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Thread: Need some border help please

  1. #1
    Senior Member QuiltMania's Avatar
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    No matter what I do, I can't get the @#%** borders to lay flat. They always have a bubble somewhere. I'd appreciate it if you folks would look over my process and tell me where I am going wrong. Here's what I've been doing for borders.

    1. Press quilt with dry iron.
    2. Measure quilt through middle (vertically and horizontally)
    3. Add 2x width of that measurement and cut border strips to that length
    4. Attach top and bottom borders
    5. Attach side borders

  2. #2
    Super Member Ditter43's Avatar
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    One thing I have noticed is the difference cutting with the grain makes. I cut across the width of the fabric for the top and botton, and with the grain for the side pieces. The other thing is spray starch....use a lot of it on your fabric before you cut the borders.....especially the ones cut for the top and bottom. Then be careful not to stretch the fabric as you sew.....Good luck!! :-D

  3. #3

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    I always heard to put the sides on first, then the top and bottom.

  4. #4
    Lady Tapioca's Avatar
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    I don't understand what you are doing in step #3?
    I also add the side borders then the top and bottom.

  5. #5
    Super Member cwessel47's Avatar
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    I mark the centers and the quarters, the eighths,sixteenths. if I need to, on both the borders and the center of the quilt. Mark everything to death! That way if there is any easing to do it will be done evenly. If it still doesn't lay flat - god bless you. and measure again....

  6. #6
    Power Poster Mousie's Avatar
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    I have had this problem and for me, it's the quilt not being square.
    It's an ongoing learning thing for me.
    I measure, measure, measure...and I use carpenter square tools...the big ones! :shock: :)

  7. #7
    Super Member Pamela Artman's Avatar
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    Here's how I do mine. I fold the quilt in half and lay the border right on top across the middle of the half (so it would be measured at the 1/4 and 3/4 of the top) and then cut the border as it lays on the quilt top. Saves measuring that way. Then I pin the side borders on starting with the middle, then the ends, then in between. Then sew. Then I press the border and lay it out again folded the other way and cut the top and bottom borders the same way. The borders always seem to lay flat.

  8. #8
    Super Member Bluelady's Avatar
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    I measure down the middle of the quilt top lengthwise. That will be the length of the side borders. Cut the borders. Find and mark the halfway point, use a pin or mark with a washable pencil. Fold and find the middle points on the sides of the quilt top, mark with a pin or pencil. Match the middle of the borders to the middle marks of the quilt top. Pin the middles together. Then pin the entire border on, starting at the ends, so that there is no material overhanging, the ends and middle match up perfectly. By putting one pin in the middle and starting the rest of the pinning at the ends, you can account for any slack and avoid the "waves".
    Once the sides are on, I press the border out and then repeat the process, measuring across the middle of the quilt top width-wise, to give me the length for the top and bottom borders.
    Hope this makes sense!

  9. #9
    Super Member BKrenning's Avatar
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    I have heard some folks that take 3 measurements each--top to bottom and across--then use the average of the 3 measurements.

    I agree that starch, starch, starch will help and cutting with the grain (parallel to the selvage) will also help smooth the waves. Marking & pinning the center and ends then easing in the borders might help also.

  10. #10
    Super Member Lakeview Quilting's Avatar
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    I mark the centers and the quarters, the eighths,sixteenths. if I need to, on both the borders and the center of the quilt. Mark everything to death! That way if there is any easing to do it will be done evenly.

    This is the same process I follow. Pinning at centers, quarters, eighths and sixteenths and pinning border and top to match at the pins. Sew, removing pins along the way. Perfect every time.

  11. #11
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    Ya know, I never measure and I never have wavy borders. I don't put my quilts together in rows though so they come out squarer to start with. Then when I sew the border on I always sew with the quilt on the bottom. I also fold my border in half and pin from the center to each end.

  12. #12
    Power Poster Sadiemae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lady Tapioca
    I don't understand what you are doing in step #3?
    I also add the side borders then the top and bottom.
    I don't understand this also...

  13. #13
    a regular here MegsAnn's Avatar
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    Pin, pin, pin like CRAZY! That helps me.

  14. #14
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    when you measure through the center of the quilt, top to bottom you should cut your border strip this measurement...unless you are mitering your corners?
    attach the side borders with the border fabric on the bottom and the quilt on top. then measure across the quilt top from side to side through the center and cut your top and bottom borders to this measurement. add them to the top and bottom again with the border strips on the bottom and the quilt on top. pinning is a personal thing, some people do, some don't.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by cwessel47
    I mark the centers and the quarters, the eighths,sixteenths. if I need to, on both the borders and the center of the quilt. Mark everything to death! That way if there is any easing to do it will be done evenly. If it still doesn't lay flat - god bless you. and measure again....
    I highly agree, this is how I do it as well, and never have wavy borders. The time spent marking and pinning is well worth it, give it a try!

  16. #16
    Super Member katier825's Avatar
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    I lay my quilt out, lay the border fabric on top of the quilt in the middle lengthwise, cut it to fit. Same thing the other way. I usually do the sides first, then top and bottom. I do not use a measuring tape and I do not average - I just use the center measurement. I fold the border into 1/4ths and press a small crease near the edge. I match up with same on the quilt and then pin in between. I was reading on Quiltville that the fabric or measuring tape can stretch. If you smoothe out the quilt, and also smooth the border fabric well, it lays nice and flat for cutting. I never have a problem with wavy borders now.

