Monday, February 26, 2018

Tricks, Tips & Common Sense for No Pin Quilt Borders

Black Tie Affair
Bee Blocks 2016

I can't imagine this pretty, little thing was from 2016 already! Alone on a shelf with no finish in her future. I read the note I had stashed with it, the accompanying fabric, and set to pressing out the wrinkles. Each project that comes out has some story behind why it didn't get finished--some problem I encountered that wasn't easily solved. This gal was lacking fabric for the borders, and some finicky seam work. I had searched high and low in stores and online for that fabric, and it had all disappeared. Until...

Tish and Dave from Tish's Adventures in Wonderland, and husband, Dave the Quilt Engineer, found some in their neck of the woods, and blessed me with happy mail! Woohoo for quilty friends!

All the Bee Blocks

I added several blocks to the 9 received from my bee hive to come up with enough for a balanced center. There was some serious fussing to get these all to cooperate as they varied a bit in size overall, but it worked in the end.  

How I Work So Fast: My No-Pin Borders

A friend asked how I was finishing up so many quilts so fast, and I replied most were just down to borders. She said that's exactly what took her so long to do with all the pinning. I replied that I don't pin borders, and mine go on pretty darn quick. Also, my borders are never too short, and they're not wavy either. She was shocked, and I was happy to share. I know this might not be how most of you learned, but it's how I do it because it works so well. 

NOTE: I use Pfaff brand sewing machines with an integrated walking foot for all my piecing and sewing. Teeth on a walking foot feed the top fabric layer through in time with the bottom layer. You may want to experiment with and without a walking foot for your own machine. Many come as an attachment foot, and are equally helpful for straight line quilting.

1. I cut all my borders on the lengthwise grain several inches longer than each side it is intended for. Fabric has some stretch across the width of it, or selvage to selvage. Lengthwise grain has little to no stretch. For instance: 53" for a 50" side.

2. I piece fabric lengths if necessary, and use straight seams to join them. I do not miter in the middle of a border. Corners of borders may be mitered, but most often I do a straight cut off.

3. (Above) I centered the first small border over my quilt so the seam fell in the center of the side, and pinned that point. 

4. I moved to my sewing machine. I smoothed the border out to the end, and placed a pin at the edge of the quilt where I should start to sew. I dropped my presser foot and needle, and removed the pin. I sew at a medium pace, and a full 1/4" seam. I use both hands to keep my fabric taut, but not pulled while guiding the fabric under the foot. 

For Large Quilt Tops: Keep the quilt top supported with an L shaped table to reduce the drag on the quilt while stitching. I have a small movable table I use as needed for extra support.

4. I'm approaching the center of the border with the pin, and there has been no adjustment needed. (This is about a 90" border I'm working on.) If there is, remove the pin, smooth again, and keep sewing smoothly to the end keep fabric slightly taut.

6. Set the seam by pressing with a dry iron. Open and smooth by hand with the seam going toward border. Press open with a dry iron.

7. Trim extra border yardage with a large acrylic ruler. I use my 12.5" square as I can square and trim both sides of the corner without moving my quilt. 

I know it sounds like it shouldn't work, but it does because your border won't stretch. Try it. It's been a huge time saver for me. Let me know what you think.

One Way Design

This border fabric had a directional design. I kept it running the same way clockwise around the quilt. You can see this below.

Floating Center

Instead of having to fuss over fear I'd knock a point off my on-point setting blocks, I made the (white) outside setting triangles slightly larger. I trimmed the edge at 1/2" past the black points before sewing the borders with 1/4" seams. This way the points float. From afar, they look like they touch.

Room to spare.

Yes, it's an odd size. This flimsy is big, and will fit a very old king size bed with giant foot board. I'll show you when it's been quilted and bound.

Come on, Doxie girls.
Let's go sew.

Linking up with~

Esther's WOW
Let's Bee Social
Midweek Makers
Linky Tuesday
To-Do Tuesday
Design Wall Monday
Moving It Forward
Show Off Saturday
UFO Busting #8
BOMs Away
Cooking Up Quilts
Monday Making
Show & Tell Monday


Tish Stemple said...

Long distance quilting friends can broaden your fabric horizons :) I'm so happy to see this one all pieced together. I love me a good black and white quilt! Now to talk you into a small sexy red flange binding 0:)

evaj said...

Thank you for your inspiration this week at the Show and Tell Monday / Bambi

evaj said...

Thank you for your inspiration this week at the Show and Tell Monday / Bambi

Anja @ Anja Quilts said...

This is a great finish. And woo hoo for friends finding fabric.

Rebecca Grace said...

Borders with NO PINS?! That's TERRIFYING! I'd rather drive my car with my eyes closed, or go to church topless on Easter Sunday!!! You go, girl -- but I know my limits. You are Wonder Woman of the Waveless, Pinless Borders, but I -- a mere mortal -- am clinging to my pins!!

Angie in SoCal said...

I have found the vertical doesn't stretch. My problem is usually the piece is too small to do it that way. Nice quilt.

Kate @ Smiles From Kate said...

This is a great post Julie, I'm going to try it for my next border. I do border joins vertically too and borders always have joins unless they are cot size quilts. I love the way your blocks float, something else to try. Yay for quilty friends!

Stitchin At Home said...

I don't like pining a waste of time putting them in and taking them out. I do place a pin at the start and the middle and don't have wavy borders. Cutting the length is good if you have enough fabric...

Barb Neiwert said...

This works and doesn't leave 'waves' primarily because your cut the borders on the lengthwise grain, thus avoiding stretch. Most quilters cut across the grain to save the expense of additional fabric. But that just increases the chance of waves whether they measure and pin a lot. Great suggestion to cut on the lengthwise grain, especially for a large quilt!

Susan said...

Beautiful quilt Julie! And wonderful that our quilty friends came through with more fabric!

KaHolly said...

Kudos to Tish and Dave! Last summer, I tried cutting my borders lengthwise and they did Sew on like a dream. But, I found it difficult to figure out the best way to fold and cut suvppch a long and/or large piece of fabric. Your quilt came out beautiful. I love the setting. A lot!

Lynette said...

what a pretty Black-and-White! Nice flimsy finish

audrey said...

Glad you found your fabric! I guess I knew that cutting on the long grain of fabric required less pinning {or no pinning?} but I'm a steadfast pinner. Probably from scrappy piecing so many borders for years! Will have to test this out some day. It's funny how quickly a quilt project can age while we merrily skip to the next and then the next.:)

Kate said...

Glad you finally found the right fabric, that's too gorgeous of a quilt to leave unfinished. Thanks for sharing your method. I don't usually mind all the pinning, but it does slow down the process of getting those borders on, especially when you are adding several.

Sandy Panagos said...

Hooray for friends finding fabric! This is a very cool quilt. The floating points is a good idea. And there's that sticky note again! lol

Home Sewn By Us said...

Hi Julie,
Your quilt is fabulous and how great that Tish was able to send you the needed fabric. I agree with her comment about the red flange binding. Oh, that would look fab and bring this whole quilt over the top. ~smile~ Roseanne

Bonnie said...

Hum, I'm betting the no pin orders works because you have cut them on the straight of grain. I used to always buy enough fabric to do that with my borders but not so much any more. I'll have to remember it for the future though. Thanks for sharing. The quilt is fabulous! Makes me want to get out my black and white UFO to work on!

BillieBee (billiemick) said...

Lovely quilt.

Connie Kresin Campbell said...

Beautiful quilt and great tips on the borders!

Christine Slaughter said...

Thank you so much for this tip! I can't wait to try it out; what a timesaver it will be. And quilty friends are just the best!!