Sunday, 17 January 2016

la Passacaglia - how I attached my borders

I always knew that I wanted to attach straight borders to my la passacaglia. My thinking was that it frames the design, and makes you feel that you are getting a sneak peek at a bigger overall pattern.   Fortunately I stumbled across the perfect border fabric back in September. My quilt was already 50% complete by then, but the fabric worked with it so well.

The border fabric is Effervescence by Amelia Caruso for Robert Kaufman.  I chose the Caribbean colour way, and I purchased it from The King's Fancy on etsy USA. They stock all the colour ways.




As I was assembling my rosettes I drew a cutoff line on my pattern.  I wanted my quilt to be slightly larger than the one in the pattern to show more complete rosettes.  Mine ended up at 54" x 64" before I added the borders.

I was careful not to sew beyond that line because I didn't waste time attaching stars which were then going to be cut off. As a result my quilt had fairly straight edges.  The sides are harder to align than the top and bottom, but I kept to my plan.

Checking the straight edge with a tape measure

You can see how my sides are reasonably straight

A number of people have asked me to document how I attached my borders, so here is a step by step guide.  Please bear in mind that this is just what worked for me.

1. I wanted a skinny blue strip before my fancy border, so I joined the blue strips together first, and then sewed them to the fancy border. That meant I only had to attach one big border to the quilt. I cut my first border, leaving quite a bit over overhang because I wanted to miter the corners.  There are a variety of methods for mitering corners, but my quilt was quite stretchy so I didn't want to cut the 45 degree angle until I had the borders on.  It would be terrible if the border was too short.



2. I left the very edge row of paper pieces in the quilt while I attached the borders. I pinned the border along the straight edge I had drawn on my pattern. I used a walking foot and sewed right through the paper pieces.  The seam line is 1/4" inside the line on the pattern, but that's fine.

the paper pieces are still in the edge row of pieces

3. I then checked the border, and once I was happy I trimmed back to a 1/4" seam allowance - right through the paper pieces and all.

trimming off the excess with an old rotary cutter

4. I then mitered the corner, which I'm not going to explain here sorry.  I suggest you google it until you find a method you are comfortable with.  I'm not great at explaining and don't want to put anyone wrong.

ready to miter the corners

5. I then removed the paper pieces very carefully.  The edge paper pieces had been sewn through, so they had to come out in two parts, and could not be used again. Tweezers helped to get the tiny bits out.



And here's the final result.



I thought about pattern matching the fabric at the corners, but I've since had it pointed out to me that I couldn't because the pattern is not symmetrical.  That makes me feel relieved, because I don't usually like to take the easy way out. Instead I've just tried to make the corner patterns relatively similar so they look good together.

You've probably noticed that I haven't really ironed my quilt. It would be impossible to iron all those seam allowances beautifully, and a number of people quote Jinny Beyer as once saying "just iron it flat, don't worry about the seam allowances on English paper pieced quilts".  I don't really know whether Jinny said that or not, but it works for me.  Some of those pieces have been wrapped around paper pieces for a year, so they hardly even need ironing, though I will give a quick press before I baste it for quilting.

The stats:
1. my quilt was 54" x 64" before I added the borders.  I made mine slightly larger than the pattern in the book.

2.  I purchased 10 yards of the border fabric to get enough of the fancy border to go around my quilt.  However, please do not rely on my measurements - you must do your own calculations.

3.  I expect it to be approx 72" x 82" once the borders are on.

I hope this helps.  It's hard to explain all this in writing - it would be much easier face to face. I'm off to tackle three more mitered corners now, and then the hand quilting in the months to come.

There's more information about how I made this quilt on the la passacaglia - Millefiori Quilts tab at the top of the page (including links to all my previous posts).



28 comments:

Cathy said...

That looks fabulous! What a perfect border fabric for this quilt! Do you have plans for quilting? I’ve got a ways to go on mine before it’s ready for quilting, and I’m stumped for ideas.

