Friday, February 14, 2014

Soupcon Quilt Along Part 4

It is time to announce the winner of my GROW YOUR BLOG giveaway event. Thanks to everyone who entered and left lovely comments! All of the names went into a hat and a winner was selected. Congratulations to Katie Q who wrote in part "Thank you for sharing the link to the needle book. That way I can make one if I don't win the beautiful one you are giving away"! 

UPDATE:  Darn, darn, darn! I drew the name of the GROW YOUR BLOG winner one day early so I'll have another draw tomorrow for second hardcover needle book. That means it isn't too late to enter. Just go here and leave a comment. I'll announce the second winner tomorrow! NOTE: THE CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED.

Soupcon Quilt Along (QAL)
Part 4 of 6

Welcome to the 4th installment of my Soupcon QAL. If you are just joining in you will find Part 1 here, Part 2 here and Part 3 here. Part 5 will be released on February 28 and lastly Part 6 on March 14. So mark your calendars or follow me on Bloglovin so you don't miss a thing! And don't forget to join the Soupcon FLICKR Group and post picture of your quilt!

Now that the center medallion is complete we are going to start adding borders. In this step I will demonstrate how to make the pieced border. It looks challenging but if you take your time and follow my instructions I am confident you will be able to make this  border. It is one of my favourites and I've used it for a short border as in Soupcon and I've also used it as a large border in a full size quilt. With the addition of this border our quilt will measure 16 1/2" finished (17" with the seam allowances). IMPORTANT: If your quilt measurement ends up a little larger it won't be a problem. I've built some wiggle room into the next two steps. 

If you don't think you can manage the pieced border then I've done a simpler border using two prints but you could use a single print if you prefer. A striped fabric is another alternative and it would add great visual interest.

If neither of these borders tickle your fancy by all means do your own thing - just make sure that at the end of Step 4 that the block measures 17" square (this measurement includes your seam allowances).

I'll start by explaining the pieced border. We will be working with small pieces of fabric so I strongly encourage you use spray starch to minimize fraying and to ensure that the fabric doesn't distort from the handling. It will also make the piecing a breeze! When my borders were pieced they were fairly stiff and that made working with them  problem free!

To make the pieced border you will need:
  • spray starch
  • 40 - 1 1/2" squares of fabric for what will be the squares set on point (I used my scraps here)
  • 88 - 1 1/2" squares of fabric for what will be the side setting triangles
  • 8 - 1 1/2" x 2 1/2" rectangles for corner triangles
  • 2 strips that measure 1" x 12 1/2" for the first thin inner border
  • 2 strips that measure 1" x 13 1/2" for the first thin inner border
  • 2 strips that measure 1" x 16" for the second thin outer border
  • 2 strips that measure 1" x 17" for the second thin outer border
HELPFUL TIP 1:  All of my 1 1/2" squares were cut from scraps however if you prefer you could use a planned colour scheme. If you saved your scraps from the previous steps use them in the border. By repeating the fabrics it will help give your quilt some cohesiveness. I used scraps of the orange ring and the hexagon's background fabric in my border. I centered the orange squares in each pieced strip.

HELPFUL TIP 2: For the thin borders made with  1" strips (inner border and outer border) I used the same fabric for both borders. I would recommend that you rough cut your fabric (I cut a piece that was 4  1/2" x 18"), give it a good spritz of starch and press with a hot,dry iron. From this  piece of fabric I then cut the four 1" strips as per the measurements above. The starch made the piecing much easier, reduced fraying and minimized stretching of the thin strips.

HELPFUL TIP 3: If you are nervous about working with small pieces you could cut the patches for the fabric that will become the setting triangles a little larger, 1 1/2" by 1 3/4". However the squares set on point must measure 1 1/2".

The first step is to add a thin border to your block. Stitch a 1" x 12 1/2" strip to one side of the medallion. Press the seam allowances open. Stitch the remaining 1" x 12 1/2" strip to the opposite side and press the seam allowances open. IMPORTANT: Pressing them open is important because it will make attaching the pieced border much easier. Next stitch the 1" x 13 1/2" strips to the remaining sides of your medallion and again press the seam allowances open.

