Hi all, and welcome to the last step in our Constellations quilt! Today we are finishing up with the borders and completing the quilt top. Since we did most of the work already, this step goes quickly and you should be quilting this up in no time at all. I used the same blue print that I used for the background and sashings for the final border, but you should feel free to use whatever borders you want for your quilt.
Here is my finished top, with the borders:
This quilt top finished at just about 57 by 68 inches, a nice couch size. I made one significant change to the top from the way that I had first constructed the blocks. If you look, you can see that I changed the corners on the Magic Cross blocks (the aqua blocks in the top row). I had originally had a coral on the corners, but I decided that I wanted to make them look more like they're floating, so I replaced the coral corners with background blue ones.
I also rearranged them a little bit, though I kept the block the same size so it would fit in the same space. If there's anything in your top that you don't like, I really encourage you to fix it or rearrange it. No sense finishing off something you don't like!
Back to the borders: you can see that I used three borders. The first border was already integrated into the top and was made month by month. The second is a 1-inch finished purple border, and the last is a 3-inch finished blue border from the same fabric as the backgrounds of the blocks. I had planned to use a border of pieced squares instead of the purple, but I got one side done and really didn't like it. It pulled too much attention away from the stars. So I changed my mind and went with the purple, though any color would work.
I know that everyone has probably put borders on a quilt before, but I want to walk you through how I do it. This way gives you nice flat borders that are easy to quilt and lay flat in the finished product. The key to this is measuring, so grab your measuring tape and let's finish this quilt top.
First spread out your quilt center on a nice flat surface, like a floor, a bed or table large enough to hold the whole top without the edges hanging over, or a design wall. Fold the top in half vertically to find the center, then mark the center with a pin or chalk mark at both the top edge and the bottom edge. Open the top out again, then fold each of the edges to the center to divide the quilt into fourths. Mark the fold with pins or chalk marks, again at both edges.
Now, smooth put the top so that it's nice and smooth with no wrinkles, and measure right down the center from the center pin at the top to the center pin at the bottom. Don't worry if the measurement is not what you expect or is an odd fraction. This is your measurement for the side borders.
Decide on a color for your narrow border, then cut 1-1/2 inch strips and join them together to make a sufficient length for your narrow borders. The number of pieces you need to join depends on whether you are using yardage or scraps and on the width of your fabric. The piece I cut the purple border from was only 34 inches wide, so I needed 7 width-of-fabric cuts. If you are using yardage, you'll likely need 5 or 6 1-1/2 inch by width-of-fabric cuts.
From the larger strip that you just created, cut two pieces the length of your center measurement. For example, suppose that the length you measured was 59 inches. Join your 1-1/2 inch strips and cut two lengths, each 59 inches. Fold each strip the same way that you folded the quilt top to find the center and the quarters. Mark the strips with pins or chalk.
Match the marks on your strips to the marks on the quilt top. Pin and stitch. **Important** If your edges don't match exactly, match the marks and stitch with the longer piece on the bottom. This will generally provide enough ease for the border to fit exactly. Repeat for the other side of the quilt top, matching the centers and quarters.
Follow the same steps to add the narrow border to the top and bottom of the quilt, measuring through the center of the quilt horizontally and matching the centers and quarter marks of the border strips and the edges of the quilt top. Press well. Your narrow border is done!
For the final border, follow the same steps, cutting your border strips 3-1/2 inches wide and remembering to match the centers and quarters. Press well and admire your nice flat borders! Your quilt top is done!
You know the next steps-- layer, quilt, and bind! Depending on the size of your top, you will need about 4 yards for the backing. I got this lovely star print for my backing:
This is actually a Christmas print from the 'Tis the Season line by Red Rooster Fabrics, and I got 4 yards from Bernie's shop. I managed to save a half yard of the blue background print for the binding, and I am sending my quilt off to be custom quilted.
That brings us to the end of this project! I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have and that your quilts turned out just as you wanted. Thanks for coming along with me! I'd love to see a picture if you're so inclined!
Look for an announcement about a new quilt along for 2018 (eep!) coming on the last Saturday of this month. Angela of soscrappy and I have collaborated on a really cute quilt for next year, called Squared Away. It will be lots of fun, so come back on the 30th for more information. Hope to see you then!
Sharing at Let's Bee Social and soscrappy for RSC17.