Quilts with wavy borders and extra fullness

I’m sure we’ve all had a quilt like this.  In fact – I’ve made one or two!  Lately, many of the quilters that I’ve talked to don’t really understand how to attach borders properly so I’m going to talk a little bit about it here.

I just finished a customers quilt that when I first checked it over and loaded it it seemed to be fine.  In fact – I said to myself while I was merrily quilting along that it was so nice to get a straight even quilt on the frame.  By the time I got to the middle I noticed that the sides were a bit fuller and the rows were starting to droop at the sides – much like the frown I was starting to wear!  I eased in some fullness and went ahead and quilted another pass but when I rolled the next row was even worse.

Thankfully I was able to show my client what was happening and we agreed on an acceptable fix.  There were 2 problems, the over-full borders and some of the blocks were a bit ‘wonky’ – 7 7/8″ across the top and 8 1/4″ at the bottom.  The only thing I could do was ease as much fullness in the block area and dart the borders.

over 1" dart

over 1" dart

This shows just one of the darts I had to take in.  Understand, these darts only went into the borders.  Only 2 block areas had to be adjusted on the frame.

one of 7 darts along the border

one of 7 darts along the border

There were 3 darts on one side; 2 on the other side and 2 in the bottom border.  The strange thing was the first half of the quilt was exceptionally straight with no fullness at all.

It took more than 2 hours to pin, roll, dart, roll and pin some more to get it to the point that the quilt was laying flat.  I used superior’s Monopoly to sew the darts down with an invisible stitch.  Unfortunately, the middle border was a solid green and the dart will show no matter what I do or how careful I am.

tuck taken in extra full block

tuck taken in extra full block

Here’s a tuck that was taken in an extra full block.  The picture is making it look much ‘wonkier’ than it really looks!

dart sewn down

dart sewn down

You couldn’t see the dart in the blue border and only slightly in the patterned green one.

darts quilted down

darts quilted down

The quilting my customer chose was what I call “daisy chain”, simple loop & leaf meander with daisies and ribbons thrown in.  I tried to plan the quilting so that your eye would be drawn to the quilting and not the seam.  It turned out pretty good if I say so myself.

finished is good :)

finished is good 🙂

OK – so how do you attach a border(s) so that this doesn’t happen to you?  You have to measure your quilt top 3 times and take the average.  Cut your border strips to that length and pin and sew on to the top easing where necessary.  This way your borders will be X” long for both sides and pining will stop any stretching that may happen.  Of course the wider the border the more important this method is.

It is a very pretty quilt all-in-all.  The camera didn’t do the colours justice – they are very soft and quite feminine without being girly 😉

measure 3 times then cut border fabric accordingly

measure 3 times then cut border fabric accordingly

Here’s a picture of what I’m trying to explain – hope it makes sense!


3 thoughts on “Quilts with wavy borders and extra fullness

  1. Timberlane Quilters' Guild says:

    Hi Shawn,
    having “been there” with borders on raffle quilts, group quilts or on students work- I know how frustrating this border thing can be.
    1st – it’s hard to tell the piecer that it has to be fixed,and 2nd it’s frustrating to be slowed down.
    I hope that this will be one of the topics covered in your beginner classes – I will look for the notes that I made from an online discussion on the topic of squareing up a quilt top and the whole quilt.

    • Hi Nina 😉

      I will definitely be talking about the importance of squaring up and I’m sure Alice will be in her ‘intro to quilting classes also. I’m interested in seeing the notes you’ve got for sure! Welcome back.

  2. Borders? Don’t you just start at one end, line up the edges and sew? And if there is any extra just trim to fit?

    Okay all kidding aside… when doing the Level 200 classes, this will definitely be a strong point to be made!

    Oh, and I’m back at home!


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