|The quilt in question!|
Last week, another borderless quilt finally arrived! It doesn't have gigantic piecing, but the trimming process is very similar.
I'll use pictures from both quilts as I attempt to describe my process.
My aim is to give the illusion of perfection.
- Seams should appear to be parallel with the edges of the quilt. If something is a tiny bit off, nobody will notice, but if it's way off - yikes! Let's not do that.
- It is important to cut square corners (90 degrees).
- It is also important to measure, measure, measure! If a quilt is meant to be 56 inches wide, it should measure 56 inches wide at the top, bottom, and everywhere in between! Same if it's meant to be 76 inches long...make it so!
|Linda's borderless quilt, ready for trimming.|
Start with a corner. Place a large, square ruler over the corner. If possible, align it with both a horizontal AND a vertical seam in the piecing. (With large piecing you may need to measure out from a seam in several places to align the ruler - see photo, below).
The outside edges of the ruler should be at the outside edges of the quilt top (obviously!).
|Measuring out from a seam to the edge that will be cut.|
To trim the corner, I cut about 5 to 8 inches in both directions along the outside of the square ruler. (My first corner is cut in the picture, below.) This gives me a true 90 degree corner as my starting point.
|Preparing to cut the long edge of the quilt.|
Lay a line of rulers along the edge you intend to cut first (shown, above). I like to start with one of the long sides. Getting that right sets me up for success with the rest of the quilt.
At this point, I measure the width of the top in several places, including across both ends. I want to find a number that will become my target width. I am also checking to see if I need to adjust my rulers before I cut!
- How straight is the piecing?
- Is the quilt relatively square to begin with?
- If not, how can I make it look square?
- If I make that first cut, will things look wonky on the other side of the quilt?
- Do I need to adjust anything?
The first side becomes the reference point for squaring up the rest of the quilt, so I want to be very sure of my decisions before I start chopping.
Remember to keep an eye on the seams when lining up the rulers. I try and keep seams parallel to the edges of the quilt, if possible (as in the picture, below). This is where you might have to "fudge" things a bit if the piecing isn't perfect, and that's okay.
When I'm happy with how everything looks, it's time to cut. After each cut, I slide my cutting mat forward (under the edge of the quilt), being careful not to disturb the rulers on top.
|Keep an eye on your seams. Try to keep them parallel to the quilt edges.|
Skip to the opposite side of the quilt and cut it parallel to the first. Time for some accurate measuring.
The target width for this quilt was 56 inches, so I lined up the outside edges of all my rulers (where I would cut) exactly 56 inches away from the side I had just cut.
Thanks to the extra care I took when preparing the first side, the rulers also line up nicely with the piecing on the second side. Yay!
In the picture below, you can see that I had cut around the second corner. Just ignore that! It didn't hurt anything, but was completely unnecessary. Corners will be dealt with when the final two edges are trimmed.
|Preparing to cut the second long edge of the quilt, parallel to the first.|
Cut a third edge. Doesn't matter which one you choose, just pick one. Align rulers along the edge, as usual. Try to keep the edge and the piecing seams parallel, as usual.
Extend the rulers beyond the quilt top and use the lines to ensure 90 degree corners (like in the picture, below - see how the line exactly matches the edge I had already cut?).
Again, before I cut anything I measure, measure, measure the length of the quilt to find a target number for the next step. This is your chance to decide how best to handle things if the quilt is not perfectly square. Do you need to cut a bit more off one end or the other?
|Rulers extend beyond the corners.|
Use the lines on the rulers to make 90 degree corners.
Cut the final edge.
Repeat the process of measuring and aligning rulers with the target number on the tape measure. Remember, if it is meant to be 76 inches long, make sure it is 76 inches long at both outside edges and across the middle!
Align the rulers with the piecing as much as possible, and check that the corners will be square. (Line up the cut sides with the lines on the rulers.)
|Measuring exactly 76 inches from the cut edge to the edges of the rulers.|
Once the final cut is made, you should have a lovely, squared up quilt!
What if the piecing is ginormous?
Use the exact same process as above, only you will need to measure out from a "landmark" seam (preferably one that extends the full length of the quilt) to help you align your rulers along the first side.
|22 inches from the seam to the edge of the quilt.|
What if there's a "gap" in the seam line you are using as a landmark?
Bridge the gap with a second ruler, and measure out from where the seam would be if it had continued.
|Extend the "landmark" seam using a second ruler. |
Measure out (22 inches, in this case) to the edge of the quilt from there.
After that first side is cut, remember to jump across to the opposite edge next. Use the side you just cut as the reference point. Measure, measure, measure, lining up your rulers for the parallel cut.
|Lining up for the third edge - making sure both corners are square.|
Cut the third edge, making sure corners are square. Use a landmark seam that extends the width of the quilt to help you keep the edge of the quilt parallel to the piecing (photo below).
|Measuring up from a "landmark" seam to keep things looking straight.|
And, voila! Another nice, square quilt!
This method works extremely well for me, but I cannot guarantee it will work perfectly for everyone who tries it. There are many small decisions to make along the way, and every quilt is different, so results could vary. Please use your own best judgement and common sense when squaring up your own quilts!
I'm hoping everything I wrote makes sense . . . I'm so sick with a head cold right now that I can't really be sure! Need something clarified? Please ask!
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