How to Add Borders to a Quilt Panel: Quilting Tutorial

Jenny Doan

How to Add Borders to a Quilt Panel: Quilting Tutorial

Jenny demonstrates three different ways to make a beautiful quilt by adding a border to a panel. Learn how to make a fence rail border, an offset rectangle "brick" border, and a pinwheel border.
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video transcript

Hi everybody, it’s Jenny from the MSQC. One of the questions I get asked a lot is what can I do with panels. How do I use them? How do I make them work into a quilt and that sort of thing. So today I have three different ideas, three different quilts. And we’re going to talk about what you can do to turn your panel into a really cute little project. So let’s look at this quilt behind me.

This is a panel with the horses and the barn. And it’s got this cool cloud. When you’re going to pick colors of the blocks that you’re going to put around, you want to look at your panel and you want to pick the colors that are in your panel. I also like to make my block coordinate a little bit with what I’m doing. So these are horses in a field and the block I chose is an old antique block called Fence Rail. One of the easiest blocks known to quilting. And this is how you do it. You going to sew three strips together. You’re going to measure how tall they are and that’s how wide we’re going to cut them because we want squares. It should ideally, this is, let’s see how big this is, this is one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, inches. So we’re going to come over seven inches and we’re going to cut a block. So here’s our seven inches right here. And I think ideally, on most 2 ½ inch strips, that’s going to come out to 6 ½ but for some reason mine is pretty full here. So you want to actually measure it, the size of your strip set because that changes with your, you know with your seam allowance as well. So what we’re going to do is we’re going to cut our blocks on this. And then we’re just going to rotate them so they go this way. So you see how we’ve done that here?

Now one of the things you have to watch out for is normally your panel is a certain size and people often try to fit their blocks to the panel. I like to fit my panel to my blocks. So I’m going to make this row right here. And I’m going to see how long it is. And I’m going to trim up my panel so that is actually fits to this top row. I’m going to do the same thing on the side. So then I’m not chopping any blocks in half. So I make this row right here and then I’m going to trim my panel so that it fits the row. And then you can just add rows around it. And it just works out really good. So let’s take a look at the next one.

So look at this one now. This is a great panel for those nature lovers. It’s got the deer on it and the beautiful colors. And I love how this sets in here. The colors blend just enough that it just, it just kind of flows out into these bricks. And all we did was stagger rectangles on here. So we took our ten inch squares and we just cut them in half to make five by ten inch rectangles. And let me use this one over here. This will show up better. So I’m just going to lay my ruler right on the edge here, cut it right in half. And then when you put them together, you’re just going to stagger them like this. So you’ll sew them together in rows. And every other row is going to start with a half block. So we’re going to start here with a half. And then this one is going to come in with the whole like this. And then our next block is going to come over here. And of course they’ll be different colors like they are back here. So let’s look at this. So every other row starts with a half block. And that gives them at great stagger. Now let’s talk about the third one.

Take a look at this one. Now this one is really different. This is fun. This is a much more whimsical panel, a lot of fun, a lot of play in it, a lot of texture in this panel. And we wanted to make it a little bit more whimsical and so we went with pinwheels. You’ll notice we have two different sizes of pinwheels, these are the bigger ones down here, the smaller ones up here. And we put this little border in so that the panel would then fit in with the size of the our pinwheels. So you have to remember to fit your panel to your blocks.

So for our big pinwheels we did the easy eight. And that’s where you’re just going to take two squares and draw your line diagonally both directions. Sew on either side of that line and then cut this four times. So we’re going to cut it in half like this. Let me move these over here. And we’re going to cut it in half like this. Let me move this up here. I want to make to make sure you guys can see this really good. The easy eight is a fun trick to do. So again your ruler, if you have a five inch ruler it lays right on the edge of your block. We’re cutting them in half both directions and then both on the diagonal like this. And one more cut over here. And this give us eight half square triangles right here. So you’re going to use four of these to make your bigger pinwheel.

For the small, tiny pinwheel, what we did was we took the same easy eight block. But we cut it in half only vertically and horizontally like this and this. So we’re just cutting it in half. And then we end up with this block like this that is already sewn on both sides. So just like the easy eight we drew the big X sewed on either side.. Now we’re just cutting this in half both ways. So then we’re going to take these five inch ones. And we are going to draw that line the other direction and do the easy eight on a tiny one, on this little five inch one. So we’re going to draw our line right here and sew on either side of this one. And let me show you how that works.

So we’re just going to come to the sewing machine and we’re going to sew right down this one side right here. And right down the other way. And now just like we cut for the easy eight we’re going to cut this one on all four sides. So I’m cutting it in half both ways, both ways in half just the same. And then we’re cutting it diagonally as well. This is such a cute little trick to do these little tiny pinwheels. So then you get eight half square triangles and they’re this size. And that’s what makes these little tiny pinwheels like this. So then you’re going to put those together. And we matched them and spaced them with an additional block so they offset a little bit. So it just makes it really cute.

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