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Piecing a New York Beauty quilt pattern

by Noreen
(Thornhill, Ontario, Canada)

I have made a New York Beauty quilt and a paper-pieced border in a similar vein.

Should I attach the border pieces to the individual squares and then join them all or join the squares and the border rectangles separately and then attach the border to the finished centre?

Is it best to attach the border piece to the block and put the 'rectangles' together or put all the blocks together, all the border pieces together and then attach the border to the large central block?


Personally I like to attached sections of the pieced border to the quilt blocks whenever I can. I have the attention span of a gnat and get bored easily. Pinning on long borders is about as boring as it gets.

Ask another quilter, though, and you'll probably get a completely different answer. And that's OK.

So what do YOU do?

Evalaute how the pieces go together...

Here's how I'd make my decision.

Since I quilt on my home sewing machine, I do the best I can to reduce the bulk at the seam allowances. Extra thickness is no fun to quilt through, or even around for that matter because your quilting foot, whether it's a walking foot or a free motion foot, can get hung up on it. Bulky seams are just beckoning your machine to make skipped stitches or jagged lines of quilting. Quite frankly, the long armers I've talked to don't like stitching through those thick intersections for exactly the same reasons!

If you attach the border pieces to the individual blocks, you'll need to alternate the direction you press the seam allowances when you stitch one row to another. Trying to match seams with the SA all going in the same directions is a pain and creates lumps.

If you've used a New York Beauty pattern a la Karen Stone...I'm assuming that most of the seamlines in the blocks will be towards the center of the quilt...that the blocks themselves don't contribute much to the bulk in the seams between border and center.

If you've used a 'spikey' type paper piecing pattern for the border you know that that section is thick with seam allowances. You wouldn't want to have to press half of them to the border side. You would want all the border seam allowances pressed towards the center of the quilt to minimize the bulk.

Furthermore, the paper piecing (and I love paper piecing--in a middle of a doozey of a project right now! :D ) order dictates the direction the seam allowances are stitched and pressed. There's usually not much you can do to change it.

So if the border pieces have lots of seam allowances where they join the quilt and that would cause you to want to press all the joins towards the center, then I would
assemble the blocks and then assemble the border strips and stitch each to the quilt in one long pass.

Now if the seam allowances where the border sections and blocks are joined together are pretty much evenly split between border and center, then I'd stitch a section of the pieced border to a block. The bulk will be evenly split.

In reality, the pattern design of your New York Beauty will determine which way you attach your borders.

I hope this has helped in at least some small way.

I'd love to see how your quilt turns out! Do consider sharing a picture(s) of your quilt when it's finished! Good luck to you!


Julie Baird

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