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# The math for measuring borders is hurting my head..... I don't understand it

09-05-2009, 08:43 AM
#1
Junior Member

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 155

I have read two books on how to determine how much material you will need to make your borders... add this, multiply this... math is my weekness... is there an easier way to determine it? like just measure the length and add your seam allowance to each end? I am confused... Can someone explain it to me like you would to a 5 year old? lol :lol:
09-05-2009, 08:51 AM
#2
Super Member

Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Hopewell, VA (for the moment anyway)
Posts: 1,692

I can only tell you how I do it........I measure the length of the quilt........add just like you said...seam allowances. If you buy fabric that is 45 inches wide at least, then you have plenty for the top and bottom also. Hope that didn't confuse you. Yes I know a lot of people are going to say you don't need that much fabric.......however, if you buy fabric that you will use in something else.....it is not a waste at all. Not to mention.....it's simple. Always sew your sides on first then the top and bottom last.

Hope that helps.
09-05-2009, 09:13 AM
#3
Power Poster

Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Front row
Posts: 14,646

I buy the length I need for the long sides. I don't like piecing borders together so it's worth it to me to buy the extra fabric. Most of my borders are fabrics I'm using in the quilt blocks anyway. I rip my borders that are over 3 inches wide.
09-05-2009, 01:05 PM
#4
Super Member

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Posts: 2,842

Yes I buy yards for my Borders. If it is 68 inches long then I buy 2 1/4 yards. What I usually do is use my border fabric also in my quilt and then I have very little left. I do cut borders first to assure lenghth and use the rest for my piecing. I try not to piece my border if I can avoid it!!!
09-05-2009, 01:17 PM
#5
Power Poster

Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Reno, Nv
Posts: 16,514

Measure across the center the quilt top legthwise and cut it from that measurement not what is showing on the actual sides. Do the same for the width ... through the center of the quilt. If the borders have a direction you must cut the long wise for the long borders and the width for the width of the quilt. Then all of the prints are traveling the proper direction. You see? Fold it in half and pin in the center and the ends then work out from there with your border strips.

It is not a bad idea to do it this way all the time, even if there isn't a direction for the print on the fabric. You see, the long wise has more threads running through it. These are called warp and weft of the fabric. The reason is the strength of the fabric is on the edge of the finished top and will not wave around after the borders are on as easily when you are finished quilting. Use the strength of the fabric to help stablize the edges.

As far as the width goes, I like to use whatever looks the best with my design. Usually it runs five inches finished if I am using a seven inch blocks. But, sometimes just about one third of the block size you were working with in the top looks good.

I don't quilt for shows or have any real instruction, per say. But, I know what I like and I do that. So, what I am trying to say is. I am not a teacher. You might hear something else from someone who really knows the "correct" width to use.
09-05-2009, 02:31 PM
#6
Power Poster

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Western Wisconsin
Posts: 12,930

To save fabric, you typically want to add the long borders first, and then the short borders. This minimizes the yardage you have to purchase to keep each border one piece.

As someone else mentioned, measure through the middle of the quilt to determine how long the longest border should be.

If your long measurement through the middle is 80 inches, you will need to cut your long border strips 80 inches long. As long as the *finished* border *width* is less than 10 inches, that is how much yardage you need to purchase (although I always add about 1/4-yard for wiggle room.) 80 inches + 10 inches for wiggle room = 90 inches of yardage to purchase, or 2.5 yards.

The border *width* is important because you want to fit all 4 widths into 42-inch-wide fabric. If you want a 12-inch border around your quilt and do not want to piece the borders, you have to purchase 5 yards of fabric because 4 times the 12 inches of border width = 48 inches (too wide to fit 42-inch-wide fabric).

Once you have purchased the fabric, cut the two long borders first (to the exact length you measured through the middle of the quilt) and sew them on to your quilt. Press and measure through the middle of the quilt in the other direction to determine how long the short borders need to be. You will be able to cut those short lengths from the remaining fabric.

With this method you do not need to add any seam allowances to the length of any cut. The middle measurements are exact measurements for length. The only seam allowances you need to add are to the *width* of the cut. If you want 9-inch-wide *finished* borders, for example, you need to the cut the strips 9-1/2 inches wide (or, as I do for wiggle room, 10 inches wide as I can always cut off the extra when I start the binding step.)

That is the simplest method I have figured out to determine yardage for a border.
09-09-2009, 05:38 PM
#7
Super Member

Join Date: May 2009
Location: San Francisco Bay area
Posts: 1,419

Lots of good tips here. The most important thing for me is to measure the length of the quilt from the middle as many have said, then buy enough fabric for that length plus a few inches more. You don't want to get home and realize that you're short by a few inches. The other benefit of buying fabric to cut borders lenghtwise is like someone else said, those borders are not going to wave; they will lie flat.
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