Thursday, April 09, 2009

How to Make a Strippy Quilt Border

Fell asleep last night after watching Lost, I guess my week caught up with me and I needed the rest! I was working on a project this week, and since I have seen this question come up before, took pictures of the process so I could share it with you. This is a great border on any quilt, I used it on a queen size strip quilt a couple of years ago, and it's a great way to use up your strips. Or, as in this quilt, you can do it as a planned border and create strips to use.

I wanted to make a 6 inch border, so I started out with 9" strips of fabric because I knew I was not going to do strips that were consistent in width, but was going to use strips that were cut in wedges. I wasn't sure how much extra I was going to need to do angled strips, so I wanted to make sure my strips weren't going to be too short. I could have got by with strips about 7 1/2 to 8 inches, but better safe than sorry!

I cut the strips at random, some wider, some narrower, all slightly angled to make a scrappy look to the border.

I used 6 different fabrics, figuring that this would be plenty to make 4 borders for a generous baby quilt, and I had a few strips left at the end, so it worked out about right. I dug through my muslin scraps to find some strips and cut them to 6 1/2 inches wide and about 3 inches longer than needed. I would recommend cutting your foundations to about 1 inch wider than needed to give you room to trim, plus seam allowances. Press a line at the center of your strip so you know where to start your strips.
I toss all of my strips in a large tin and mix them up.

Draw out a strip, place it right side up over the center line:

Draw a second strip, place it right side down on the first strip, lining up the right hand edges. I place the wider edge of the strip close to the edge of the foundation to get the most width out of each strip.

Sew a 1/4 inch seam, flip the second piece right side up and press the seam. I don't pin for these short seams, but if you are sewing a seam that is longer, you will want to pin to ensure that your sewing line is straight and not curved.

Repeat with a third strip.

Then add a fourth. I just use whatever strip I pull out. If I draw the same strip twice in a row, I throw it back and draw again. (I also throw it back if it was the strip before the one I am sewing too, and if I notice I haven't drawn a certain one in the past 8 or 9 will look and find the missing one. I like random, but you have to have a few rules!)

And so on till you get to the end of your foundation

Turn the foundation around and continue adding strips until you get to the end of the other side.

Trim the top edge of your scrappy strip. I folded mine in half, but you may be more accurate by keeping your strip open, and only trimming one layer.

Turn your strip around, and trim the other edge of your strip so that you have a border strip the width you desire plus 1/2 inch for seam allowances - 6 1/2 inches for my project.

Measure and trim your border strip to the desired length to fit your quilt.

Simply repeat these steps to make more border strips. Unfortunately, my photo of the finished project is missing - hopefully I can add it later, but I'm sure you get the idea! It's fun and easy, and a great way to use up scrap fabric.

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