.

Sew the border blocks to the rows.

Step 5 – Press the curved seams

Now the curved seams need to be pressed. For the rows to sew together nicely, press the seams in alternating rows in a different direction; press all the seams in the top border to the left, then the top row of the center blocks to the right, continuing in this manner to press the seams in all of the rows. Try to press carefully so you don’t cause any creases in the fabric.

The seams in the rows are pressed in opposite directions so that they will match together nicely when they are sewn.

Step 6 – Pin, clip, sew

Match up the seams in each row and pin at each of these points. Clip along the curves and then sew each of the rows together.

Pin two rows together so that the seams match.

As you can see, the curved border looks amazing!! It does take more time to make a border like this, but it looks great on a curved block quilt. If you don’t want to add a curved border, simply trim off the curved sides of the center of the quilt so that all four edges are straight and add straight borders. You’ll finish your project faster, but it won’t look the same.

Sew the rows together and the curved border is now visible.

  • Sew the rows together and the curved border is now visible.
  • The rows of blocks cut with the Twisted Square Template by Sew Easy are sewn together so that the curved border can be seen.
  • The quilt top with the brown curved border is shown pinned to a white design wall.

Don’t worry if the outside edge looks like mine (uneven), we’re trimming those edges tomorrow and then add our borders. Our lap quilt is starting to take shape and I’m really liking it!! I think the Twisted Square Template, Schmetz 90/14 Microtex needles, Gütermann 50wt cotton thread, 5 OLFA Stainless Steel Serrated Edge Scissors, and KLASSE´ Glass Head Pins really made this quilt easy to sew! Tomorrow I’m going to give you some tips for mitered borders – see you then!

This is part 3 of 5 in this series

Go back to part 2: 4 great notions help take the fear out of curved piecing

Go to part 4: The best way to sew a mitered border

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