March Block of the Month

I hope you all got your February blocks done! I was working on mine until 10 p.m. last night. I finished just in time.

This month is much easier. We’re putting together the center medallion with some tips and tricks on how to get those points to match up just so. But the main part of the lesson is how to properly measure your border width.

That means your “block” is technically a 12 1/2-inch square of fabric, consider it my gift to you after a difficult month filled with teeny tiny half square triangles. But hear me out before you feel cheated that there isn’t actually a “block” this month and say you’ll just sew the border on, press it open and slice off whatever is leftover at the end.

I too used to attach my borders by sewing an extra long piece of fabric to the edge of the my quilt, press it open and slice off the extra. I’ve also followed the pattern instructions and cut borders exactly to fit the length the pattern called for.

But the truth is no matter how accurate your cutting and quarter-inch seam is, your quilt will rarely be mathematically perfect. When you watch the video you’ll see that mine isn’t. Everything from your thread and fabric choice to your pressing technique can affect the finished width of your quilt. That’s why learning to measure the quilt and create your border to fit your quilt instead of the pattern instructions is so important.

Next month we’ll start working on the second border, learning a new block and new tips and tricks to speed up the piecing process.

Click here, or on the photo below to go to Craftsy where you can download the free instructions on how to put together the quilt center and attached the first border.

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Comment (4)

  1. What’s your opinion on cutting the borders a bit wide (not long) and using them to true up the center medallion and return it to the expected measurement?

    1. I just taught a class on today’s border technique at my local quilt shop. Out of six quilters, nobody’s center medallion was a mathematically correct 48.5 inches wide. Chances are yours won’t be either, so if you see and then square it up your risk sewing on a border that is too short and will pull on your quilt, or too long and will be wavy. That’s why I recommend cutting the border exactly to fit the average of the top, center and bottom measurements.

      1. That wasn’t my question.

        I agree about averaging the measurements and cutting the borders to that length. I’m asking about increasing the width of the borders so the finished center can be squared up to the exact measurement it is supposed to be so that the outside blocks will fit better. Of course, if the center is a little larger than it should be, then the borders don’t need to be cut wider, but the question remains — what do you think about sewing on the borders as directed, then squaring the entire piece up to the exact measurement it should be. This will make the borders slightly wider or narrower than expected, but I don’t think it would be noticeable if the trimmed amount is even all around.

        1. You could do that, but chances are whatever is causing the variation between you center and the pattern (fabric thickness, thread choice, ect.) will likely continue as you go on. So your next border likely will be slightly smaller as well.


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