Welcome to the final part of our Sampler Quilt Project. You have made your 12 blocks and this tutorial is all about finishing your quilt.
We are going to be covering 4 techniques:
- Adding sashing
- Adding borders
- Quilting the layers
- Binding your quilt
At the end of this tutorial you’ll have a completed quilt that you can be truly proud of.
If you missed any of our previous tutorials in this series, you can catch up here:
- Introduction – Sampler Quilt Project Quilt-a-Long
- Tutorial 1 – Blocks 1,2 and 3
- Tutorial 2 – Blocks 4, 5,and 6
- Tutorial 3 – Blocks 7 and 8
- Tutorial 4 – Blocks 8 and 10
- Tutorial 5 – Blocks 11 and 12
We’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s get cracking!
1) Adding Sashing
Quilt sashing is the strips of fabric used to separate the quilt blocks from each other. It is typically a narrow strip of fabric that is sewn between the blocks to create a grid-like effect on the quilt top.
Quilt sashing provides visual interest and can be used to create a design element within the quilt. It can be used to unify a quilt that has different block designs or add contrast to a quilt made with the same block design. We’re using it to help clearly identify the individual blocks you have created.
Where the strips intersect, we will be using a contrasting colour, called a cornerstone. This gives an extra artistic feel to the quilt and helps to coordinate the colours.
- Colour A (white) – Cut (4) 42½” x 2 ½” strips, subcut (17) 8½” x 2½” rectangles
- Colour B (blue) – Cut (1) 2½” x 15” strips, subcut (6) 2½” x 2½” squares
Sew a strip of white sashing onto the right side of the eight blocks above.
Take six of your white rectangles and sew a blue square onto the end of each one.
Sew the white and blue sashing strips onto the bottom of the six blocks above.
Sew a white sashing strip on to the bottom edge of the three blocks above.
Press all the blocks and lay them out as they are shown in the quilt pattern.
Sew the blocks together in rows, starting with the top row working from left to right along the row.
Continue until all four rows are complete.
Press and then sew the rows together, working from the top to the bottom of your quilt.
2) Adding Borders:
Quilt borders are strips of fabric that are added to the outer edges of a quilt top. They are typically a contrasting or coordinating fabric that frames the quilt and gives it a finished look.
The main purpose of quilt borders is to provide a visual boundary for the quilt top, which can help to emphasize the central design of the quilt. Borders can also be used to increase the size of the quilt top, which can be especially useful if the quilt blocks are not large enough to create the desired size.
In our Sampler Quilt, I’ve used white borders to allow the quilt blocks to really stand out.
- Colour A – Cut (2) 40” x 4½” strips, these are the side borders.
- Colour A – Cut (2) 38” x 4½” strips, these are the top and bottom borders.
Sew the side borders to the centre quilt panel (they are slightly larger than you need allowing you to trim back after sewing). Press and trim off the excess top and bottom.
Sew the top and bottom borders to the centre quilt. Press and trim off the excess on both sides.
3) Quilting the Layers
Now we get to the fun bit – quilting! This technique involves sewing the 3 layers of your quilt together – the quilt top, the wadding (batting) and the backing fabric. These 3 layers are often referred to as the ‘quilt sandwich’.
- Wadding – Cut (1) 42” x 52” piece
- Backing Fabric – Cut (1) 42” x 52” piece
We are going to start with basting the layers, which involves securing all three layers together temporarily. Place your backing fabric with wrong-side facing up. Lay the wadding (or batting) on top. Finally lay your quilt onto the batting with right-side facing up. You will see that you have extra wadding and backing fabric that you can trim after sewing.
The easiest way to secure all three layers together is by pinning them in place. Start at the centre and work your way out. You can use safety pins if you prefer. I tend to use a lot of pins so that I’m confident the layers are not going to move.
An alternative to pinning is using a basting spray. This is a tacky adhesive spray for use directly on fabric. If you prefer this method, be sure to follow the instructions on the can and allow plenty of ventilation in your workspace.
Now we are going to permanently stitch the layers together. The easiest method is to stitch straight lines following the existing seams, which is known as “stitching in the ditch”. Begin from the center and continue outward.
Press and trim off excess wadding and backing fabric.
4) Binding your Quilt
Binding on a quilt refers to the strip of fabric that is sewn around the edges of a quilt to cover the raw edges and create a finished edge. Binding is typically made from a coordinating or contrasting fabric to make a creative statement. I find the easiest way to bind a quilt is to use bias binding tape.
You will need 4¼” meters of 25mm bias binding.
For instructions on how to add your binding, please refer to a previous blog post called How to bind a quilt using bias binding.
It shows you how to add the binding and create neat mitred corners.
Congratulations – Your quilt is finished!
Congratulations on finishing your sampler quilt! By completing this project, you’ve not only created a beautiful and functional quilt, but you’ve also built your confidence and skills as a quilter.
Remember that this is just the beginning of your quilting journey, and you now have the skills to create even more complicated and artistic pieces.
I hope that this sampler quilt has inspired you to continue quilting and exploring different patterns and techniques. If you’re willing, I’d love to see photos of your finished quilt and hear about your experience creating it. Share your project using this form.
Keep up the great work, and happy quilting!