Quilt top construction tips

When piecing your top, it is really important to press your blocks as you progress through each step of construction.  This helps stabilize the pieces and makes it easier to sew on new pieces.  Most quilts require a seam allowance for piecing.  Having accurate inch seams goes a long way towards having a nicely pieced quilt top.  It is highly recommended that you cut each piece and sew it to fit, as opposed to sewing it on then trimming the excess off.  The reason for this is because different fabrics, even from the same manufacturer, have different degrees of elasticity. 

Measure the center of the quilt top vertically. Then measure the outside edges vertically. If there is more than an inch difference in any of the measurements, it is possible that your quilt will get tucks when quilted.  Do the same horizontally.  Too much easement, when piecing blocks, can result in small tents or puckers, which will cause pleats when the quilt is quilted. To avoid such problems, see below.

Adding borders on your quilt

Measurements should be taken across the center of the quilt and along both sides in both directions, for both the width and length.  It is best if your top is laid out flat on a floor and if you use a roller metal tape measure rather than a fabric tape measure.  Determine the length of the quilt border by averaging the three measurements of the quilt body.  To make a border with straight cut corners, cut two borders the length of the average of the three measurements and pin them to opposite sides of the quilt.  Match the ends and centers, then gently ease in any fullness.  Be careful not to stretch either the border or the top as you sew.  Pin, sew, and press.  Repeat the process for the top and bottom borders measuring the width, averaging, etc.

  1. Measure the length of the quilt top in three different places from edge to edge. 

For example, if the three measurements are 48, 48, and 49..  Add those three numbers. 

                        48.5
                       
48.0
          +            49.0

            
          145.5

  Divide the sum by the number of measurements, which is 3 in this case.

                         145.5 divided by 3 = 48.5

Cut two borders the length of the average (48 inches in this example) the width of the finished border plus a half-inch to allow for seam allowances.  Pin the ends of the borders to the ends of the top.  Find the midpoint of the border and pin that to the midpoint of the top.  Pin the rest of the border on, sew, and press.  Repeat for the opposite side.

  1. After sewing the long borders on, measure the width of the quilt top with the two borders in three different places from edge to edge. 

 

For example, if the measurements are 40, 40, and 41..  Add those three numbers.                      

                        40.5
                       
40.0    
    
      +            41.0

            
          121.5

 Divide the sum by the number of measurements, which is 3 in this case.

                         121.5 divided by 3 = 40.5

Cut two borders the length of the average (40 inches in this example) the width of the finished border plus a half-inch to allow for seam allowances.  Pin the ends of the borders to the ends of the top.  Find the midpoint of the border and pin that to the midpoint of the top.  Pin the rest of the border on, sew, and press.  Repeat for the opposite side.

 

A best effort will be made with blending tucks, puckers, and stretched areas, but I cannot make any guarantees.