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Thread: Long border strips up or down?

  1. #1
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    Long border strips up or down?

    Should I be sewing long border strips on rows (or to edge of quilt top) with those strips facing up toward the needle or down toward the feed dogs? Edges of pieced blocks where seams meet are giving me headaches trying to keep them from folding the wrong way and getting stitched into bulky lumps. Should I be using a walking foot? What if I donít have a walking foot? Any advice from veteran sewists?

  2. #2
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    Well, I'm a pinner and I press open. If I have the choice between what to put under the needle, it is the side with the most seams and every leading seam is pinned. I pin low, they are never near my needle. I much prefer to have the unseamed side on the bottom even though the usual rule is the bigger piece on the bottom, smaller on the top.

    Again, I pin and have no nesting to guide me.
    Quilters: Advanced tool using humans.

  3. #3
    Member jessicalebo's Avatar
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    Sew them which ever way is easiest for you. If there are a lot of seams I like to put the seams up so I can control which direction the end up. But normally I find it easier to have the smaller border piece on top. Basically it's easier to have both sides facing up... so helpful right?! Do which ever require less frustration and seam ripping. There is no right or wrong.

    I never use my walking foot personally. I find it annoying to change feet, so I don't bother. That said, walking feet attachments aren't super expensive and many people them, so it may be a good option for you. I'm sure others will weigh in on that one.
    Last edited by QuiltnNan; 12-01-2019 at 05:21 PM. Reason: shouting/all caps

  4. #4
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    I stay stitch the quilt edge and the border edge first. Mark each one into quarters and pin, pin, pin. Sometimes I use the walking foot w/ the 1/4 inch foot.

    You can use a dot of elmer's school glue or glue stick to hold those pesky seams in place.

  5. #5
    Super Member EasyPeezy's Avatar
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    If I have a choice I put the smooth side down then I can see the piecing.
    But if I don't have a choice then I use a thin line of Elmer's washable glue
    and set the seam with the iron before sewing. I use a stiletto to push the
    seam as I go if needed. Since I starch my fabric it usually behaves but I
    still check to make sure it's going under the needle the right way.
    You can put a pin ahead of each seam to remind you to stop, remove pin
    and check. Sounds like a pain but you won't have any folded seam that
    way.

  6. #6
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    I sew borders on the top, seams toward machine. I look to make sure seams stay where they should.
    Another Phyllis
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  7. #7
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    I prefer to sew with the border strip on top. I usually hold both layers at a slight angle above the machine surface. The seams are less likely to catch and turn under that way, plus I feel like i have more control and it seems to help both layers feed more consistently.

  8. #8
    Power Poster SusieQOH's Avatar
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    The only way I've ever done it is to have the strips facing the needle.

  9. #9
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    I sew the pieces with the most seams on top where I can watch that the seam allowances go the correct way.....however that is after the pieced part is well pinned to the border. If you just sew your pieced top to a long border strip, it will stretch and you will not fit your border. You can also ease the pieced top towards the needle as you sew with a straight pin to coax it to feed well.

  10. #10
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    I mark borders to match the blocks before I pin them.

    I think I usually put the side with the most pieces facing the feed dogs -

  11. #11
    Senior Member ghquilter53's Avatar
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    Whichever side has the most fabric is face down on the feed dogs. The feed dogs help ease that extra fabric to fit the border or the quilt depending on which part has the extra fabric. Pin that extra fabric side to evenly distribute along the shorter side. Hope this makes sense.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghquilter53 View Post
    Whichever side has the most fabric is face down on the feed dogs. The feed dogs help ease that extra fabric to fit the border or the quilt depending on which part has the extra fabric. Pin that extra fabric side to evenly distribute along the shorter side. Hope this makes sense.
    I really don't agree with this. If that were true, pieces of the exact same length would now end up with the bottom a little shorter. Can you see what I mean?
    If I were really concerned about this, I would pin at every intersection, as some do always. If there are no seams on one piece, I would mark the halves, quarters and eighths and pin them well.
    It is important to have the two side borders the same length and ease in what is needed. Then the top and bottom borders also need to be the same length, too.
    Mavita - Square dancer and One Room School Teacher

  13. #13
    Super Member eparys's Avatar
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    As you can see - Many different quilters and many different opinions here. So, you need to find what works for you - it is all good!! I am like Iceblossom. I am a pinner. Border on top and leading seams pinned. But I always press to the Border/Sashing so if there are seams to be nested - they get pinned as well. I have a Pfaff and it has it's own built in walking foot so I use that all the time. But if I am piecing on one of my machines without the walking foot, I stop every now with the needle down and adjust the bulk as I go.
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  14. #14
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    Good advice. Thanks.

  15. #15
    Junior Member M cubed's Avatar
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    I, too, pin, but I have also found that if I put a small piece of tape along the front edge of my machine (just in front of the feed dogs but not covering them, a ramp) there is less chance of the seam trying to flip.

  16. #16
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    pay attention to the stretch possibilities

    Quote Originally Posted by Tartan View Post
    I sew the pieces with the most seams on top where I can watch that the seam allowances go the correct way.....however that is after the pieced part is well pinned to the border. If you just sew your pieced top to a long border strip, it will stretch and you will not fit your border. You can also ease the pieced top towards the needle as you sew with a straight pin to coax it to feed well.
    I entered a queen size quilt i had made for my daughter in last year's State Fair. I got a third place ribbon for it however one of the judges comments had to do with the border having stretched as i put it on. It was not intended for show when i made it, i didn't think i was good enough to warrant that. Apparently, ,my face when i saw the ribbon was a sight to behold.

  17. #17
    Super Member wildyard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghquilter53 View Post
    Whichever side has the most fabric is face down on the feed dogs. The feed dogs help ease that extra fabric to fit the border or the quilt depending on which part has the extra fabric. Pin that extra fabric side to evenly distribute along the shorter side. Hope this makes sense.
    This is also how I do it!
    Linda Wedge White

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  18. #18
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    So many different schools of thought and reasons why one way or another! Thank you all for the feedback. I ended up putting the long border strip on the bottom and pinning the heck out of it. Worked more quickly and steadily once I actually got sewing. And, no, I didnít sew over any pins. Too risky! 😁

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