Monday, November 18, 2013

Taming bias edges

Quilts are nice when the blocks are set on point.

  In Aunt Alice's quilt, the 16-patch blocks are set on point and the outer, border blocks are either half square triangles or quarter square triangles. 

This navy blue polka dot fabric is what I had decided on to use for the edge triangles. It's a cotton and I wanted to make sure that I didn't have a problem with the bias stretching.

I cut my large squares as per the pattern instructions. These are supposed to be then cut in half for the side triangles.

What I did was first draw a line from corner to corner. I drew on the reverse side but it really didn't matter if the line was on the right side of the fabric. This will be the cutting line.
Then I sewed a line about 1/8th of an inch away from the line...
 on either side of the line - from corner to corner...

using a long, basting stitch.

Since I also needed four smaller, corner triangles, I drew a line from the other corners also and sewed on either side of that line too.

 Then, the squares can be cut either in half, for the side triangles or...

in four triangles for the corners.

For those of you who have never sewn clothing, this is called stay stitching. It helps to stabilize the sides so that they don't go all wonky before the quilting is done and the binding is put on.

I hope this helps someone out there who wants to use half square or quarter square triangles for the edges of their quilts but were afraid of working with bias edges.


  1. That is a great idea, and what an easy way to stop the bias from stretching too far. Cheers, Jean.

  2. Thanks for the info. What a great idea!

  3. What a wonderful, and such an easy idea. Thanks for posting it.

  4. Great tip, must remember to use that the next time I am cutting a block on the bias . Thanks

  5. I am a sewer and have used stay stitches, but never related it to quilting as you have done. Thanks for the info.

  6. What a great hint! One of the reasons I don't 'do' sane quilting is because of the bias stretching on triangular pieces, so this hint will definitely come in handy should I ever be inspired to make a quilt.

  7. Great idea! never thought to take my clothes sewing ideas to my quilting. Thanks.


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