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Thread: confused about measuring borders

  1. #26
    Junior Member cad_queen_2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jingle View Post
    I always measure my quilts through the center, up and down and side to side, I find this works really well and I never have to square them up. They are the same size on both sides and the ends. I put 5 pins in both quilt and border strip, when I sew I pinch both edges in between the pins, sew to that point and then sew to the pin. I do this until the border is sewn on. This may take a few extra minutes but, I figure I have so much time in making a quilt that a few more minutes won't hurt. I am my worse critic and try to please myself. I only make quilts for my own entertainment, although I have given many away. I always make sure I'm pleased with my work. Make yours however it works. Others know what they are talking about.
    LOL......I do it the same way. And, I am also MY own worst critic.

  2. #27
    Senior Member DawnFurlong's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndiR View Post
    I have a handout on applying borders on my website that you can print out for reference. It's located on the Tips & Hints page. Once you see how nice and flat your quilt is if you measure borders when applying them, you will be happy to take the few extra minutes it takes to do it.
    Andi
    I was taught to measure the quilt across both ends and the middle - and then to cut the strips to match the measurement (and since my quilts are not perfectly square, usually one measurement is slightly off - so I take the average). So I've always done it that way, it has worked well so far.

    I have a question about your handout. For the first 2 borders it says just to measure across the middle. Why only the middle? And why not just the middle when measuring for the last 2 borders? Always hard on the knees, measuring this on the floor. Would be happy to drop 2 measurements out from the first 2 borders. :-)
    Dawn

  3. #28
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    I, too, am on the side of the fence for measuring then cutting borders. Then I find the center of the side I am working and mark it with a pin. Do the same with the border. If it is a large quilt I will also mark the quarters of the quilt and the border. Match the pins and pin the border to the quilt. More detailed instructions are also available on our website shown below. Hope you have great looking borders whichever method you choose.
    Cheryl Robinson
    http://www.silverneedlestitching.com
    APQS Millenium Longarm with Intelliquilter

  4. #29
    Senior Member leggz48's Avatar
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    I didn't know about measuring the middle when I first started quilting, but at that time my quilts were hand pieced and hand quilted. However, my first exposure to a wavy border was when I added a border to a Drunkard's Path that my grandmother had pieced years before. I could never figure out WHY there was sooo much more fabric in my borders. I didn't "get" the stretch involved in bias pieces. Experience is a great teacher. Since then I measure the center and then ease on the borders. Always works better! Good luck!
    Linda

  5. #30
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RyanAmysMom View Post
    Sounds like a lot of quilt police on here!
    Tell the quilt police to take a hike and do it your own way!
    I was simply answering the OP's question. Yikes. And I actually like hiking!

  6. #31
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    Red face measuring borders

    Quote Originally Posted by feffertim View Post
    Can anyone explain to me why when measuring borders you can't just cut them a couple of inches longer and trim the ends after sewing them on. why do you have to measure from the middle of the quilt and cut the strip exactly as so many people seem to advise ? I figure there must be a good reason I don't know about.
    Hi ! When we cut and iron our fabric we can stretch it some ...so if you measure the bottom and top as well as the center, add those three measurements ....and then divide that by three..and cut those 2 pcs. that size , then it will help to square your quilt up ..After you do top and bottom you measure the sides and again the middle add those three measurements together, divide by three and cut those two pieces ..The more precise you are the better your quilt will look as well as lay..I hope this helps as I had a great lady tell me this years ago and even tho it is more work it is definitely worth it..Ladysuds

  7. #32
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    My LAQ told me how to put the borders on to "square up the quilt" I religiously do it that way (measuring through the middle I cut my borders in strips through the width of my material and piece them using the diagonal seam, which allows a little "ease" as I'm stitching on my borders. I cut the borders to that middle of the quilt measurement, then half and quarter mark my borders, half and quarter mark my quilt then match the half and quarter marks up, pin, pin, pin and sew from the middle out.) It literally squares up the quilt...when you fold the quilt all the corners match, the sides are even and it lays flat when laid out. Almost any LAQ would be happy to explain it or demonstrate it until you understand it.

  8. #33
    Super Member Latrinka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by auntpiggylpn View Post
    Okay, I am going against the majority here. I don't measure my quilt before applying the border. I guesstimate the length and just make my borders strips longer than what I need and I trim the excess off when I am done. I don't cut my borders the length of the yardage but width of the fabric so my borders are always pieced and I am okay with that. I've never had a wavy border doing it this way.
    Same here auntpiggylpn!
    If a woman's work is never done....why start?

