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Thread: How do you do borders that match both front and back of your fabric?

  1. #1
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    Question How do you do borders that match both front and back of your fabric?

    Hi, I have a question for the board. I have made my first quilt top and I am ready to make a quilt sandwich. But before I do that I need to measure out what the back fabric should be. This is my problem. On the front or top of my fabric I put a 2 1/2 inch border of yellow fabric on it. And I want to do the same with the back side so it matches up with the front when everything is done. So there is a 2 1/2 inch yellow border on both front and back. But I know from reading about this part that we are suppose to make the back fabric and batting something like 4 inches longer on each side than the front before we start quilting whatever design were going to have on the quilt top. Correct? I guess this is because as you quilt the top it pushes out or something and you don't want to end up short? O.K. so that's fine but is it going to match up my borders? I read that after you quilt the top with whatever design you want you cut off the extra backing and batting before binding. In my case I can't cut off any extra because my border will be there. And if I end up cutting off some then my back border won't match my front border. How does anyone do borders? Do they wait until after you have quilted the top? Which would probably be difficult sewing the border strips on when it's been all sewn together with meandering, or lines, or what ever you choose to put on your quilt top. Is it going to match up nearly perfectly with 4 inches added to the back? So this is where I am right now. Should I just not put a border on the back at all? My back piece doesn't quite fit my front so I have to add something. I was also going to put like a 24 inch block in the middle of the back of other fabric that matches my top fabric to make up for some of that as well. Advise? Thank you

  2. #2
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    Is it a design choice you have made that you want the yellow to border both back and front? Or, is it something you feel you need to do so they match?

    I never worry about "matching" the back with the front, only coordinate. Then your binding will match the front and coordinate with the back. This makes the lining up of top and backing less stressful.

    Grammahunt

  3. #3
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    I would recommend not putting a border on the back at all. Most people don't do a whole lot of design elements on the back, though some have done some really neat backs! Typically, you would use either all the same fabric for the back, you could also buy a wide backing, or I often use leftover large pieces of yardage from the front fabrics. I've also put extra blocks on the back, extra "bonus" blocks made from cut offs from the front, or test blocks. I would not put anything near the edge where you will be trimming later because yes, often the quilt top can shift from the quilting process, and you will trim off the excess batting and backing after the quilting is complete. You can definitely put your 24in block in the middle of the back and that would be fine.

    I've never heard of anyone trying to line up a border on the front and the back - I can't imagine trying! That would be nearly impossible unless you were somehow doing a quilt as you go style, but even then, I suspect it would still be really tricky.

    The extra length all around on the back would be determined by who and how the quilting is being done. If done on a longarm, you'd want to check with your longarm quilter to see what they require (some have different requirements for loading). If you're doing it on your dsm, depending on the size of your quilt, you could get away with less, but it's trickier to make sure you line everything up properly if you short yourself on that extra length. You just have to be more fussy about basting your sandwich and making sure everything is very lined up. The extra length just gives you more of a buffer in case of any misalignment.

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    Hello! and welcome. What I'd do--I haven't constructed a quilt this way but have thought about--is assemble it pillowcase style. You make the front and back precisely the same size and sew the 3 layers together before turning and quilting. You don't attach a binding. (This is just a sketchy outline; detailed info is available here and elsewhere on line.) However, if you want a binding, you can assemble the sandwich of front, identical-size back and batting, and then baste it very densely so nothing can move--then bind and quilt. In any case, you'd have to make the pieced backing the same size as the front so the borders will be as they should--can't see any way around it. But you know what? it's your first quilt; give yourself a break and just use a plain back. :-)

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by nanibi View Post
    But you know what? it's your first quilt; give yourself a break and just use a plain back. :-)
    totally agree with this

    Also, welcome! Congratulations on finishing your first quilt top!!

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    You might try not putting the border on until you've finished quilting the main part if both the back and front are the same size. Leave some extra batting sticking out all around the quilt.

    Working one side of the quilt at a time, just line up the border fabric, front and back (right sides together) so that they your sandwich would be all the raw edges lined up: front border, quilt front, batting, quilt back, and back border. Stitch throught all five layers, then fold the borders back over the batting. Do this for each side of the quilt.

