Helpful things to keep in mind while you are piecing your quilt top:
1. Be sure to use an accurate 1/4 inch seam. If you do not have a 1/4 inch foot for your sewing machine, there are other ways to do this. You can stick a stack of Post It Notes or a small piece of cardboard to your throat plate. Do a test seam and measure. If it is more or less than 1/4 inch, adjust the cardboard or Post It Notes. It seems like a trivial thing to worry about, but when you are making a bed size quilt, even a 1/16 inch off each seam which make your blocks really inaccurate which can then be the cause of your quilt top not being square. It is always a good idea to measure each block to be sure you have them all the same size before sewing a row or adding sashing.
2. Use a neutral thread. I usually use a grey or taupe colored thread. A light grey will work great on most light fabrics and a medium to medium dark grey for darker fabrics. Of course, if you are sewing white fabric, white thread is important so it is not visible from the front of the quilt. In the same manner, black fabric needs black thread, unless it is a smaller piece, then a medium dark grey would be okay.
3. There are quilters today that encourage you to press all your seams open. I come from the old school which taught to press to one side - usually the dark side. The one thing to keep in mind is that if you are going to have your quilt finished by a long arm quilter and are going to request custom quilting, the quilter will most likely be stitching in the ditch to stabilize the different parts of the quilt as they work. If your seams are pressed open, it is impossible to stitch in the ditch without breaking some of your seam threads which can cause the quilt to come apart after some use. If the quilt is going to be quilted with an edge to edge design, stitching in the ditch probably will not be an issue.
To assure that your borders do not wave to you, here are some tips:
1. ALWAYS MEASURE. Measure to determine the length of both sides as well as down the center. You may end up with 3 different numbers. If so, you are not alone. Take the average measurement of the three and cut two border strips this length for the sides of the quilt. Note: If I have enough length of fabric I will cut the border strips on the lengthwise grain (parallel to the selvage edge) as there will be less stretch.
2. Mark the center points and quarter points with pins on both the quilt top and border strips. If you have a chalk marking pencil or a blue line water erase pen and it will show on your fabrics, you can use those tools to mark your matching points. Add the border strip face down on the quilt top which is face up. Pin the matching points. I prefer to have the border strip on top, but be watchful of the seams so they don't get pushed to the wrong side.
3. Stitching and pressing -After stitching on both side border strips, you will repeat steps 1 and 2. Press the seams in the direction of the border strip.
Custom Long Arm Quilting Service
Quilting By Janice