Day two was all about row assembly and borders. So many borders.
I started with the inner panel sections that were sashed the day before. I quickly decided on the two prints to use for the inner borders. Often I see quilters take a lot of time with options and then just go back to the first choices they had, so I just picked two I felt would look nice and ran with it.
You might remember from the previous post that all panel sections were not quite the same size. However, I am sewing in the inner borders at all the same size so we don’t get a wonky piece at the end and it will be nice and square.
This piece was the worst offender, but take heart – it’s only around 1/4″ off. We can ease that in.
This is one of the few areas I pin. It’s a long section over 25″. I pinned at both ends and creased the middle of both pieces to line them up.
One thing I do is use the sewing machine’s feed dogs to help with this problem. The feed dogs on the bottom help feed the fabric through, and can often go faster than the fabric on top.
I used this to my advantage, placing the longer piece to the bottom and sewing from the top. I help on where the pins where and pinched where needed as I fed the fabric through.
You can see here if I pulled gently, just so the fabric is taut. The excess is taken up as it gets sewn.
After sewing you can see a little bit of ripples or wrinkles. Since the difference is so small (one quarter inch remember, along over two feet of fabric) this is well within range of something that will either quilt out or shrink out when the quilt is washed. If the steam was working on my iron, I could have even steamed this out – which is just shrinking that area.
I did each piece of the sashings here the same way so to help make the piece the right size.
Then it was on to the top and bottom sashings. You can see here I got close to square. The top is the length of fabric it needs to be and under that is the top and with the bottom edge folded under. The difference again is only 1/4″. And again I eased that in.
When those pieces were attached I lined it up on my design wall with the grid lines. You can see it’s a tiny bit off – but that’s okay! This little bit is within acceptable range – it will not be noticeable in the final top after quilting and washing.
After that, I added a second border to the middle section, which brought it up to size to match the blocks.
Since I followed the same sashing adding advice – measure the size first, cut the fabric to lengthand pin and sew – this middle section was near perfectly square without waves. (Photo notwithstanding – it wasn’t smoothed out on the design wall). The lighter blues make the inner panel section appear to float on the background.
And by lunch time I had the block rows and columns completed and added to the middle section.
The top, as the pattern was written, was DONE! That was two more hours, so close to my original time estimate. 4 hours and 45 mins from yesterday plus 2 (slow from a headache) hours today gives me 6:45 – 15 mins off from my 7 hour estimate.
However, she asked if I could make it BIGGER. So I had a lunch break to refresh.
I decided out of the fabrics that were left to use some of the darker ones. For an inner border I used more of the darker blue and for the width, decided to cut it the same width as the patches in the blocks. I had plenty left for that.
To figure out borders, here’s what I did. First, I added up the perimeter of the quilt – length plus width plus length plus width. Then I divided by 40, since that;s how many inches I have to work with per strip. That number gives me how many strips I need to cut.
For the width, I can divide the number of strips by however much fabric I have left, or pick a size I know will fit. In the inner border it fit with about a third of the fabric left over.
On the other border, where I chose the darker green, I have just enough fabric to cut 7 strips at 5.5″ wide.
See how much I had left?
Math is AWESOME.
And here’s the finished and complete quilt top!
I’m glad I decided to add a border or two and not just more blocks. I think it helps calm the quilt and also makes it look more traditional – which is more the customer’s style.
The original pattern was 55′ by 61″, a nice lap quilt size. The two borders I added brought it up to 69.5″ by 76″. You could fit this on a twin, easily, or snuggle under it with a friend.
Adding the borders also added an hour and a half to the time – officially over my estimate, but that was a later addition after I gave my quote.