  17. #17
    Super Member donnajean's Avatar
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    I don't see in your steps that you are checking to make sure quilt is squared up. I use the 12" square ruller to check corners & 24" ruler for sides. Does your quilt top lay flat before adding the borders?


    Quote Originally Posted by QuiltMania
    No matter what I do, I can't get the @#%** borders to lay flat. They always have a bubble somewhere. I'd appreciate it if you folks would look over my process and tell me where I am going wrong. Here's what I've been doing for borders.

    1. Press quilt with dry iron.
    2. Measure quilt through middle (vertically and horizontally)
    3. Add 2x width of that measurement and cut border strips to that length
    4. Attach top and bottom borders
    5. Attach side borders

  18. #18
    Senior Member pinebeltquilter's Avatar
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    It sounds like you are going the extra mile, however, I sew the sides on first, then the top and borrom. I use lots of pins, so that I never have a surpise at the end of my sewing. Hope you get lots of help from this post. :idea:

  19. #19
    Senior Member pinebeltquilter's Avatar
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    It sounds like you are going the extra mile, however, I sew the sides on first, then the top and bottom. I use lots of pins, so that I never have a surpise at the end of my sewing. Hope you get lots of help from this post. :idea:

  20. #20
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    Everyone always says "starch, starch, starch. I need more information. Heavy starch to me is like cuffs or collars in a man's white dress shirt. Can we start from there? I always purchase the "heavy" starch. The fabric is wet with starch, let it sit for a few minutes, then press. Everyone has a difference idea on best products to use. Any info would be appreciated. Am going to starch, starch, starch, this morning.
    Hope everyone has a great day!

  21. #21
    Senior Member calicocat's Avatar
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    I have had the problem and what I found was my boarders were not square at the corners. Check to make sure they are square. I have started doing this every time and I have had not ruffling since then.

  22. #22

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    I do longarming and teach soldier quilt volunteers. This is the way I teach it, and the method that works best for me. It always produces perfect borders.

    Measure lengthwise center, and both sides of quilt. Add together, then divide by 3, to get average border length (this is important). Cut each side border this length. Lay border on top of quilt, smooth gently, and see which piece is larger, quilt or border? Then pin border on quilt, ends first, then center, then remaining. Now to sew, put larger piece on the bottom of machine, by the feed-dogs. (They will ease in the excess fabric very nicely.) Then sew, making sure you don't pull or stretch anything...let the machine do the work. Repeat for top and bottom borders, including the side borders when you measure.

    If mitering the corners, use the measurements as the inside border measurements.

    Hope this helps :)

  23. #23
    Super Member quiltmom04's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by donnajean
    I don't see in your steps that you are checking to make sure quilt is squared up. I use the 12" square ruller to check corners & 24" ruler for sides. Does your quilt top lay flat before adding the borders?


    Quote Originally Posted by QuiltMania
    No matter what I do, I can't get the @#%** borders to lay flat. They always have a bubble somewhere. I'd appreciate it if you folks would look over my process and tell me where I am going wrong. Here's what I've been doing for borders.

    1. Press quilt with dry iron.
    2. Measure quilt through middle (vertically and horizontally)
    3. Add 2x width of that measurement and cut border strips to that length
    4. Attach top and bottom borders
    5. Attach side borders
    I agree. If your quilt doesn't lay flat before adding borders, it won't lay flat afterward no matter what measurement you take. So you need to figure out why, and fix it before you move on! I always lay the quilt flat, pin border on, leaving an inch or two at the top and bottom. Sew the border on, and then press the seam toward the border.Trim the border even with the top and bottom of the quilt, using the rotary ruler and cutter to be sure you are trimming it square. This works for me. I find that when your border measures less than the edge (if the center measures less than the edge) you will have one of two results - the edge looks 'gathered' into the border or the border is going to be stretched, and the result looks wavy.

  24. #24
    Senior Member sewjean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scissor Queen
    Ya know, I never measure and I never have wavy borders. I don't put my quilts together in rows though so they come out squarer to start with. Then when I sew the border on I always sew with the quilt on the bottom. I also fold my border in half and pin from the center to each end.
    If not put together in rows, how is the quilt put together.

  25. #25
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sewjean
    Quote Originally Posted by Scissor Queen
    Ya know, I never measure and I never have wavy borders. I don't put my quilts together in rows though so they come out squarer to start with. Then when I sew the border on I always sew with the quilt on the bottom. I also fold my border in half and pin from the center to each end.
    If not put together in rows, how is the quilt put together.
    Put the blocks together in pairs. Then put the pairs together into giant four patches. Then put the giant four patches together into pairs continuing until you have the quilt in four quarters. Sew the top and bottom quarters together and then the top and bottom halves together. You end up with only one long seam. Since you're putting the blocks into four patches you can make the block intersections match perfectly. That's where perfect matches matters the most. By the time you get to the end of a long seam any imperfections are multiplied. Plus when you add a whole row at a time if it's just a hair off that will be mulitiplied by the time you get to the last row and your quilt will tend towards trapazoid instead of square.

    The biggest plus of all is you only have the whole quilt on the machine once.

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