Quilt Designs

Fun with Sashing

It turns out the that the outer sashing was its own monster, so it gets its own post. 🙂

Why is it a monster? Because I’m still stuck on making the bark run the same direction and I wanted the corners to all meet on angles. I could have done straight seams like I did on the border sashing, but the easy way is for suckers, right?

Enter problem 1 – do you make the mitered seams before you attache the sashing to the quilt or after? You could definitely do it before (and I did the first corner this way), but you have to have very exact measurements on the length of the quilt before doing that.

Pre-sewn mitered corner

You also have to make sure you’re putting it on the right way. I did not do that the first time around and had to rip it out. You also have to measure 1/4″ in on the quilt edge when you’re starting so the next strip is lined up in the right place to sew down the side. I started at the corner, sewed down one side, broke thread, and went back to the corner to start the second side. It wasn’t perfect, but it looked almost perfect.

Close enough!

The other three corners were done manually at the corner. I came up with this method without looking it up online. It works pretty well as long as your strips are sewn straight and you’re careful with your corner measurements. You’re going to see a mix of corners used as examples – that’s because I was not careful with my measurements the first time and I had to rip it out a couple of times.

Step 1. Sew two strips, stopping 1/4″ from the end of the quilt.
I left a very short strip the first time for one of the strips and it was very difficult to get the sides lined up properly. I’d recommend leaving yourself a minimum of 2″ of fabric off the side so you have space to play with the material, especially the first time around. To find the 1/4″ mark (or the place where the two strips meet), I used a pin to mark it. When sewing toward the pin, I stopped when I was close and very slowly sewed up to the mark, set the stitch, and broke thread. When starting at the pin, I used the flywheel to insert the needle right in front of the pin. We all know not to sew over pins, right? Bad baaad things follow, like exploding needles (not that it’s ever happened to me and especially not as recently as last week … )

Step 2. Mark the miter to sew.
I made a fold mark to show where to sew the miter seams together. To find that, I fold the strip under itself and away from the side of the quilt. I usually do one side then the other before completely flattening the seam. You can tell if you have a good 45 degree angle if the folded fabric fits nicely along the other unfolded strip while staying square to the edge. I had to fudge at least one of the corners to make them meet on the second fold, but you have a bit of leeway here as long as it isn’t pulled out of square too far. Remember – you’re going to be trimming the corners before binding and the binding will cover it.
This is where I use my Violet Craft seam roller that I picked up at the Cottage Quilter this fall. It is SO HANDY!! I throw this in my bag to flatten seams when sewing with a group so I don’t have to fight over plug space for a hot iron. I don’t recommend this method for lots of piecing, but it is perfect for travel or for little piecing bits like this where I just need to make a little folded seam without moving the fabric.

Step 3. Stitch & Press
Line up the two folds and pin them together for stability. I also use my Frixion highlighter to mark the start of the seam. I find that the fold mark flattens to invisibility when it’s under the piecing foot, so I need to see the start mark. Did you know that Frixion pens were originally used in offices for taking notes way back in the day because you could “erase” your mistakes with a little heat? I had no idea! Kim at FibreChick told me that! She also showed me an example she had of a block that she had marked up with a Frixion pen that had gotten left in the car. Those lovely -30 Celcius temperatures that we’re having here in Canada brought back every single mark super clear – so don’t use it to mark your quilt top!!! Although … wouldn’t that be a cool thing to do for a child’s memory quilt? Get them to write on the quilt and chill the quilt anytime you wanted to see their notes.
In the last image, you can see the miter-in-place corner verses the pre-mitered corner strip. They both look pretty good, right?

So … which method would I choose? I liked how much easier the pre-mitered sashing was, but since I’m terrible at making things come out perfectly, I have to say I’ll probably be sticking with the miter-in-place method. Of course, there is an alternative to this.


The quilt is now basted and on the machine for some free-motion loveliness. With any luck, it will be done in time for Dad’s birthday on Saturday, but barring that, it will be ready for when they come down to visit on the 9th and ready for sharing in next week’s post!


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