    You'll want to decide how you want to do the corners first. You will have to fuss as you could miter the corner or not. Which order you attach will the border will affect how the corners come out. After the borders are done, trim and add your binding.

    Hopefully, this isn't too confusing.
    Penny

  7. #7
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eascusa View Post
    On the front or top of my fabric I put a 2 1/2 inch border of yellow fabric on it. And I want to do the same with the back side so it matches up with the front when everything is done.
    It's your quilt and you can do whatever you want, but I just wanted to point out that nobody is going to notice or care if the front and back sides don't "match up". It's impossible to look at both sides at the same time, so there really won't be any comparison.

    Quote Originally Posted by eascusa View Post
    I know from reading about this part that we are suppose to make the back fabric and batting something like 4 inches longer on each side than the front before we start quilting. Correct? I guess this is because as you quilt the top it pushes out or something and you don't want to end up short?
    You are "supposed" to make the back and batting 4 inches longer if you are quilting on a longarm, or hiring a longarm quilter. The extra fabric gives the quilt frame something to attach to. I suspect you're quilting on a DSM, so you don't have to worry about this part.

    Quote Originally Posted by eascusa View Post
    How does anyone do borders?
    Well, to be honest, not a lot of people do because it's so difficult to match up. If I were going to attempt it, I'd lay the backing, batting, and top out on the floor, then do the stab-and-match method of lining it up. Take a straight pin, stab it through the seam where the border meets the back, go through the batting and then through the corresponding seam on the front, then pin or baste as usual. However. You may not be able to line everything up exactly, which will likely result in tucks in your top, the backing, and/or folds in the batting. Remember, you're trying to line things up on an x-y-z axis, which is infinitely more difficult than the normal x-y axis.

  8. #8
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    I'll echo what the others have said. it's difficult to line up a backing with the top. If you are determined, I would do as Peckish suggested, using a pin to go thru the layers to match up the top & backing. (Cut the backing border at least 3.5" cut off excess when all done quilting. ) Once you have enough pins in where you think it's matched, secure the sandwich with pins. A lot of pins. Normally you pin at a 4" distance. I would make that 2 or 3 inches. An alternative would be to hand baste it closely. You can use water soluable thread and quilt right over it. The thread will disolve as you wash it.
    It's not a common thing to try and center the backing. If you hold the batting between your thumb and forefinger and rub, you can see that the batt has some movement. As you quilt, the layers can easily shift a bit.
    For a first quilt I would definately go with a plain back.
    "I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to."
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    Welcome from Ontario, Canada. It is very difficult to perfectly line up design elements on the front and back. Even if you start with them lined up when you make your quilt sandwich, the front and back can move as you quilt it. Good luck!

  10. #10
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    I tried years ago and gave up because it didn't look that good. Welcome.
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  11. #11
    Power Poster Onebyone's Avatar
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    I don't see why it's important to have it match up. No one will care but if it is super important to you then sew the border on the backing either by applique or machine then quilt the quilt.
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    Well it sounds like most replies say nix this idea. If it was my stubborn self I would try anyway. Just cut your backing border wider as paperprincess suggested and trim the excess after quilting. You don't want the top and bottom at exactly the same size when you sandwich it. Getting it to match perfectly will drive you crazy

  13. #13
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    If you are determined, then I would cut the back as big as the yellow border you have already added to the front. That allows for some slippage. Make your batting at least an inch or two wider than the front yellow outside border. Pin or spray glue everything really good. You want to keep everything as stationary as possible. Then quilt from the center out stopping before you get on the outside yellow border. Now, add the last yellow border by folding down the front yellow border, pinning the new border on the back, then sew on the original seam line. You will have probably have to unsew at the corners on the front to get the new back strips on there. You'll have to figure that out as you come to it. Do make sure your batting does not get caught up in the new seams. Then, fold both the yellow borders out and press them. Pin or spray baste, then quilt the borders like you want to, trim up the quilt and add the binding. I can't wait to see how you do with this. It's definitely doable, just a bit challenging.

    Edited to add: I would NEVER add that back yellow border and expect them to be the same after quilting. Maybe if you are quilting on a longarm, it might work, but it would drive you nuts trying to keep them even and not get all kinds of extra tucks in the backing material.
    Last edited by Barb in Louisiana; 08-27-2018 at 05:20 PM.
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