This past week, I had the privilege of quilting a beautiful quilt for a new quilter. Although there were a few issues with the quilt top, I have to say I had a most pleasant experience. This lady was so eager to learn the right way to do things, she was a delight to quilt for. Don’t you love the colors she chose? Her points look at lot better than mine did when I first started quilting.
The blue and gold print is paired with solid black in half square triangles. She had several prints pieced to make the HSTs. This one was the backing. Stunning, the gold has a metallic and shiny quality that is hard to photograph. It is gorgeous.
I already gave the completed quilt back, and talked to her about the borders, so I hope she won’t mind helping others learn too. I knew as soon as I loaded it that the borders had extra fabric.
She actually had two black borders on it, as she decided to make the top a bit bigger after the first border was done.
One of the ways I can tell that the borders are too long is something you can do at home. Lay the quilt out on a horizontal surface like a table or a bed, with the border on the surface and the rest of the quilt hanging below. Make sure the top border is even across the top. Then, fold the bottom up to the top and place the border seam lines together, making sure the quilt is straight across the top. Now, step back and look at the fold on the bottom. If the borders are too long, the middle of the pieced section will bow upward like this photo. The batting is black which gives us a clear view of the fold. So, you can try this at home, and fix your borders if needed before taking the quilt to the longarmer. Properly applied borders will create a fold with a straight line across the bottom from edge to edge, like the one in the French Cottage Quilt post HERE. Please do take a look at the link, that quilt was amazing from more than one aspect.
Anyway, out came the iron to try to steam some of the fullness out. This turned out to be a bit more difficult than expected, and I believe that the outer border was not 100% cotton. I think it may have had some polyester as it didn’t behave with steaming in the same way as quilting cotton does, and it was thicker than the other fabrics.
There were a few stray threads to clip too.
In some areas the steam helped a bit, but you can still see some puckering on the lower right and the upper left of the picture below. As hard as I try to ease in the fullness, there are inevitably some wrinkles that turn into puckers.
The middle, beautifully pieced, quilted nicely. She chose this trefoil design in black thread. The pantograph is called Wrought Iron by Willow Leaf Designs. I used Essentials thread in the top, and Aurifil in the bobbin with Quilter’s Dream black batting.
Then I got to the bottom. There was no other way to deal with this much fabric, I had to put in a pleat.
Folding the excess fabric under, I pinned the edge and created essentially a dart to the pieced section.
I put a row of stitching right at the fold. You can see that there is still excess fabric at the joining seam between the pieced section and the inner border, but I couldn’t take any more into the pleat without distorting the HSTs.
Then I quilted over the pleat. That pucker at the top of the border seam to the right of the pleat couldn’t be helped. I did try to spread the excess away from the pleat, but it isn’t easy to do when doing a pantograph from the back of the machine. A few pins were used to help hold the bottom away from the pleat and it is better than it would have been.
Here is the finished quilting on the middle section.
Beautiful quilt, and I hope I get to do more of her quilts.
She seemed to be very pleased with it. And certainly those puckers will not show after the quilt is washed. One thing I am sure of, this lady will be a world class quilter in a very short time.
Need a refresher on the right way to do borders? See my tutorial on Borders – Understanding the Why, a tutorial explaining the difference between doing it right and doing it wrong. If you take quilts to have longarm quilting done, see my tutorial on Preparing for Longarm Quilting, with downloadable pdf.
What are you working on now?