Welcome everyone to our official FINAL lesson of the Aiming for Accuracy Quilt-Along (A4AQAL). I will do another blog post next week where I’ll be discussing some finishing ideas for your quilt. This is the last official tutorial.
On October 24th, I’ll put up a blog post where you’ll be able to submit your final photo(s) to be eligible for the grand prizes. You’ll have until October 31st at 6:00 a.m. to enter. Your quilt doesn’t have to be quilted and bound, just the finished quilt top, with all three borders, will be required.
The free tutorials will be removed from this site, the shopping cart system and Craftsy on October 31st early in the morning. Please be sure that you’ve downloaded all necessary files and saved them to your computer. The A4A Booklet will be available on the same date too. If you’ve enjoyed the QAL, I do hope you’ll show your support and purchase the Booklet.
If you’re new here, check out the main QAL page where you’ll find all the information that you need.
Our Volunteer Prize Coordinator, Amy Gay of Butterfly Angels Quilting, will choose winners on Monday and will announce the winners on the prize blog post, in our Facebook Group and send emails. Please be sure to check your spam folder as Amy has been having difficulty reaching some of the winners from previous lessons.
Lesson 17 – Borders and Backing
The quilt top centre has three borders attached to it. A narrow inner border, a pieced checkerboard-style border and a final outer border. Below are the cutting instructions for all three borders. I strongly suggest that you read the entire border lesson before cutting your strips. Remove all selvages from the cut strips before piecing the border strips.
Many border tutorials that you’ll find online or read in various quilting books will suggest that you measure the quilt top in the centre and on both sides, to determine the size of your borders. Generally speaking, I don’t agree. Most patterns will give you the cut size of the borders, or what the borders should be. Use those measurements, as the pattern designer has done the math for you.
As you’ve learned throughout this QAL, fabric is flexible and it can be eased, where needed. There’s no need to measure the quilt in three places. Several years ago, I ruined a quilt top by not following the border cutting instructions and opting to measure my top. Well, guess what? The pieced border didn’t even come close to working. The only time I would suggest to measure the top in the three places is if the math hasn’t been provided in the pattern, such as for my Strippers quilt. I only know the width, not the length of that quilt.
Ok, rant over … let’s move on.
For each border below, I have given you the exact measurements to cut your fabric. However, I strongly recommend that you check out this video from the Fat Quarter Shop on attaching borders.
Mainly, this is how I do mine, except that I don’t piece my border strips on the diagonal nor into a long tube. Nothing wrong with those ideas, I just haven’t tried those options yet. I do extend the border on both sides, by about an inch, then square up once stitched. In my opinion, this little tip makes a huge difference. I just draw the measurement line within the seam allowance, then follow Kimberley’s instructions in the video.
Before you cut the seven (7) 1.5″ strips needed for the inner border, double check if you have any sashing strips leftover. I had enough sashing leftover that I only needed to cut five strips.
Cut one strip in half, then piece together two (2) of two strips at the full width of fabric and with the remaining two strips, attach a half strip to each. You should have two long strips that measure approximately 80″ and two that measure approximately 60″.
The pieced strips will need to be 72.5″ and 50.5″. These are the EXACT measurements. If you’re following the advice given above and in the video, add an extra inch on each side for squaring up, but be sure to use pins or mark in the seam allowance the exact size of the border pieces.
For this quilt, attach the long side borders first, press, then attach the top and bottom borders. Use as many pins as needed.
With the four (4) strips of each the print and contrast fabric, sub-cut the strips into sixty-four (64) 2.5″ squares for each. To do this super-quick, I love using my June Tailor Shape Cut Ruler.
I press and fold my fabric as normal. Then I align my Shape Cut Ruler and cut the four strips. I then rotate my cutting mat, being very careful not to move the strips, and re-cut at 2.5″ square. I took a photo of this, but it’s impossible to see the detail.
The Shape Cut Ruler is one of my highly recommended, time-saving, tools. Here’s a video on how it works:
If you’ve decided to go all scrappy for your print fabrics, there’s an excellent tip from Vanessa of Crafty Gemini presented in this short video:
Create the Checkerboard Strips: For the side borders, piece together eighteen (18) print and nineteen (19) contrast fabrics. Start and end with a contrast fabric square. For the top and bottom borders, piece together fourteen (14) print and thirteen (13) contrast fabrics. Start and end with a print fabric square.
Attach the side borders first, press and then attach the top and bottom borders.
Cut one 2.5″ strip in half, then piece together two (2) of two strips at the full width of fabric and with the remaining two strips, attach a half strip to each. You should have two long strips that measure approximately 80″ and two that measure approximately 60″.
The pieced strips will need to be 78.5″ and 58.5″. These are the EXACT measurements. If you’re following the advice given above and in the video, add an extra inch on each side for squaring up, but be sure to use pins or mark in the seam allowance the exact size of the border pieces.
Attach the long side borders first, press, then attach the top and bottom borders.
You’re done!!! I will share my completed photo, with all three borders, in the next couple of days. For now, here’s a shot of Milo and the inner border.
Below is my 1930′s version. Keep in mind, for this version, I opted to have the prints and white contrast in the checkerboard-style border reversed than the original design where the prints are in the corners.
Completed Quilt Top = 58.5" W x 82.5" H
For the backing of this quilt, I decided to use up as much of the leftover print fabric as I could. I like my backings to be 2″ to 3″ larger all around than the quilt top. Mine finishes at approximately 64″ x 88″.
First, I created the centre strip from leftover pieces. The height of this strip is 10″ cut. I had lots of little pieces left too, so I pieced them together, then cut them at 10″ too.
I also created a label and pieced that into the 10″ strip.
I still had lots of fabric leftover, so I created six strips of prints, cut at 5″ wide by 42″ long. Here’s what I ended up with … a funky, modern-like backing.
The black sections for my backing were cut as follows, going from left to right: Top – 12.5″, 14″, 10.5″, 15.5″ and Bottom – 17.5″, 10.5″, 14.5″, 9.5″.
Piecing the back took me a lot longer than I had planned. Depending on the length of your backing fabric, mine was 42″ long, you may need to make adjustments. I chose to use the 10″ and 5″ cut strip size as those work with the 20″ size of a fat quarter.
You can piece your back as desired. For another backing idea, check out Elizabeth Hartman’s FREE Craftsy class Creative Quilt Backs.
Download Free Tutorial
You can download the tutorial for Lesson 17 for free by clicking the Add to Cart button below (preferred) and following the instructions on the next page, or you can download it from my designer library at Craftsy.
Disclaimer: This quilt design, tutorial and all photos are copyright Michele Foster of Mishka’s Playground. Please respect my copyright and do not copy this tutorial or republish it, for free or for sale, in print or online. You may use this tutorial to create quilts for your own personal use for free or for sale. However, please credit Michele Foster of Mishka’s Playground for the design. No mass production is allowed.