  9. #34
    Junior Member aggie's Avatar
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    I don't measure. I just cut the border strips and lay them across the center of the quilt and cut to fit. In other words, I sort of use the border as a tape measure. Works all the time. Saw this on Alex Anderson show when I began quilting. Also, when applying the binding I put a little bit of stress on the binding and that will take care of any stretching of the border fabric.

  10. #35
    Senior Member AndiR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DawnFurlong View Post
    I was taught to measure the quilt across both ends and the middle - and then to cut the strips to match the measurement (and since my quilts are not perfectly square, usually one measurement is slightly off - so I take the average). So I've always done it that way, it has worked well so far.

    I have a question about your handout. For the first 2 borders it says just to measure across the middle. Why only the middle? And why not just the middle when measuring for the last 2 borders? Always hard on the knees, measuring this on the floor. Would be happy to drop 2 measurements out from the first 2 borders. :-)
    Dawn, I used to do the three measurements and take the average. But it was hard to get people to do that much extra work (grin), so now I suggest they just take the center measurement. That is usually truest to size. I thought I recommended the same measurement (center) for both the horizontal and vertical borders, but perhaps I need to make the handout clearer. I'll have to look at it when I get back from the long weekend I'm leaving on this morning

    And the easiest way to do the borders, especially if you don't have a long tape measure, doesn't actually require any measureing. Just take two border strips, lay them across the center of the quilt (from top to bottom for the side borders) with one edge even with the top of the quilt. Cut them off even with the bottom edge. Now you have two border strips that are the same length and the same size as the center of the quilt. Pin the borders to the sides of the quilt at the center and each edge, then work in any fullness, pinning as necessary. Press those borders, then repeat the above steps for the top & bottom borders.

  11. #36
    Power Poster feline fanatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RyanAmysMom View Post
    Sounds like a lot of quilt police on here! I agree that measuring the length of the middle of the quilt and adding borders that exact length is more accurate. But... I've had wavy borders that way because I had to "ease" them to fit.

    I usually cut my borders about 6 inches too long, lay them RST flat on the quilt, and pin every few inches from the middle to the ends, never from top to bottom. At least that way I'm close....

    Tell the quilt police to take a hike and do it your own way!
    No QP the OP asked we answered and if you note my answer included the disclaimer that if you don't use a LAQ and you don't show, do it however you want. It really only matters if you are putting the quilt on a rack to be quilted or you want to be judged at a show.

    But if you DO use a LAQ or LA yourself and don't bother to measure the quilt for your borders and do not ease them in properly your odds of getting puckers, pleats or wrinkles in the quilting are greatly increased. Then we will see the post of someone lamenting how a LAQ "ruined" her quilt by putting a pleat in the border. Or ended up with with pucker somewhere because that excess fabric had absolutely no place to go.

    There are usually reasons for assembling certain blocks, or parts of a quilt a certain way. QP has nothing to do with it. Would you also call someone who advises to strive in any way possible to get an accurate 1/4" seam allowance QP? It is no different.

    On a side note by cutting your borders 6" too big then attaching and cutting off excess, you are totally defeating the purpose of measuring. You may be pinning but you are pinning with the wrong size and cutting off the excess so that is no different then just taking an unmeasured border and attaching it to the quilt. Again, if you are doing your own quilting on a DSM or hand quilting it doesn't matter. Just don't expect a LAQ to work miracles for you.

  12. #37
    Super Member thepolyparrot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RyanAmysMom View Post
    Sounds like a lot of quilt police on here!
    "Quilt police" is an inaccurate and derogatory term to apply to a bunch of people who are trying to answer the original poster in a helpful way. Perhaps you don't understand the term "quilt police," but it has a snide connotation. It's usually directed toward people who are dogmatic about their own methods and throw around the words "always" and "never" in every sentence and with great emphasis.

    I usually cut my borders about 6 inches too long, lay them RST flat on the quilt, and pin every few inches from the middle to the ends, never from top to bottom. At least that way I'm close....
    Sometimes, "close" works just great - I like it myself for some quilts. But, there may come a day when when "close" isn't good enough to suit you any more. Maybe you'll want to take your quilts to a higher level of professionalism or "wow factor." Getting back to perfecting the basic measuring and piecing will be the best place to start.

