Over the years, I’ve used borders in a variety of ways. One of my first designs had three blocks in the center with the rest of the quilt made up of wave after wave of borders. It was fun and very different from my usual rows of blocks layouts. Even if you do not design your own quilts, Finishing School Better Borders with Winnie Fleming (affiliate link) does an excellent video job of explaining the various borders and the best ways to measure so that they lay properly for your quilt top.
Lesson 1 covers basic and simple borders. Winnie illustrates how to measure for basic borders. I recently started using this technique of measuring and pinning for my strip borders and was very pleased with the difference it made as far as squaring up the quilt. It is really worth the extra steps to use this procedure when a pattern does not specify the specific cut length. She also explains how to splice strips together when you need a strip longer than 40-42 inches for your border.
Lesson 2 covers mitered borders. I love the look of these borders but have avoided making them because they never seem to lay just right for me. The reason quite simply is because I would try to miter after I had attached the strips to the sides. Winnie explains how to pre-cut the miter before attaching to the quilt. She also illustrates some intricate border prints and how she matches to get 4 identical corners.
Lesson 3 covers pieced borders. Like Winnie, I love pieced borders and use them frequently. She explains the math for calculating border pieces or squares needed. I usually let Electric Quilt do the work for that portion. She also explains the method of making half-square triangles using Triangles on a Roll. This is something I’ve never used but can see a definite advantage when making lots of HST blocks for a border.
Lesson 4 covers selecting borders for your quilt. Winnie starts out explaining how to audition fabric choices for the border. She then auditions different piecing options for the borders and illustrates how changing orientation of the pieces within a border can totally change the look of a border.
Lesson 5 covers floater borders and attaching floater borders. I frequently use the floater border technique. For me the primary reason is to provide separation between busy fabrics in the quilt top from busy fabrics in an outer border. Winnie also explains how to use this technique to fit a longer pieced border to a shorter quilt by using the floater border to adjust spacing requirements between the two. She also provides examples of some rectangular quilts where the top and bottom floater border is a different width than the floater border sides to allow fitting the next pieced border to the quilt.
Lesson 6 covers medallion-style quilts. Winnie starts out auditioning borders to surround the medallion quilt top. She explains the methodology for determining the floater border size that will be sandwiched between the pieced border and quilt top. Since I tend to use Electric Quilt when adding my borders but Winnie’s method is still very helpful as I’ve often run into the problem of trying to fit a specific number of blocks into the pieced section for rectangle quilts. That floater border is an awesome problem solving technique and can certainly be used in Electric Quilt. And, oh my gosh, the wonderful examples of intricately pieced borders that surround her lone stars…truly inspirational.
Lesson 7 covers quilting borders. This lesson delves into selecting quilt designs, marking options, and marking designs for the pieced borders.
This class uses a lot of math for calculating the size requirements for borders. It can be overwhelming at times but is definitely worth watching. I’ve run through it once and definitely plan to watch again. I have several block exchange UFO quilt tops that will benefit from using some of the techniques in this class.
Craftsy has started their Black Friday sale early. Now’s an excellent time to purchase Finishing School Better Borders with Winnie Fleming (affiliate link) as it normally retails for $39.99. It and all of Craftsy’s videos are on sale for $17.99 now through Monday, November 28th.