Last week I shared instructions on how to create a twisted ribbon quilt border using Seminole piecing (click here to read that post). Now that we’ve found a simplified way to make this beautiful border – how do we get it to fit the quilt? Even though I love geometry, piecing that corner square didn’t look like fun to me at all. If you’ve taken my classes you know I want my quilts to turn out well, but I’m only willing to drive myself crazy to a point – then I find an alternate plan that will make me happy. That’s what I did on this quilt… Adding corner squares worked for me.
Getting the borders to fit the center of the quilt required some math, and THAT I was willing to do – by way of a slick trick I learned years ago: spacer borders!
Can you see I added an inner border in the rust colored background fabric around the original blocks in the photo above? This separated the center of the quilt top from the pieced border and gave me a great way to make the border fit (plus – it would have been very visually busy to have the pieced border snug against the pieced blocks).
The “spacer border” makes fitting the pieced border a breeze. To begin:
Measure your quilt top from side to side and subtract a 1/2″ to get the finished size. Mine was 20″:
Construct a border strip longer than the width of your quilt top. Measure this strip and subtract 1/2″ to get the finished size. Mine was 24″:
Subtract the center from the border. Mine was 4″. Divide this by half and add 1/2″ seam allowance back to this number. This is the width the spacer border needs to be cut. Mine was 2 1/2″. Sew these strips to the sides of your quilt.
If your quilt is square, use this measurement for the top and bottom also. If your quilt is a rectangle you’ll need to do this same process for the length of the quilt top to determine the width of the spacer borders to be added top and bottom.
Once the quilt top has the spacer borders attached, the twisted ribbon borders can be added top and bottom. To add the pieced side borders:
Cut 4 corner squares from the ribbon fabric at the same measurement as the width of your pieced border (mine was 3″). Sew these squares to the ends of the side border strips. Sew the side borders on.
Once the pieced borders were on, I added another border in the rust colored background fabric to complete the twisted ribbon effect, and framed it all with a larger border of the print fabric from which my original Spin Star blocks were made. It was a beautiful fabric for the final border, and I think it made lovely stars!
I love adding spacer borders because it allows me to make the pieced borders whatever size I like – then adjust the quilt size to fit the borders. It’s a helpful trick to have in your toolbox!