    Tell the quilt police to take a hike and do it your own way!
    There aren't any quilt police on this thread - and it would be like biting the hand that feeds you to ask for advice and then tell the people who take the time to advise you to take a hike.

  13. #38
    Senior Member DawnFurlong's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndiR View Post
    Dawn, I used to do the three measurements and take the average. But it was hard to get people to do that much extra work (grin), so now I suggest they just take the center measurement. That is usually truest to size. I thought I recommended the same measurement (center) for both the horizontal and vertical borders, but perhaps I need to make the handout clearer. I'll have to look at it when I get back from the long weekend I'm leaving on this morning

    And the easiest way to do the borders, especially if you don't have a long tape measure, doesn't actually require any measureing. Just take two border strips, lay them across the center of the quilt (from top to bottom for the side borders) with one edge even with the top of the quilt. Cut them off even with the bottom edge. Now you have two border strips that are the same length and the same size as the center of the quilt. Pin the borders to the sides of the quilt at the center and each edge, then work in any fullness, pinning as necessary. Press those borders, then repeat the above steps for the top & bottom borders.
    Hi AndiR - hope you have a great long weekend away!!! And actually - your handout was very clear. You do take a middle measurement both ways. One way - just the middle, the other way - both sides and middle. I just wanted to double check if there was a technical reason to understand. But I like the reason that most people don't want to take the extra measurements! I often think of skipping it - but as my borders have come out fine, and as my original understanding was that it helps square up the quilt - I keep with it. But - I think I'll drop doing the 2 extra measurements for the first 2 borders and just take the middle. And I like the tips of finding the middle of the borders to match to the middle of the quilt and start pinning there (I pin to the 2 sides first, then make sure it lies flat - and add a few pins in between the middle and each end).

    Always lots of ideas and tips and explanations - love it!!
    Dawn

  14. #39
    Junior Member redeagle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by feffertim View Post
    Can anyone explain to me why when measuring borders you can't just cut them a couple of inches longer and trim the ends after sewing them on. why do you have to measure from the middle of the quilt and cut the strip exactly as so many people seem to advise ? I figure there must be a good reason I don't know about.
    Try doing it your way one time and I think you will have your answer. LOL At least, that is how I found out the answer. Unfortunately, I tried it more than one time. LOL
    prolific hand quilter

  15. #40
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    I asked if stay stitching your quilt edge would prevent stretching and the answer was that stretching had already occurred at that point. In hopes that I wasn't expressing myself clearly, let me rephrase - When the blocks are all finished and the body of the quilt is finished ready for a border to be attached, will stay stitching the outside edge of the body of the quilt before attaching a border prevent stretching? Or am I to assume that when I have attached all of my blocks I have already created a wonky, stretched quilt? Or just sometimes should I assume that I have screwed up?LOL Assuming my quilt body is squared up and true, will stay stitching prevent stretching?

  16. #41
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by feffertim View Post
    Can anyone explain to me why when measuring borders you can't just cut them a couple of inches longer and trim the ends after sewing them on. why do you have to measure from the middle of the quilt and cut the strip exactly as so many people seem to advise ? I figure there must be a good reason I don't know about.
    I don't do the measure the center thing either. And I don't have wavy borders either. If your quilt is square to start with and measures the same, left, center and right it's really not necessary. I make my borders long enough and pin them on from the center out. I sew with the quilt top on the bottom and the border on the top to prevent the machine slightly easing my borders to the quilt top.

  17. #42
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    I am on the OCD list.

    I measure left, center, and right sides of the quilt.
    Take an average of the three measurements.
    Cut the first borders several inches longer than the length of the center of the top
    Fold the border strip in half - mark the center point - then measure to the ends to the 'exact' length of the center
    Then I divide/fold the 'needed' part of the border into fourths and then eighths
    I also divide the edge of the top into eigths and match up the segments and pin them at those intervals
    I usually end up really close - but occasionally I'll get a bit of creeping on a long stretch - and I'd rather cut off a couple of inches on an end than be 1/4 inch short

    Then I measure the the other direction which will include the attached borders.

    Bottom line: I cut the border strips a bit longer, but mark them 'exactly' before attaching them.

    This is for the butted - not mitered - way of doing borders.

