Tuesday, August 21, 2012

No Lettuce Leaf Edges!

Everyone has a favorite method for how to put a quilt together and that's just fine with me. To each her own. But for me there's one step in the process - borders - for which there's a wrong way and a right way. The right way ensures I don't end up with "lettuce leaf" edges along the outside of my quilt.

After seeing a lettuce leaf edged quilt top on a blog post, a "How to Add Borders to a Quilt" tutorial is in order. Making a flat quilt top is all about taking measurements first, then adding borders. 

Here's how I added borders to this Great Granny Along quilt top.

Measure the width through the center. (Note yellow tape measurer at the top of the photo.) If you're uncertain whether your quilt is "square," measure again in two other places - one-third and two-thirds from the quilt center edges. Hopefully those three measurements will be the same. If not, use the average of the three numbers as your measurement.

After learning that my quilt center measured 54-1/2" wide, I used the same tape measurer to measure 54-1/2" on a 3"-wide border strip. I marked the measurement with a straight pin and used scissors to cut it.

I pinned the border to the edged of the quilt center, making sure each border edge aligned with the quilt center edge.

I cut a second 54-1/2"-long strip for the opposite end of the quilt.


If you have a walking foot for your machine, I highly recommend using it to sew borders to the quilt center. 

After pressing the seam allowance toward the border (that's the direction toward which there is less bulk from seams) I again laid out the quilt top to measure the length.

Measure the quilt center length through the center. As before, if you think your quilt center might not be square, also measure in two other places. If the three measurements are not the same, use the average as your measurement.


The length of my quilt measured 73". 


Again, on the border strip, I used a pin to mark the measurement, and scissors to cut it.


I pinned it to the long side of the quilt.


Repeating - measuring, cutting and pinning - the last two borders are shown pinned to the quilt top and ready to be sewn.


After one more pressing, pointing the seam allowances toward the border, the flat quilt top finished at 60" X 78".
Quilt and Hogan, in our back yard
If you're planning to snuggle up in your quilt, or put it across a bed, it may not be important to you how flat your finished quilt is. But if you're sending your quilt top to a longarm quilter for quilting, or you want to hang your quilt on a wall,  flat is very important! Just ask your longarm quilter how important!

I've ordered four yards of on-sale backing fabric from Hawthorne Threads. I haven't been to any quilt shops since moving to Florida two months ago! When my order arrives, pin-basting and quilting will begin. Linda

10 comments:

  1. Anxious to see the backing fabric you picked!

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  2. Anxious to see the backing fabric you picked!

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  3. Hi Linda, that is the way I was taught when I first started to quilt so I am happy to know I have been doing it correctly. Love your Granny Quilt, I just made three blocks ,that I have turned into a table runner but I haven't got around to quilting it yet. Blessings Sandra

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  4. good information for us quilters. I do my quilts that way too.

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  5. Great Granny quilt, Linda! This is also the method I learned to add borders!

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  6. It looks great Linda...
    Great explainaton on how to measure and add borders..that's the way I do my borders too.
    Julia ♥

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  7. Your quilt is so pretty! Worth getting those borders nice and flat. Beautiful!

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  8. Love your quilt, colours look lovely against the nice green grass. Nothing better than a nice flat border.

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  9. Yep! I do it just like that with great results. The only difference is that I use a rotary cutter and straight edge to cut the border ends cuz I can't cut straight with scissors! Your quilt is going to be really pretty, btw.

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  10. I wonder if my quilt prompted you to put this tutorial up. I often have a bit of a salad leave edge. I know that I should measure then cut, but I'm often too lazy. I will do better in the future, promise ;)!

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