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Seams in quilt borders

by Mary
(Monrie, NY)

Where do you place the seam if you need to piece a border?


The quilt store doesn't have enough material to make the border in one piece.

Reply

I try to put the seam in either the lower left or right corner, most people don't look there first.

If there's ample fabric...

...I use a diagonal seam to connect the strips (binding strips are stitched together the same way). In my opinion, it's harder to spot these diagonal seams once the quilt is quilted.

If there's no fabric to spare...

...then I'll use straight seams, pressing them open to the bulk of the seam allowance. I don't want to create a noticeable ridge on the top of the quilt.

There are other ways to stretch your border fabric.


Cornerstones: Matching Fabric

Another option to disguise the seam allowances is to cut your border strips equal to the length of each side plus 1/2" for seam allowances (shown below). Then cut 'cornerstones' from the same border fabric. The seam allowances would line up with the edges of the center of the quilt.

Blocks are cut from the border fabric for cornerstones

Stitch in the ditch to disguise those seams and quilt a 'corner design' into each of the corner squares. In the side borders, quilt a long design, say a cable or a length of feathers that begins and ends at the seam line. If the seams are noticeable, it will look planned. Our eyes seem to accept 'planned'.


Cornerstones: Contrasting Fabric

A traditional way to add cornerstones is to use a contrasting fabric...

Cornerstones are cut from a contrasting fabric

Again, use a different quilting design for the corner blocks.


Cornerstones: Pieced Blocks

You can also used pieced blocks for the corners. The same block and fabrics are used for both examples below.

A pieced block used as a cornerstone block

In this second version, the fabrics in the pieced corners are reversed.

Another pieced block as a cornerstone

I hope these ideas are helpful to you. Thank you for your question.

Readers, where do you put your seams when you need to hide the joins? Just use the 'comments' link to share your experiences with us. Thanks!

Piecefully,

Julie Baird
Editor

Comments for Seams in quilt borders

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What about seams in top borders?
by: Anonymous

Hello Julie,

You mentioned that you try to place the seams in the lower left/right corners, but what if a seam is in the top border?

My quilt borders need to be joined on all four sides. Should the joins on the sides be in the same place (match)?

Thank you.

From the Editor: In my own quilts, if I'm using a solid fabric border my goal is to prevent the join from being the focus of the border.

I avoid having the seam at dead-center. Period. Definitely have it off-center and closer to the corners. If I'll be doing channel quilting—straight lines outline from the center—I'll sew my seam perpendicular to the border strip so that a line of quilting falls into that ditch.

If I'm doing more quilting, I will probably use a diagonal seam—like we use to join binding strips—because I think the seam line gets lost in the quilting design.

The more 'busy' the fabric design, the easier it is to disguise the seam. However, fabrics with lots of straight lines like geometrics and plaids, I'll probably try to match the pattern. Big florals? Same thing as I think it'll be noticeable where the fabric was joined.

I do what it takes so that when I look at the quilt I'm not seeing the seam first. I was to see my quilting and piecing.

Decide what's important for YOU!!!

For some that means just get the darned thing done. For other it's 'Whew! I just had enough fabric!' For me it's my work shining through. We all have different needs.

If you know what's important to you, then you can ALWAYS trust your own eye.

I hope this helps.

~ Julie B

seams on borders
by: Roberta

I don't worry about seams so much. It helps disguise them if you can match the pattern. Also, pressing the seams open helps. Really, our grandmoms didn't have the luxury of lots of extra fabric and their quilts are still classics.

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