Saturday, March 15, 2014

Medallion and Borders

A medallion quilt is made up of one border after another around a center motif.  You can see my first medallion quilt in an earlier post.  It actually lies flat and straight on a bed, but is hanging wonky in the picture.

Another medallion quilt is my "Lifetime" quilt, and you can refer back my March 12 post for a photo of the quilt's centerpiece Mariner's Compass.  You can follow the building of that quilt in the next few posts as I relive its construction from design to finished quilt.  You may have noticed that I mentioned a narrow, 1/4" border around the center motif.  A tiny, narrow border does not need to be scary if you do it right.

Start by cutting a strip of fabric the appropriate length and 1 inch wide.  That gives you 1/4 inch for the border itself, two 1/4 inch seam allowances, and 1/4 inch extra.

Sew the border strip to the centerpiece with an accurate 1/4 inch seam (see the TIP below).  Press the seam making sure that it is fully ironed so there are no pleats at the seam line.

With the pressed centerpiece and border to your left (for right handed quilters), lay your good ruler with the 1/2 inch line at the seam that connects the centerpiece and border fabrics.  Cut off the excess 1/4 inch with your rotary cutter, and you will have a perfect 1/4 inch seam allowance for attaching to the next piece of fabric.

I use this method for larger borders too.  It gives a measure of safety and keeps the measurements precise.

TIP:  I find a 1/4 inch Edge Stitch foot invaluable for stitching quilt seams.  See the little guide on the right side of the foot?  It rides along the edge of the fabric and allows the needle to sew a perfect 1/4 inch seam.  You will probably need to move your needle to the right, so take the time to measure and find out where the needle needs to be to create the perfect 1/4 inch on your machine.  By moving the needle this foot can be adjusted to sew greater or smaller seams…to a point.  Accurate seams allowances are critical for precise piecing.  Check with your dealer about getting one of these.

1/4 Edge Stitch foot from Husqvarna
If you can't get a foot like this for your machine, you can attach 2-4 layers of narrow masking tape to guide the fabric edge.  There are also numerous seam guides available made by different companies. Many of them adhere temporarily to your machine.