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Thread: piano key border for full size quilt

  1. #1
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    piano key border for full size quilt

    Can someone share with me what is the best way to do a scrappy piano key border using left overs from the scrappy quilt. There are no long strips. Just odds and ends of different size widths and lengths. Thank you so much. You ladies and gents are my go to for info on quilts.
    In my dream world, fabric is free and sewing makes you thin.

    Sharon

  2. #2
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    When I make piano key borders I try to find the shortest strip and cut the others that size. I have also sewn two strips of the same fabric together to make as long as I need. I press the seams open for those. I use different widths separated also. You can use a square of fabric in the corners or miter the corners.
    Another Phyllis
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  3. #3
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    I do what Jingle does. I tried it once on adding machine paper but it came out too narrow for me and I didn't like picking the paper out. Easier without paper.
    Alyce

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    Here is a favorite tutorial.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjNN4RrUk3M

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    Thank you for your suggestions. I have been a bit intimidated by this so am at a standstill. Would like the border to be 5” and wasn’t sure the best way. It now seems doable to me. I’m in my late 70s so want to get some of these projects out of m ufo pile so kids don’t have to deal with them. Lol
    In my dream world, fabric is free and sewing makes you thin.

    Sharon

  6. #6
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    I love to do piano key borders and they are really fun to do with the left over fabrics that are in your quilt blocks. I just see the measurements of the smallest piece of fabric and I either add to it with the same fabrics (just as Jingle has suggested) or I sometimes add a white or black square to the ends and use those strips as one piece of the piano key border. Good luck and I know you will do fine.

  7. #7
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    Another suggestion is to make HST with the left over fabrics. They add a fun interest to the quilt too. Have fun deciding on the design.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Rebecca_S's Avatar
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    For a long set of piano keys, especially if they are scrappy and possibly different widths, I sew them onto a strip of muslin and do foundation piecing. You can cut the muslin border to the exact length you want, then sew down the piano keys. The foundation controls any stretching.

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    I've made several piano key borders and have always used 2 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch for the size. Just like the look of that size, but they can be any size.

  10. #10
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    If I've got different widths, I sew them into groups about 8" long and then square up each group of 8 and then sew them together for the length I need. This keeps them straight enough without needing a foundation to keep them from going way off track.

    I've done some where I've pieced the shorter pieces so I'd have them all the basic length I wanted, then sewed them together and trimmed them up.
    My name is Cathy - and I'm addicted to old sewing machines and their attachments.

  11. #11
    Super Member jmoore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhonda K View Post
    Here is a favorite tutorial.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjNN4RrUk3M
    Thanks Rhonda. Great video to try for my next piano key border.
    attitude is everything...the rest will fall into place.

  12. #12
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    I had lots and lots of strips of different lengths and different widths. I sewed the too-short ones together. I had a pile of pieced strips and a pile of complete strips. I put them all together so that every other one was pieced.
    A few places there is no pieced strip. I make sure that the join is not too close to an edge. If it was close, I cut it in half and found another piece to make it long enough with the seam closer to the middle.
    I sew them all together in a big long row, but I make sure I always start at the same edge. When one edge of the row is straight cut the other edge straight with the ruler and cutter.

  13. #13
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    So many good ideas. I will watch the tutorial. Especially like idea of sewing in 8” lengths and squaring up. Will attempt it after my shoulder blade settles down. Tripped on someone’s bag at a quilt retreat last week and out of commission for awhile. Oh the hazards of our hobby.
    In my dream world, fabric is free and sewing makes you thin.

    Sharon

  14. #14
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    I'm from Wisconsin too.But what is a piano key border? Never heard of it.Could be I know it by another name.

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    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dawn Marie View Post
    I'm from Wisconsin too.But what is a piano key border? Never heard of it.Could be I know it by another name.
    here are some images of piano key borders https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C...w=1042&bih=738
    do you know them by another name?
    Nancy in western NY
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  16. #16
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    I like that real piano key border. Another way to do that might be to sew with a quite long stitch along that yellow line. Whenever a key is needed, put it there upside down, so that the end of the black key is just over the yellow line. Sew along the yellow line catching each key end as you go. When all the keys have been sewn on upside down, flip them up and sew all around them. Then remove that long stitching where it is seen.
    This might be an easier way to turn under that tiny edge of the ribbon.
    Mavita - Square dancer and One Room School Teacher

  17. #17
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    Thanks QuiltnNan great link with lots of options.
    In my dream world, fabric is free and sewing makes you thin.

    Sharon

  18. #18
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grammasharon View Post
    Thanks QuiltnNan great link with lots of options.
    You're welcome, glad to help
    Nancy in western NY
    before you speak T.H.I.N.K.
    T is it True? H is it Helpful? I is it Inspiring? N is it Necessary? K is it Kind?

    Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance.

  19. #19
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    We had a fellow quilter in our Guild who sewed with used dryer sheets. She used them as foundations. I can see a piano key border made out of them with different widths. You could piece the widths to 6 inches and the dryer sheets would keep them from curving. As my piano key borders seem to do.

  20. #20
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    thank you Toverly, what a great idea. Think I will keep the sheets and do trial run. My thought was how do I keep them straight. This might be the best plan. The sheets are very thin after use so I don't think they will add much extra weight in the border. Do you start and end with a bit of fabric that is not on the sheet so that the seams only have the fabric in them?
    In my dream world, fabric is free and sewing makes you thin.

    Sharon

  21. #21
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    Here is a video on making piano keys that seems pretty easy and fast: Creative Grids Piano Key Border. (I can't get the link to copy, sorry.)

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