>I find cutting a large pieced section a bit of a nerve racking experience, but I’ve braved it today and it worked, so I thought I’d share with you how to make trimming and borders more successful. As I learned a when I made a large log cabin block a few years ago, the key thing is to trim the panel to be square regularly, because if you leave the trimming to the end, the compound error is large and it’s hard to make it look nice and square. For LRT, I also have the challenge of the squares not really being square (refer to LRT4 post).
To get the panel so it both looks square and is square, I first folded the panel in half vertically and pinned the first and last seams together so the strips would align, and then aligned that fold with the grid on my cutting board, and cut through the layers so the left and right sides of the panel were parallel. I then folded the panel in half again, aligning the top and bottom edges of the earlier fold, as well as the cut edges on the cutting grid, and trimmed the remaining layers so both the corners were square, and the top and bottom edges parallel.
So next was to add the top and bottom strips to create a leafy border all the way around the pieced strips…I’d made the 6 1/2’’ strips of leafy fabric last weekend, so before cutting these to size I had a helper help me measure the vertical height, the horizontal width, and the diagonals of the panel in a few places to confirm it was square, trimmed the top and bottom strips to the same size the selected size of the horizontal strips and sewed them on to the panel. Note, whenever you add a border to a block or panel, measure it as I’ve described above and cut the border strips to the average size of the length or width of the panel. This allows you to fudge it by slightly stretching or condensing the panel to match the strip size. This may sound like a strange thing to do, but this way you make the panel a consistent size and shape rather than adding more layers of errors to sort out when you get to squaring up the completed quilt top.
To do that fudging when adding strips to a square or rectangle, pin both corners of the strip to the panel it’s joined to (as shown in the photo). Do this at both ends of the strip (plus a few pins in between if it’s a long seam) and then loosen or tighten the pieced panel to fit the strip as you sew the seam to make the length match the strip. Presuming both pieces were cut square, this gives you a near-perfect corner when you open the seam out. Then you can just check how square and straight the corners and edges are, trim a little if necessary and carry on with the next section of your quilt. What you end up with might be something like my panel with the border added shown here.
Another fudging tip while I think of it…WARNING!: if you’re a card carrying member of the quilting police then skip on to the next paragraph as this fix may cause you mental harm, otherwise read on…one piece in a joined set that’s very close to the sewing line of seam can be a problem, in a finished quilt it may become exposed with washing, wear and tear etc. Most of my quilts so far has had one of these pesky sections so the best ways I’ve found to deal with it are to: 1) shorten the section so that it’s not an issue, or 2) if the first option will spoil the effect, then sew the seam close to the edge, but then secure that section with a couple more rows of stitching as shown in the photos below. This makes it more difficult for the edges to escape and should stop any fuzziness appearing on the outside of the quilt.
I’ve also done some experimenting for the next border on ‘Life’s Rich Tapestry” this afternoon – I’ll write another post about that shortly ‘cause it was lots of fun.