It is time to make the pieced border. Make sure that you are sewing with an accurate 1/4" seam allowance. You will be making 4 strips, two of which consist of 9 squares set on point and two which consist of 11 squares set on point. I chose to use small dark squares with light setting triangles however you might want light squares and dark setting triangles. This is a good place to repeat some of the fabrics you have already used; I decided to repeat the orange used in the ring so in the middle of each strip I placed an orange square. For the purpose of this demo I will refer to the squares set on point as the dark squares and the setting triangles, which start out as 1 1/2" squares as light squares.

Stitch a light square to either side of a dark square. Press the seam allowances toward the dark square. Give the piece a spritz of starch and press again with a hot, dry iron. You will have 40 strips that look like these although mine are still in need of a good pressing!

Now it is time to sew the strip sets together to make the borders. Line up the seam allowances as shown below.

Put the units right sides together and pin well. I like to put a pin through the seam allowance to make sure that the patches don't shift.

Stitch the seam and press it open. Again a little spritz of starch is required along with a press with a hot, dry iron.

Continue in this manner until the border consists of nine dark squares. Make a second border of nine strip sets. Lastly make two more borders in this manner that are each made up of eleven strip sets. Sew a 1 1/2" x 2 1/2" rectangle (corner triangle) to each end of each of the four border strips.

If you lay out the borders this is what your quilt will look like at this point. We now need to trim the borders strips so that they look nice and will fit the quilt.

Trim the sides first. I trim the sides a little at a time. I like to trim the sides so that I am cutting away from myself.I line up my ruler so that the 1/4" mark just touches the point of a few dark squares.

Trim the fabric. You will notice the little notches - they don't present a problem however if they are too deep they may interfere with your seam. If you are concerned the solution is to use light squares that measure 1 1/2" x 1 3/4"; the extra 1/4" will eliminated these notches.

I move the ruler up the strip and line up the next few points and trim.

Sometimes it happens that I can only line up the rule between two points and the third point is off as indicated by the orange circle at the 4" mark. In this case I only trim the one square and then I reposition the ruler, line up the points and continue as before.

Trim the entire strip in this manner and then turn it and trim the other side. The last step is to line up your ruler with the top edge of the strip and then line up the 1/4" mark with the point. Trim the end. Repeat with the opposite end.

Trim the remaining three borders. So here is where we are at - the pieced borders are ready to attach to the quilt. You will start by sewing the two shorter strips to opposite sides of the quilt. In this case I've got the shorter strips (nine squares on point) at the top and bottom.

The pieced border should be well pinned to the quilt.

Do you ever find that when you stitch two pieces together they shift at the end? To avoid this problem I place a pin that is parallel to the sewing line and another that is perpendicular to the sewing line at the end of the border. This stops the slipping for me!

Sew the strip to the quilt going slowly and being sure that your needle stitches just to the right of the point of the little square.

In order to hit that point it might be necessary to slightly narrow your seam allowance. Just go slow and work carefully.

Once you've sewn the strip to the quilt press the seam allowances toward the narrow border. Sew the remaining short strip to the opposite side.

At this point you will sew the thin 1" x 16" border strips to one side of each of the two remaining pieced borders. When sewing them together the pieced border should be on top and the narrow border underneath so that you can hit the points of the little squares set on point.

To sew the last two borders to the quilt you want to make sure that the little squares set on point match up with the pieced border that has already been attached to the quilt. To do this put a pin through the pieced strip at the point.

Put the pin through the point of the other pieced border that has already been stitched to the quilt. This will allow you to line up the points. Once the points are matched, place a pin parallel to the sewing line and one perpendicular the the sewing line to secure the strip to the quilt as described above. Repeat at the other end of the quilt. Pin the balance of the seam and sew the border to the quilt as described above. Press the seam allowance toward the narrow border. Repeat with the other pieced strip.

The final step is to attache the 1" x 17" thin strip to the pieced borders and Step 4 is complete!

ALTERNATE DESIGN OPTION: If the pieced border is too much of a challenge how about adding the narrow borders and between them add an interesting print? In the picture below the pieced borders are on the sides and a print fabric is at the top and edge. It is still an attractive finish. If you decide to go this route then you will need to two strips that are 1 3/4" x 13 1/2" for the top and bottom (to replace the pieced border) and two strips that are 1 3/4" x 16" for the sides (to replace the pieced middle border). In the picture below I audition a green print at the top and bottom and the pieced border on the sides so that you can compare the two different finishes. NOTE: if you have a print that calls out for mitered corners disregard this design option and read on.