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

it looks fantastic!! thanks for sharing how you did the borders. I believe I read some place also that Jinny says don't worry about pressing perfect - I read that from someplace years ago and I go with it!!

Coffeebean's Dailies said...

This is stunning! Well done!

Heather R said...

A wonderful finish, thank you for sharing, your border fabric is an ideal choice for this quilt, you must be so pleased to have completed a mammoth task, congratulations on a job well done!

Sandi said...

It looks amazing Wendy, so good of you to share your process. Now for the quilting, it will be fun to watch you hand quilt it.

Julie said...

Perfect fabric for that border. Are you going to hand quilt it?

Yvonne @ Quilting Jetgirl said...

It turned out beautifully, Wendy, and that final border fabric is really perfect. I like that you left the selvages on as well - somehow that seems like it might add some nice stability and help keep the quilt as large as possible prior to binding.

Brenda said...

Wendy, I have to say that this is the most beautiful quilt that I have seen in a long time. I admire the patience it takes to finish that quilt in a year -- that seems a low estimate to me. I'm glad that I could provide you just a teensy bit of reassurance about the border mitering. Love this and will follow your blog now and move beyond IG.

robyn van said...

Wendy that border print looks like it was made for your La Passacaglia and you have added it to the quilt perfectly, which I had no doubt. I know everyone has said how different all the quilts look, but I think the same goes for how each one is finished. Does it make you have a big sigh of relief that you have finished the piecing part or do you miss it. Also how are you going to quilt, once again would be interested in your thoughts. Oops forgot to say beautiful job, well done...regards Rob

Lisa V said...

Beautiful, congratulations on a stunning finish.

Frances said...

Wonderful border choice.

margaret said...

spectacular is how to describe this beautiful quilt and yes the fabric works beautifully with the hexies. Best of luck with the quilting

Pam Patches said...

Thanks for sharing your journey Wendy. You have explained your method very well. I will have to save it for when/if I finally get to the end of mine. You must be very proud of the outcome, your quilt is amazing! How do you intend to quilt it?? Hand or machine??
Cheers
Pam

Manuela said...

It looks amazing. The border is so wonderful.

Dasha said...

Love the borders you've chosen. They really set off your quilt.
I have a quilt made of hexagons at the moment, waiting for me to put the borders on. I have been delaying because I wasn't sure how I wanted to do it. Thanks for showing this - I'll probably do the same with mine.

Ericka Stafford said...

It looks wonderful and its so nice to see it complete as it was seeing yours in progress that made me start mine!!

Granny Maud's Girl said...

Yay for 'organic' patterns and guilt-free asymmetry!
You must be chuffed to bits with how this is coming together.

Gretchen said...

Thank you so much for this blog and for sharing your gorgeous quilts and process! I love seeing all that you make and do.

Ruth said...

Perfect choice for your gorgeous quilt top. I really like sewing the inner border to the outer first. Very helpful.

Linda Cates said...

Your quilt is amazing, Wendy! Thank you for sharing your progress and process of attaching the borders. This is SO helpful!!! Beautiful work!!!

Annemieke said...

You passacaglia is very beautiful!!! And your border is made for your top, it must be;)
Groetjes
Annemieke

Tawa said...

This quilt is utterly glorious. It is also one I will never make, so I have enjoyed watching your progress. How are you going to quilt it?

JanineMarie said...

I can't stop looking at this masterpiece. I love the clear colors and fabric patterns. And the border fabric is an amazing complement. Thanks for sharing how you attached it. It's been a wonderful year following your progress.

Helen said...

Great result, Wendy. Love the border fabric, a perfect choice. The Cornes look fine.

Helen said...

Oops, typo alert. The "corners"look fine.

Heide said...

That boarder is amazing! Perfect find for the gorgeous quilt.

Wonky Patchwork said...

Wow, it looks amazing, your main pieced section is just stunning and what a perfect border fabric to have found.

Shamim. Info said...
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