Apr 242012

Yesterday I told you that I would be sharing some helpful sashing and border hints today, and so it shall be.

You have completed your first block, now what do you do?  first thing you do is make it square.  Most patterns will give you the dimension that your block should measure when it is complete.  Seldom will the measurement be exact.  The reason being is everyone and every machine has a different quarter inch measurement.  I know you are probably saying that a quarter inch is a quarter inch.  That would be true if you were actually measuring and marking and sewing on your marking.  As quilters, we eye the seam and sew.  Some of us have a quarter inch foot with a black guide that we butt our fabric up to, others give it a little space.  Some of us have a quarter foot with out the guide and we know where we want the fabric to lie to give us a consistent stitch.  Others haven’t a quarter inch foot at all.  Nonetheless, it isn’t important as long as each block in the quilt measures the same.  If it was intended to measure 11 inches square but only measures 10 1/2, just make sure they are all 10 1/2.

This brings us to the next point of why I cut my sashing and borders after my blocks are made.  The first step to measuring your sashing or border is measure the length  of the block or quilt top ( from top to bottom) through the center. Raw edge to raw edge, cut sides to this measurement.  A trick that I like to do is lay the fabric across the center of block or quilt top length, making sure fabric matches up to the top, and simply cut it to the length that is desired.  Mark your center on the border and the quilt or block, pin at the center and at the ends and anywhere else that is necessary.  Sew and press the seams toward the border strips.


Next you will measure the width of the quilt top or block.  You will again measure through the center, from raw edge to raw edge ( this will include the border you just sewed on)  Cut two borders to this measurement, or you can place your sashing or border strips on one side of the quilt and lay it

across to the opposite side, and cut it.  Mark the center of your block or quilt top and the borders.  Pin the center, the edges and anywhere else you feel necessary.  Sew and press the seams toward the border strips.

Remember to square up your blocks as you go. It is an easy task that will save you loads of pain when trying to assemble your quilt.  One of my students asked what I meant when I said to square it up.  She was a seasoned quilter , this goes to show there are no silly questions.

So what do I mean?  Lets say your block is suppose to measure 6 1/2 inches, when the block is complete, put your 6 1/2 inch square ruler on the block and if there is excess you can either cut it off or use your 12 1/2 inch square ruler and see if it is square.  then decide if you want to cut it down or leave it.  The thing to remember is each of the blocks must measure the same and you need to be sure you leave a                                                                               1/4 inch at the end of the points so you don’t cut off the points.   

The most important point is, and I can’t stress it enough, all blocks must be consistent in sewing and sizing.  This is the only way you will have a square quilt.  It is important to square up as you go.  As you can see, the photo on the right shows a block that has borders.   Pam is squaring it up at 8 1/2 inches before she adds the borders on, then she will square it again once the borders are on.

Here are some important don’t for borders and sashing:

Don’t cut a lone piece of fabric and sew it onto the side of your quilt, cutting off excess at the end.   You will end up with wavy borders because the fabric will stretch to accomodate the border.

Do Not try to stretch blocks to match or fold over to make fit.

when quilting you will end up with disaster.  If you fold over to make it fit, the hopper foot will get caught and rip your quilt when quilting.  If you try to stretch the block to fit, you will not have the straight lines you need to have anything other than an all over design, and you may have a quilt that pulls or puckers. You can only quilt so much out of a quilt.  Here is a book I like to recommend to all of my students from beginner to intermediate and advanced.  There is so much useful information and amazon is a great place to find it at a great price.  I hope I covered most of your questions.  If there is any additional information you would like, please leave a comment and I will get the answer to you.

Now here is a little bit on  the lighter side……

Addicted to Quilting

She Learned to Quilt on MONDAY.
Her stitches all were fine
She forgot to make us dinner
So we all went out to dine

She quilted miniatures on TUESDAY                                             Have a Great Evening!  Happy Quilting   🙂
she says they are a must
They really were quite lovely
But She forgot to dust

On WEDNESDAY it was a sampler.
She says stippling’s fun
What Highlights What Shadows!
But The LAUNDRY was’nt done

Nine Patches were on Thursday
Green,Yellow,Blue and red.
I guess she really was engrossed
She never made the Bed.

It was wall hangings on Friday.
In colors she adores
It never bothered her at all
That crumbs were on the floor

I found a maid on SATURDAY
My week is now complete
My wife can quilt the hours away
The house will still be neat

Well, now its only SUNDAY
I think I,m about to wilt
I cursed,I raved,I ranted
Cause the Maid has learned to QUILT !

  One Response to “To square or not to square, that is the question..”


    Loved your suggestion that if one block measures 10 1/2″ instead of 11″ to square them all to 10 1/2″! Never thought of this! Thanks again for sharing all this great information! You’re the best!

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