  18. #43
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    You can measure your quilt before staystitching. If the edge measurements are the same as the measurement through the middle, then no edge-stretching has occurred and staystitching will prevent the quilt edge from stretching while you attach the border.

    Stay-stitching will not, however, prevent you from sewing excess border to the edge. If you sew with the border on top and do not use a walking foot, the presser foot will likely stretch the border fabric slightly compared to how the feed dogs move the underneath quilt top layer, resulting in excess border fabric being sewn to the quilt top edge.

    If an edge measurement is larger than the measurement through the middle, then the edge has already been stretched and staystitching will simply prevent the edge from stretching even more; it will not eliminate the existing distortion or prevent additional distortion from the presser foot/feed dog difference.

    Edit: OOPS. I think I got the presser foot/feed dog difference backwards. Must need more coffee........
    Last edited by Prism99; 07-27-2012 at 07:27 AM.

  19. #44
    Super Member Deborahlees's Avatar
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    Great thread information

    This is a great thread with great information. No I don't LA, no I don't show.....however I do want my quilts to be the best that I can do....so I will square up my quilt and measure the borders because now I know and understand why.....

  20. #45
    Senior Member Bren's Avatar
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    I always measure, then measure again! Then I pin very carefully and stitch. If possible I also cut my borders lengthwise rather than across as there is less stretch and no piecing. I have never had a problem with borders.

  21. #46
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    I had learned that if one does not have a walking foot -

    that the bottom layer - against the feed dogs - will feed the fabric a bit faster than the top layer that is against the presser foot.

    So that one can more easily ease in fullness if that's the layer that is against the feed dogs.

    Stretch and Sew classes had a motto - "Sew with a relaxed bottom" - meaning that the top was stretched to fit the layer being eased in -

  22. #47
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    Another reason to have a quilt 'squared up' - it is so much easier to fold a quilt when the opposite sides are the same length.

  23. #48
    Super Member Neesie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bearisgray View Post
    I had learned that if one does not have a walking foot -

    that the bottom layer - against the feed dogs - will feed the fabric a bit faster than the top layer that is against the presser foot.

    So that one can more easily ease in fullness if that's the layer that is against the feed dogs.

    Stretch and Sew classes had a motto - "Sew with a relaxed bottom" - meaning that the top was stretched to fit the layer being eased in -
    This is why it's so important, to have a comfy sewing chair!
    Neesie


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  24. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jingle View Post
    I always measure my quilts through the center, up and down and side to side, I find this works really well and I never have to square them up. They are the same size on both sides and the ends. I put 5 pins in both quilt and border strip, when I sew I pinch both edges in between the pins, sew to that point and then sew to the pin. I do this until the border is sewn on. This may take a few extra minutes but, I figure I have so much time in making a quilt that a few more minutes won't hurt. I am my worse critic and try to please myself. I only make quilts for my own entertainment, although I have given many away. I always make sure I'm pleased with my work. Make yours however it works. Others know what they are talking about.
    This is a really great post. And now I have a dumb question (realizing there are no dumb questions): How do you measure your quilts, as in, what do you use? On the floor with a tape measure? On the floor with acrylic rulers end to end? On the floor with a metal carpenter's ruler? It seems to me tape measures are not all that accurate and I know a metal carpenter's ruler can give a wrong reading, since it has no "give" to lay against the fabric. But I don't know of any other long rulers.

    Anyone?

  25. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by DebbieG View Post
    My LAQ told me how to put the borders on to "square up the quilt" I religiously do it that way (measuring through the middle I cut my borders in strips through the width of my material and piece them using the diagonal seam, which allows a little "ease" as I'm stitching on my borders. I cut the borders to that middle of the quilt measurement, then half and quarter mark my borders, half and quarter mark my quilt then match the half and quarter marks up, pin, pin, pin and sew from the middle out.) It literally squares up the quilt...when you fold the quilt all the corners match, the sides are even and it lays flat when laid out. Almost any LAQ would be happy to explain it or demonstrate it until you understand it.
    This is how I do it, too, because when I first began quilting, I found instructions online that described this method. And I'm nothing if not a rule follower! ;-) BUT, I do not always piece the borders using a diagonal seam. I really prefer the look of a straight seam and that's what I've been doing for my last five or six quilts. I realize there is less "ease" that way but it hasn't seemed to matter so far.

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