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Thread: French Braid Construction Skills

  1. #1
    Super Member weezie's Avatar
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    I've posted photos of my recently completed French Braid quilt. You have paid me some very nice compliments, which I very much appreciate; I like the quilt top also.

    This post has to do with the difficulties I had attaching the 5 completed braid strips to the rather wide separator bands and the inner borders and getting all the colors to line up horizontally . In fact, I was so bummed out, I thought I should be attending quilt making classes.

    I can't and wouldn't attend classes, but am looking for advice from those of you who have made and posted lovely French Braid quilts, such as: have you found a simple way to attach your braids exactly where they need to be, horizontally and vertically? I did learn some things by trial and error, but would welcome any tips whatsoever in case I decide to make any of the others that are in the book I bought.

  2. #2
    Super Member virtualbernie's Avatar
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    Good thread, Weezie, I'll be watching this one. There's a French Braid in my near future.

  3. #3
    Super Member sewcrafty's Avatar
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    Me too!!

  4. #4
    Marjpf's Avatar
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    I just did one and when attaching the braid strips to the separator band, I lined the tips up on my largest cutting mat for a reference point then did lots of double checking and pinning before I actually sewed. Hope this makes sense.

  5. #5
    Super Member jljack's Avatar
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    Hi - When I made mine, I laid the two braids right sides together, matching the seams, then positioned the separator strip by folding the top braid back a couple of inches and pinned the separator to both braids. You have to be careful and it's really time consuming, but much better than getting it way off.

  6. #6
    Super Member katier825's Avatar
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    In your other post, you mention the bali pops being cut wrong. if the strips varied in size, that would throw your alignment off. Seam width variations would also do the same. Did you use a book/pattern? My book mentioned how to align the strips.

    I still think it looks great!

  7. #7
    a regular here hazeljane's Avatar
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    Are you having trouble with them stretching because they are all on the bias once you cut the tips off? I haven't got to that point yet in mine, but have experienced it in the past with angled strips. My solution is starch- lots and lots and lots of starch. Starch the heck out of them before you cut the tips off.

  8. #8
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    I have the book but haven't looked at the instructions. I have made the French Braid using this method. Is it the same as in the book?
    http://www.quiltbug.com/Free/table-topper.htm

  9. #9
    Super Member katier825's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hazeljane
    Are you having trouble with them stretching because they are all on the bias once you cut the tips off? I haven't got to that point yet in mine, but have experienced it in the past with angled strips. My solution is starch- lots and lots and lots of starch. Starch the heck out of them before you cut the tips off.
    The book says to mark a straight line, line up the separator strips, sew, THEN cut off the bias tips. I think it helps a lot.

  10. #10
    a regular here hazeljane's Avatar
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    That makes even more sense. It's really too bad that I almost never think to read instructions before setting out. Doh! I will try that with this one, because it makes so much sense.

    Thanks

  11. #11
    Super Member weezie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by katier825
    In your other post, you mention the bali pops being cut wrong. if the strips varied in size, that would throw your alignment off. Seam width variations would also do the same. Did you use a book/pattern? My book mentioned how to align the strips.

    I still think it looks great!
    They were cut crooked, but that wasn't the problem because I have a little see-through vinyl 6" ruler with which I measured EVERYTHING before and after I sewed, so they were pretty darned accurate. I just had a bummer of a time getting points aligned on the separator bands when it was time to put it all together. I'm seeing some good info. coming in about that, though.

  12. #12
    Super Member katier825's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by weezie
    Quote Originally Posted by katier825
    In your other post, you mention the bali pops being cut wrong. if the strips varied in size, that would throw your alignment off. Seam width variations would also do the same. Did you use a book/pattern? My book mentioned how to align the strips.

