Sunday, 5 April 2020

Ballet with Kaffe - How I attached the borders

My quilt top is finished!! And I love it. 

I always knew that I wanted to include my inspiration fabric somewhere in my Ballet with Kaffe quilt.

I had intended to use it for the borders, but then I realised that the pattern repeat was quite obvious, and the repeating motifs would stand out on the borders.  So I decided to piece my borders and allowed snippets of my inspiration fabric to peek through.

 I knew that Willyne Hammerstein had pieced the borders on her Moncarapacho quilt, so I followed her method set out in Millefiori Quilts book 3.

Moncarapacho by Willyne Hammerstein

I used the same measurements as Willyne, but instead of making a crazy patchwork strip, I used my inspiration fabric.

1.  Piecing the borders

I decided to foundation paper piece the borders for accuracy.  I created a template on my computer and printed off lots of copies.

When I foundation paper piece like this, I sew multiple strips at once.  I sew one piece on to each of many strips, and then I get up and press them all, and return to add another piece to all of the strips.

I kept making strips and joining them until I had enough to make the 4 borders.

I made sure that each border was the length of the edge, plus the width of the border times 2, plus a bit more for good measure.  I did this because I knew that I wanted to mitre the corners.

Preparing to mitre the corners

2. Attaching the borders

I know this bit is stressful.  I spent more than two years English Paper Piecing my quilt top, and I didn't want it to unravel.  When I attached the borders to my la passacaglia quilt (click here to see) I left the paper pieces in the edge row, but this time I took them out first.  I had learnt from my la passacaglia experience, and as I had sewn the edge pieces on my Ballet quilt, I had taken extra care to secure the threads so the seams wouldn't unravel.  

I took the final paper pieces out of the edge pieces of my quilt, and pressed all the seam allowances open. (As for the rest of the quilt, I just pressed from the front - it's impossible to get all of these seam allowances sitting neatly.) 

Then I lay my quilt top on top of the border.

ready to bring the quilt top over the border

Based on the diagrams in the book, I knew which pieces would align with the border's edge, so I pinned those pieces into place first.  Then I added more pins so it wouldn't move during sewing. I used a lot of pins!

I sewed the border on with the border facing me so I could stitch an even 1/4" seam. I didn't worry about which way the seam allowances were sitting underneath.

I checked on the front that the seam was straight and where I wanted it to be.  I only trimmed away the excess quilt top once I had stitched the border on and checked the seam position. Trimming was the final step of stage 2 - Attaching the Borders.

3.  Mitring the corners

It's been a long time since I've mitred corners, but it's definitely easier the second time around.  There are plenty of tutorials about mitring corners, but I'll just show a few photos of what I did.  If you haven't done it before, I suggest you consult a full tutorial before you try this.

I folded the quilt right sides together so the borders lay on top of each other

I lay the ruler along the folded edge of the quilt (bottom left in photo),
with the 45 degree line on the edge of the border. (where my pen is).
Then I drew a stitching line across the bottom of the ruler.  

The stitching line pinned and ready to sew.
I sewed along the marked line.

After I'd sewn the seam and checked it from the front, I trimmed off the excess borders 1/4" from the seam.

Look at that!!! It's perfect.  I know that the windows don't match up, but that was very unlikely given the design of the borders.  I don't mind because the borders are very dark and it won't be very obvious.  

Then I hand stitched the corners closed where the machine stitching finished before the corners.

Hand stitching the corners closed.

Finally I took the foundation paper pieces out.  I left them in all this time to stabilise the borders and prevent stretching.

So there you have it.

I know it sounds like a lot of effort, but I love the result so it's totally worth it to me.  I do intend to hand quilt my Ballet with Kaffe quilt, but I'm going to take a little break and work on some other things first.

You can find my other posts about my Millefiori Quilts on the tabs at the top of my blog:

la Passacaglia

Ballet with Kaffe 


Quilting Babcia said...

Brilliant idea and execution!

Sue Rostron said...

That is stunning

Chris said...

Well done! I love to see your process.

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

that is a great looking quilt - yes once the quilt is quilted no one will be looking at the corners - it is dark - it will be great

Donna Wiggin said...

Wendy, you are such a wonderful inspiration to quilters around the globe. Your quilt is beautiful and the border is perfectly charming.

Gretchen Weaver said...

BEAUTIFUL! Yes, the border was a lot of work but so was the EPP work. It deserved the extra special border, so lovely.

Diana G. said...

What a labor of LOVE! Absolutely gorgeous.

meweatherson said...

Absolutley beautiful Wendy! I love your sense of color and style. You did 'Ballet' proud!

Anne / Springleaf Studios said...

Your border is a perfect finish to an amazing quilt. Well done!

Jenny M said...

absolutely stunning ~ the border sets off the center so well. Congratulations on your finish!

Rochelle aka Bella Quilts said...

What a gorgeous quilt. I love the borders and the way you pieced it with the black. It certainly keeps it from overwhelming the hard work of the center. You are an inspiration. I really appreciate it when you include little it took 2 years to do the center part. It reassures me that it is the consistent and patient work that completes these quilts. Thank you for sharing.

moosecraft said...

Absolutely gorgeous! So many stitches and so much's such a happy quilt! :-)

cityquilter grace said...

awesome job and a beautiful quilt!

Janice quilting said...

What an inspiration, what an idea, what execution! Thank you for such clear instructions. I'm in the process of making a quillow from some of the shirts of my late husband and was stuck for a border idea....your idea is it I think!
Thanks again

Hubblebird said...


dq said...

This quilt is just so beautiful in every aspect. It is truly a stunning work of art that I keep coming back for a second look!

Judy Biggerstaff said...

Wow, fabulous quilt and love your border plus all the hours and hours of work that went it to your quilt and border.