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Thread: Cutting border fabric

  1. #1
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    Cutting border fabric

    I cut my border strips the same way I cut block strips but when I sandwich my quilt the borders are wavy in spots. How do I fix this?

    Thank you, Marilee

  2. #2
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    Do you sew them on with the border fabric on top? The feed dogs will feed the bottom fabric every so slightly faster. When that happens you'll get waves.

  3. #3
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    Did you measure your quilt first, or sew the borders on and cut flush with the edge? If you did it the second way, that could be why your borders are wavy.

  4. #4
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    I do trim the border fabric to the quilt edge after I sew it on. I'll try measuring first & the sewing.

    Thanks, Marilee

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    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    Super Member gale's Avatar
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    I always did it that way-sew on a longer piece and trim. Never had a wavy border. Then I read that it's not the right way so I switched. I figure with my luck, the next time I did it the old way I'd have a wavy border.

    Do you sew them on with the border fabric on top? The feed dogs will feed the bottom fabric every so slightly faster. When that happens you'll get waves.
    Are you supposed to keep the border fabric on the bottom?

  7. #7
    Super Member gale's Avatar
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    Also, I don't measure, even now. I just cut the border the width or length of my quilt top in the center.

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    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    measure, cut and pin center, ends and in between. some starch might help the fabric to be more stable too.
    "From hence only infer that an Englishman, of all men, ought not to despise foreigners as such and I think the inference is just, since what they are today, we were yesterday, and tomorrow they will be like us"
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  9. #9
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gale View Post
    I always did it that way-sew on a longer piece and trim. Never had a wavy border. Then I read that it's not the right way so I switched. I figure with my luck, the next time I did it the old way I'd have a wavy border.

    Are you supposed to keep the border fabric on the bottom?
    No, put the border next to the presser foot and the quilt next to the feed dogs.

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    It also helps if you cut the border fabric on the length of the fabric. Cross-wise it stretches some, length-wise it is more stable. I know it uses much more fabric, but it works.

  11. #11
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loosethread View Post
    It also helps if you cut the border fabric on the length of the fabric. Cross-wise it stretches some, length-wise it is more stable. I know it uses much more fabric, but it works.
    I agree ! Until I started using length wise grain my borders always stretched. It really makes a difference.

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    I don't necessarily agree that you should always put the border on top (with the rest of the quilt against the feed dogs) - I think it depends upon what you're sewing the border to. If I'm sewing a border to bias cut edges, the border is what goes on the bottom. Really you want the least-stretchy fabric to be against the feed dogs.

    I do agree that borders cut the long way stretch less. And starch never hurts. ;-)

  13. #13
    Super Member gale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loosethread View Post
    It also helps if you cut the border fabric on the length of the fabric. Cross-wise it stretches some, length-wise it is more stable. I know it uses much more fabric, but it works.
    I've read that too. And I can say with 100% certainty that I have never had enough border fabric to do it that way. Usually my border width is based on how much fabric I have and it's usually a yard or less.

  14. #14
    Senior Member ArlaJo's Avatar
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    I cut my border the length of my side, find the center of the top and border and use glue starting at the middle and glue both ways. Works like a charm!

  15. #15
    Super Member AZ Jane's Avatar
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    Also, make sure you aren't stretching the fabric by the way you hold it. I always try to keep my hands in front of the needle. I seem to get into trouble when I allow my hands to pass, I seem to be pulling instead of guiding! Pay attention next time and make sure you are not doing a "Jane"!! LOL
    Better to do something imperfectly, than nothing perfectly.
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    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sewnoma View Post
    I don't necessarily agree that you should always put the border on top (with the rest of the quilt against the feed dogs) - I think it depends upon what you're sewing the border to. If I'm sewing a border to bias cut edges, the border is what goes on the bottom. Really you want the least-stretchy fabric to be against the feed dogs.

    I do agree that borders cut the long way stretch less. And starch never hurts. ;-)
    Actually you should always sew with bias on the bottom. The feed dogs don't stretch the bias edges. "Bag the bottom" and "bias on the bottom" are two very old sewing sayings.

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    Measure and make sure that your blocks are all the same size. Cut your sashing the same length of the blocks and use pins to match them up. You know that the sash is straight and true so if the block has bias edges or is a little stretchy from the seams, put it on the bottom so the extra can be eased in by the feed dogs. When sewing the long crosswise sashing to the row of blocks, I mark the block and sash measurement all along the crosswise sash and pin at the marks in the seam allowances.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Scraplady's Avatar
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    How wavy is wavy? If it's not too bad it will be taken up by the quilting and will never show in the finished product. Could you post a photo, it might help us help you decide whether it's bad enough that you need to rip it out.

    Laura Nownes has some helpful advice on her blog:

    http://seehowwesew.wordpress.com/201...-wavy-borders/
    www.makeminepatchwork.etsy.com
    "Piecin' a quilt's like livin' a life...The Lord sends us the pieces, but we can cut 'em out and put 'em together pretty much to suit ourselves, and there's a heap more in the cuttin' and the sewin' than there is in the caliker...I've had a heap of comfort all my life making quilts, and now in my old age I wouldn't take a fortune for them." (Eliza Calvert Hall, Aunt Jane of Kentucky)

  19. #19
    Member NannyPat's Avatar
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    border instructions

    Quote Originally Posted by Peckish View Post
    THANK YOU!! Excellent article. I've learned the hard way. Square it. Block if necessary. And follow the instructions!
    The rest falls into place. Thank you again, Peckish!
    Eliminate "can't" from your vocabulary and see what happens.

  20. #20
    Super Member mom-6's Avatar
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    I always put the side with the most seams on top when attaching sashing or borders. Works out well for me. A good steaming will ease any minor ripples that might occur. Same principle as doing a set in sleeve and that's a lot greater concentration of fabric to smooth out than doing sashing or a border.

  21. #21
    Super Member llong0233's Avatar
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    If you have an even-feed attachment it can help with this problem.
    Quilting Makes Me Happy...

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    Quote Originally Posted by gale View Post
    Also, I don't measure, even now. I just cut the border the width or length of my quilt top in the center.
    This is what I do. I think I read about this over at Quiltville. I figure if I measure it, there's a chance that I will cut wrong - been know to do that. I just lay the top out flat and smooth the borders (or sashing) flat down the the center, then I place a thin cutting mat under neath and rotary cut.

  23. #23
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    So glad this question was asked!!! I believe my problem to be in my cutting process. Length of the fabric, what a simple fix. Thanks for all the help even when someone else ask the question.

  24. #24
    Senior Member cindi's Avatar
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    I never cut my borders until the quilt is done. Then I measure the length of the quilt - in two places - and average those measurements. I always put my border on the bottom, quilt on top when I sew. Less chance of stretching that way - at least for me. Seam allowances can vary so much when you sew a quilt together, it's almost crazy to cut a border when you cut out your pieces - it never fits!

  25. #25
    Super Member Shorebird's Avatar
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    Remember to measure from the center of your quilt - not along the edges...........pin the center of each side - and the center of your border strip.............then match ends and ease pieces together...............Good Luck!!

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