Quilter's Academy - Volume 2 - Sophomore Year

Vol 3 - Junior Year

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Project 4 Triple Rail Fence - Borders

I really like quilting borders.  The length gives me a chance to get into a nice flowing rhythm, unlike the simple blocks I've been doing which are stop/start, stop/start.  Then again, the part of quiltmaking I dislike is border marking.  Trying to manage a quilt across a small lightbox is tricky and the results (for me at least) are never straight.

Freezer paper is only available from quilting stores here - supermarkets don't stock it.  So I ordered some online and added a roll of Golden Threads Quilting Paper.  I thought it may be just the thing for marking borders.

The blurb on the quilting paper says you simply trace your design onto the paper, pin it to the quilt top, then when finished just tear it away.  Sounds good to me.  You can also needlepunch your design on - up to 15 layers at a time - just sew through the design with a large unthreaded needle.  If you want you can pounce through the needleholes directly onto the fabric.

So I thought I'd give it a shot.  Being a beginner, I decided to trace the 4 corners and borders individually, instead of risking 4 wobbly needlepunched stencils. 

The quilting paper comes on a 20 yard roll

I traced the corners separately
Pinned to the top and ready to go!

After the 1st border, I was ready to chuck it.  Really, it moved and crunched up and the noise!  Crackle, crunch, crackle.  Despite being able to see the lines really clearly, I managed to mess up and sewed the wrong lines - this was because I had to pin the corners to a short piece then to a long piece and it all shifted.

By the time I got to the last border I had it sorted and it quilted up quickly and easily.  On the plus side, the lines are easy to see, but on the minus side, it just seemed weird.  Oh and my needle unthreaded umpteen times, which drove me crazy.  I think an experienced quilter may like this, but for me, I don't think I'm ready for it.

Borders quilted through paper - weird!

Then it was time to take the paper off.  The blurb on the roll states "tears away cleanly and easily" "to remove paper from quilting, gently tug fabric on the bias and the paper will break away from the stitches, making it easy to tear away".  This well may be true if you are quilting straight lines an inch or two apart.  Have a look at those tiny squares in the picture - the paper did not pop off these from a gentle tug!

It took longer to get the paper off than it would have taken to hand mark the borders

I was reluctant to tug on the bias, due to the fact that my borders were already wavy.  I did give it a go though, and the paper on the outside came away from the stitching easily.  Getting it off the inside lines and out of those little squares was another matter.  I had to scrape it off with a fingernail.  Admittedly, it did come away from the stitching cleanly, but a gentle tug was not going to do it.  I think it would have been quicker just to trace the border over the lightbox, than to mess around for ages getting the paper off!

Here it is, nearly all done - I've discovered binding clips - love 'em!
From the back

A close up of the quilting from the back

There you go - a jerky heart from where the quilt got hung up - I knew I wouldn't get away with not showing a dodgy one!

Now this quilt has wavy borders, sad mitered corners, jerky quilting and tiny bits of paper stuck in the stitching but you know, I like it.  I seem to have grown more attached to it, the more it caused me stress.  I'm going to claim this one for myself :)


  1. Welcome to the club. I, too, tried the yellow paper tissue roll and did some stipple quilting on a quilt. It took me forever, to get all the paper off. I now use the paper for tracing patterns and not for quilting.

  2. Oh dear. Next time sprits the paper "lightly" with water, wait a minute then it'll be easier to remove. sorry.

  3. If you want to chuck the clips I use elmer's school school for the binding (Sharon Schamber's technique). Binding an Angel on YouTube

    My own

  4. I think you did a really fine job. Hey- I am now just learning to do something other than stich in the ditch and basic straight line quilting- To me you are doing phenomenal!
    Thanks for sharing what that paper looks like, I'm not familiar with it. Sorry it cause you a little bit of grief- but your overall outcome- is something to be very proud of! Very lovely quilt!
    Kudos Lesley!

  5. Wow! Was thinking that you hadn't been on the forum lately and now I can see why!! I was very interested in that paper and did wonder just how easy it would rip away, so thanks for doing the hard yard for me!! Think it is still great,, well done!!!!

  6. Your quilt looks wonderful! So far I can only do stippling and straight quilting, bought the Golden Threads paper, but need to take the PLUNGE! Congrats on a beautiful quilt!

  7. Hi ladies!

    Thanks for the hints and tips everyone - I need all the help I can get :). Sadly, Elmer's school glue and lots of other products readily available in the USA are not easily found here. I will experiment with local products as I discover them. The paper experiment was educational!

    As for the quilting - well I had a late start in taking up sewing and don't have time for FEAR! As I see it, this is a good reason to make practice quilt tops and playing around with FMQ is really rather fun, and if I don't do it, I'll never get any better at it!

  8. Try heavily starching your border fabric before sewing on to your quilt. This should help with any stretching. Whenever I use the Golden Threads paper for paper piecing, I use very teeny tiny stitch lengths, then heavily starch the block before trimming to its final size. When it dries, the paper is crisp and comes off fairly easily. I've always found it easier to mark the borders with a Caran D'Ache gold pencil using a regular template. However, a light box is just as good with light-colored fabrics. Don't give up, you're doing fine and we all go through learning curves.

  9. Patchworkmaniac/Glynis says: Whatever you do, don't try quilting over freezer paper either. You rip your stitches out trying to remove the rotten stuff.