    I still think it looks great!
    They were cut crooked, but that wasn't the problem because I have a little see-through vinyl 6" ruler with which I measured EVERYTHING before and after I sewed, so they were pretty darned accurate. I just had a bummer of a time getting points aligned on the separator bands when it was time to put it all together. I'm seeing some good info. coming in about that, though.
    Another thing that may have happened is that it could have stretched on the bias in places. When I did mine, I didn't handle it as gently as I should have and it did seem a little wavy in places. I have a habit of hanging things while working on them. Probably not a good idea with this pattern. It worked out fine though. I think yours looks great. Once you quilt and wash it, it will crinkle up a little any imperfections won't be noticable to others. :)

  13. #13
    Super Member weezie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by katier825
    Another thing that may have happened is that it could have stretched on the bias in places. When I did mine, I didn't handle it as gently as I should have and it did seem a little wavy in places. I have a habit of hanging things while working on them. Probably not a good idea with this pattern. It worked out fine though. I think yours looks great. Once you quilt and wash it, it will crinkle up a little any imperfections won't be noticable to others. :)
    Thanks! Actually, after making adjustments, there's only 1 flaw left that I know of ... a very little pouffy area that does not want to lay flat ... I first noticed when I spread it out on the floor to take its picture. I think it's a minor boo-boo that will quilt out fine.

  14. #14
    Super Member katier825's Avatar
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    Please post a picture once you quilt it! We all love to admire and get inspired by other people's quilts! :)

  15. #15
    Jeri M's Avatar
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    I had someone tell me that quilts with imperfctions make them one of a kind. A quilt will never be perfect. The only thing in life that is perfect is God

  16. #16
    Super Member weezie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by katier825
    Please post a picture once you quilt it! We all love to admire and get inspired by other people's quilts! :)
    I will, but I have a big backlog of unquilted tops. I've recently had to dismantle my Grace frame and store it away, along with my mid-arm machine so my unemployed son could come back home to live.

    You mentioned earlier that your book tells how to align the strips/separator bands. I bet we have copies of the same book. Maybe next time, I'll actually follow the instructions (pp 26 & 27) instead of "winging" it. That'll probably work out better.

  17. #17
    Super Member Barb_MO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by weezie

    Thanks! Actually, after making adjustments, there's only 1 flaw left that I know of ... a very little pouffy area that does not want to lay flat ... I first noticed when I spread it out on the floor to take its picture. I think it's a minor boo-boo that will quilt out fine.
    I have found that when I have a place that is kind of pouffy, if I hold the steam iron over it a few seconds it will flatten out a bit. Also, if you spay starch it lightly, that also works. You don't have to iron it, just spray and pat down.

  18. #18
    Super Member katier825's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by weezie
    Quote Originally Posted by katier825
    Please post a picture once you quilt it! We all love to admire and get inspired by other people's quilts! :)
    I will, but I have a big backlog of unquilted tops. I've recently had to dismantle my Grace frame and store it away, along with my mid-arm machine so my unemployed son could come back home to live.

    You mentioned earlier that your book tells how to align the strips/separator bands. I bet we have copies of the same book. Maybe next time, I'll actually follow the instructions (pp 26 & 27) instead of "winging" it. That'll probably work out better.
    I hear you about the tops. I decided to mainly focus on the tops while it's summer. Too hot to work under the bulk of a quilt in the FL summer. Plus I have to set up/dismantle for meals, so it's inconvenient most times to stop in the middle of quilting. I gave up my sewing room for FIL once MIL died - so the dining table is my sewing room. Almost got the porch...but moved too slowly. I got it cleaned up and hubby moved some excercise equipment out there. :( Maybe I'll just dump his stuff outside! LOL

  19. #19
    Super Member weezie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BellaBoo
    I have the book but haven't looked at the instructions. I have made the French Braid using this method. Is it the same as in the book?
    http://www.quiltbug.com/Free/table-topper.htm
    Basically the same, I think, BellaBoo. The book gives braid trimming instructions "without separator bands", which look the same as the table topper. There are different instructions for "with separator bands" ... you sew the braid strips to the bands and then trim off the "ears".

  20. #20
    Google Goddess craftybear's Avatar
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    wow, cool thread, thanks, we learn from each other

  21. #21
    Super Member Quilter2B's Avatar
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    When I did my braids, I quilted them as I went. When it came time to join them with a sash I attached the sash to on side of the braid, pressed the seam and then laid it right side up on my cutting table. I laid the next braid right side down and lined up the SID. The first one I had to use my seam ripper. The second one went a little easier when I noticed that I couldn't line up color to color but because of the sashing had to line up with the braid above . I don't know if that makes sense but it just takes some patience and a lot of double checking and pinning. I've got the drops on it now and made star corner blocks for the front corners and log cabin blocks for the back corner. Once I get it bound, I'll post some pics.

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