I did use the design option about for my red Soupcon quilt however I mitered the corners. I have thin inner and outer borders but I used a single print fabric for the middle section.

It you do want to add this type of border with a mitered corner, the cutting instructions are slightly different. Cut 8 strips that measure 1" x 17 1/2" for the thin borders and cut 4 strips that measure 1 3/4" x 17 1/2" for the middle border. Sew a thin strip to either side of each middle border and press the seam allowances open. Trim the strips so that the measure 17" in length.

On the wrong side of your quilt top  make a small dot that is 1/4" in from each corner. This will be the point where you start and stop sewing the borders to the quilt. Next you will mark the start and stop sewing spots on each border strip. That mark is the sum of the finished size of the border plus 1/4" for your seam allowance. In this case the border finishes at 2 1/4" so when 1/4" is added to this measurement the sum is 2 1/2". On one long side of each strip make a mark 2 1/2" in from each end.

To attach the border to the quilt, lay the quilt top on the border with the marked edge. Put a pin through the 1/4" mark on the quilt top and through the  2 1/2" mark on either end of the border. Repeat at the other end of the strip. Pin in between these two points. Start sewing at the 1/4" and stop sewing at the other end at the 1/4" mark. Attach a strip to the opposite side of the quilt top and then repeat the same steps to attach the side strips. Press the seam allowances toward the border. I used my sneaky mitered corner method to finish the miter. I'm sorry I didn't take pictures of this step so if you need help please leave a comment or send me an email and I will do a demo.

ALTERNATE BORDER OPTIONS: Another option is to use a single fabric for Step 4 which means you would eliminate the thin borders altogether. A border print or stripe fabric would work really well. Cut 4 strips that measure 2 3/4" x 17" and attach them to the quilt as described above.  If you do not want to miter corners use a non-directional print. You will cut 2 strips that measure 2 3/4" x 12 1/2" and attach them to opposite sides of the quilt. Then cut 2 strips that measure 2 3/4" x 17" and attach  them to the two remaining sides of the quilt. Miter the corners.

If none of these design ideas appeal to you, please feel free to do your own thing! I won't be offended!

So there you have it - we are done with Step 4! Step 5 will involve another border where you will be able to use some of the techniques that have already used (Hint: we are going to embellish our border); there will be lots of room for creativity and you will be able to put your own personal stamp on the quilt. Step 6 will be the final step and we will use a new technique! When Step 6 is finished the quilt will measure 31 1/2" (32" with seam allowances). If you want to make it a full size quilt I will discuss this at the end!

Until I post again, happy sewing and don't forget to post pictures on the Soupcon FLICKR Group!

Karen H


  1. Phew! OK, I have read this through and I am going to do the lovely pieced borders. I shall read it through another couple of times while I am laying out the fabric pieces, to make sure I have it in my (not very logical) mind.
    Very excited now, thankyou so much for this quilt-along!

  2. Hi Karen! I am thrilled with this installment. It looks wonderful. I am going to do the pieced border for sure. Thank you - this is stunning!

  3. What a fabulous quilt this is turning into. I may just have to find some time to make one of these after all!

  4. Oh, Karen - I thought for sure we were going to start on another hexie block to go with the one we had already made, but no, it's even better - a pieced border. You see I love quilts with piecing and applique and hexies - your design has it all - woohoo! Can you tell I'm a happy camper?

  5. Thanks Karen. This pieced border was the perfect project for me today. I have already finished and posted a photo. I love how this is turning out. This part really pulled things together!

  6. ;) all the ladies are beside themselves !! Me too, I'm itching to get stichin
    I ADORE the pieced border

  7. Almost finished adding my pieced borders. I looooove it! Will finish and post pictures tomorrow. Thank you.

  8. love the pieced border Karen, i had been considering this (on a slightly larger scale) as the next border for another quilt, The one next to soupcon on my Flickr page. This will be good practice.

  9. What a great border I love but it will have to wait for a few weeks. Thanks for great tutorials.

  10. Oh I can't wait to get started on this border. It looks great!

  11. Really lovely pieced border, never done one like that. Please go to my blog immediately ... You are a winner.

  12. The pieced border is another fabulous idea of yours ! ! ! !

  13. Mine is done!! Headed to Flickr to post a photo!! Not sure I can wait two whole weeks for the next step!?!

  14. thanks for all the tips. just added my block to the flickr group.