Most applique borders will enhance the body of the quilt.
Almost any design will require an understanding of how to calculate the width of the border.
A free flowing vine with flower, leaves or hearts is a very popular border.
A sawtooth border which is nothing more than a square cut on the diagonal is also a popular applique border.
For a vine border a common way to determine the border width is to simply divide the individual block size on your quilt by two and add two inches. For example, a quilt with 12-inch blocks would have an 8-inch wide border (12 divided by 2 plus 2).
Find the center of each side of the quilt and again for the top and bottom. Measure from center side to center top and roll out a piece of freezer paper for that length. Then cut the freezer paper 8 1/2 inches wide from top to bottom. If you are a saver roll up the fall-off and hide it so you don't get confused.
Grab the correctly measured strip and crease it in half from top to bottom. Each side should be 4 1/4 inches wide by the length of center side to center top.
You now have a quarter of your border on which to draw a stem that moves in waves back and forth across the middle crease. Add leaves and flowers and maybe a few hearts.
A triangle square is a square cut on a 90-degree diagonal and may also be called a sawtooth design.
Combine two contrasting fabrics that you may have used in the body of the quilt to form this sawtooth applique border.
This is a directional pattern so you must decide whether the triangles will march around the quilt in one direction, or whether they will change direction at the corners or in the middle of each side.
For a sawtooth border to turn all four corners the same way, the triangles must reverse in the center of each side, which is the most common way.
For a dogtooth border the triangles do not need to reverse in the center amd the angle can be narrow to wide.
Once you know how many folded segments you need for half of the distance; double that number to find the number of patchwork units to make for one side, then double again because your quilt has two sides.
Repeat this exercise for the top and bottom quilt borders. Add the two numbers together, and then add four more patchwork units for the corners.
This gives you the total number of patchwork units to make for your applique border plus it gives you the size of one patchwork unit.
Cut and Sew Method is the first way;
With this method both sides of the 90 degree angle will be on the straight grain of the fabric and the diagonal angle will be on the bias.
The 'Drawn Layered Square' Method is the second way which is a quicker and more accurate way as it eliminates handling cut bias edges that tend to stretch out of shape.
Remember, all fabric has a memory and the fabric reacts with the grain when cut. Review the Simple Border page for a refresher on how to deal with the fabric grain.
By reading Quilting Instructions for pressing with precision you will gain insight on why the up and down motion is superior to the back and forth motion.
The following pressing and trimming directions apply to both Methods...the 'Cut and Sew Method' and the 'Drawn Layered Squares' Method for making triangles for your applique border.
If you are using a 90-degree dogtooth applique border the squares need to be cut 1 1/4-inches larger than the finished patchwork unit. Arrange the long side, or the bias cut, along the border, alternating the colors.
Stitch the triangles together along their short sides, offsetting them by 1/4-inch when you sew them together. As I mentioned earlier, a 90-degree sawtooth and 90-degree dogtooth are identical.
A triangle in a dogtooth applique border or quilt border can be any angle. Be creative and go either very narrow or very wide. Don't feel limited to 90, 60, or 45 degree triangles for dogtooth applique borders. Try very long, skinny triangles or shorter, fatter ones when deciding on the best applique shapes.
One way to get an accurate dogtooth applique border is to use a paper foundation method to construct. That is the technique we used with the irregular triangles on this quilt top. In foundation quilting or paper piecing, as it is sometimes called, you can make a template from cardboard and add 1/4-inch seam allowance.
Now that I have talked you into being creative, one way to get an extremely accurate dogtooth applique border is to use a paper foundation method to construct. In foundation quilting or paper piecing, as it is sometimes called, you can make a template from cardboard and add 1/4-inch seam allowance.
Lay the template on a piece of typing paper and trace it as many times as it will fit. Make several copies of the original sheet and use for foundation stitching. The points will be accurate and you will have fewer problems when you bind the edge of a dogtooth applique border.
If you are still having problems with the sharp points, here is one more suggestion. It is easier to get nice, sharp triangle tips if you add a plain border before you bind the quilt. When you stitch the dogtooth border to a plain border first with the triangle border on top, you will be able to see the tips as you sew and your accuracy will be noticeable.
With a 60-degree dogtooth applique border the patchwork unit is the finished size of the base of the triangle. To determine the cut width of the strip, measure the height of the triangle, and add 3/4-inch. Cut strips of triangle of light and dark fabric that width.
The easiest way to keep it all straight is to layer the light and dark fabrics right sides together before you cut the strips. Keep them layered as you cut the triangles. When it is time, sew the pairs of triangles together along one of the bias edges and press the seams toward the darker fabric.
The easiest way to cut is to align the 60-degree angle on the ruler along the bottom of the strip set and cut. Turn the ruler around so the 60-degree angle is at the top of the strip and cut again. Repeat this process until all the cuts have been made.
If you layered the fabric strips, right sides together and light color on top, the cut patchwork units will be stacked with the colors being alternated. When you sew the sets together don't forget to offset the ends by 1/4-inch.
One last tip if you have a wavy border. If you did not cut all the triangles with their base along the straight grain your edge of the border could look very stretchy. To fix the stretchy border, run a line of stay-stitching 1/8-inch from the edge of the border. If it is real bad you will need to run a basting stitch first and ease in the fullness evenly along the border and then stay-stitch the edge.
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