What do I do when a quilter brings me a quilt to machine long arm that has flared borders?

Posted by on October 6, 2010

What do I do when a quilter brings me a quilt to machine long arm that has flared borders?

   First, you will probably need to use a fluffy batting, like a poly so that you can get some “hills and valleys” into the quilting area that needs to be taken up. Usually 3.5 or 4 oz is ok but increase batting thickness with the degree of the flare.

Second the style of quilting should be either large meandering or wavy lines 1 and ½ inches apart radiating outwards on the border (we call it bars on the border). Either one of these two styles of quilting can and will take up the slack in the flared borders and distribute it into the “hills and valleys” correcting the situation without taking the borders off and re- cutting.

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  1. Run! Not really…I haven’t turned a quilt down yet.
    I always (unless I get the quilt via mail) lay the quilt out, measure it (it’s how I price the quilting), check for wonky seams, missed stitching, etc. If the borders are flared just a little…my first plan is to quilt the outside first, after securing the sections with Stitch in the Ditch (SID). Actually, if the flaring is not bad, just stabilizing the sections/blocks with SID may be enough. If it looks like it will need more than a little help…and the customer is there…I’ll ask how she applied the borders, and if she only measured the length/width in one spot..I’ll go over how to avoid the wavy borders in the first place. Then I’ll go over what patterns we can use to pull those in some, how I may add extra batting layer to the border area, etc.
    You always want to also make sure the quilt was squared up before submitted for quilting, especially if you will use a panto in the quilting.
    Wavy borders can be quilted in many ways; piano keys (straight lines about 1″ apart from inner to outer edge of the borders, easing in fullness (if needed, add tiny stipple to every other piano key section), stipple (small meander), if there is a floral design, quilt around the designs, and if still too much fullness, meander between the floral designs, make stones…these are little illregular ovals, circles…they look best when you go over the “stone” outline several times here and there…and make them touch each other & of different sizes & shapes…they are fun & really tame wonky spaces.

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