Saturday, August 11, 2012

Machine Quilting A Perfect Star Border

I thought I would share with you how I quilt a perfect repeating star border the fastest way possible.  When I attended HMQS, there were several teachers who taught how to quilt an 8-pointed repeating compass star border, but not any who did a simple 5-pointed star.
My notes from HMQS of the repeating 8-pointed compass star border.  I then drew out a repeating 5-pointed star border and divided it into two passes.

I marked one-inch segments in the border using a blue quilt pounce pad and a one-inch stencil.

Quilting pass one was the same as drawing the second-half of a 5-pointed star.  I did this to avoid thread breakage.  As any machine quilter knows, going from right to left keeps the thread in the needle better thus avoiding thread snaps.  FYI, the thread path is bottom left hand corner, diagonally up 3/4 of the border, straight line back, then diagonally down to the next corner and repeat across the length of the quilt border.

The second step is a right to left hand pass of going corner to corner.  Because I was not having thread issues (I rarely do when using Signature Brand threads), I did not need to tie off and do a second pass, just a reverse pass.  If  your machine has a lot of thread breakage, you should tie off and go right to left so it does not snap.

I erase the chalk markings with a wadded up leftover piece of batting before rolling the quilt.  This keeps it nice and clean and keeps chalk from getting onto the backing. 

TIP: If your machine's carriage does not move diagonally very well (and there are some brands that don't), use a ruler to press your hopping foot against to get perfect angles in your stars.

Here are photos of my daughter's latest dress.  It is the "Love Nest Ruffle Dress" by Carina Gardner.  This pattern has several mistakes in the cutting layout diagrams and they are currently re-printing its directions.  After I sewed it, I contacted the company and Carina personally called me and we discussed the problems I experienced with the pattern.  They knew of the some of the printing mistakes have posted the additional changes we discussed on their website.

The pattern does not tell you to cut two back pieces and that one of these two pieces will be used for the front lining.  Instead, I cut two front panels, one from the top skirt pattern and the front lining straight across without the arch cut-out.

The pattern tells you to sew the back to front side seams and then add ruffles.  This makes the ruffles floppy on the sides as they do not lie flat.  I sewed the ruffles to the skirt lining first, then sewed the side seams, catching the ruffles in the side seams so that they would lie down correctly.  This is an "alternate" method they posted on their website after I talked with Carina.

In short, it's a cute pattern, but if I were going to buy it again, I would make certain to down-load the new sewing directions from their website and make certain I got a re-print of the cutting layout diagrams as they were incorrect in the initial printing.  Additionally, most patterns have you cut three pieces of the bottom ruffle for more fullness as it goes around the entire width of the skirt.  This pattern only called for two which left it lacking in fullness.  Next time, I'll add another piece.

That being said, this dress is currently my daughter's favorite--she loves the Disney princesses.

Until next time...happy quilting!