Adding flanges to a border

The Basket of Blooms applique is continuing to give me opportunities to learn and practice new techniques. This week I made the yo-yo embellishments. First time making these and maybe not entirely successful as the holes in the centres look rather large – perhaps I should have used smaller stitches so they’d gather-in more tightly?

I poked a little piece of the brown fabric into the yo-yo to make the opening less obvious!

The Beginners course applique cushion with yellow gingham borders.

Having finished all the applique 🙂 I have been shuffling ideas for moving this project on. Should it become the cushion it was intended to be or become a wall hanging? Which fabric to use for the border? Could I use the yellow gingham I’d used for my beginners class applique cushion? Maybe try a flange edging rather than a narrow border? Decisions, decisions…

After a long walk in bright sunshine and a bitter East wind I had answers to most of my questions. So while I drank a large mug of hot coffee I did a quick search on line and found an easy to follow tutorial showing me how to add a flange to a border. Got to give it a go! I chose to use strips of my current favourite backing fabric, Jane Austen at Home Accomplished Woman, as the border. This wouldn’t be a good contrast with the natural linen backing fabric of the Basket of Blooms block but with a narrow border, or a flange, it could work… Here was my opportunity to use the yellow gingham again 🙂

I followed the tutorial cutting the gingham into strips 7/8th of an inch wide. A quick press down the length of each strip, wrong sides together, and I began to worry these strips would be too narrow! However, in the spirit of a true adventurer, I carried the strips over to the sewing machine. I used a long stitch (number 4.0 on my Pfaff) and a narrow seam (less than ¼”) to tack flange strips to the side edges of my block – raw edge to raw edge like attaching a binding strip.

At this point I had to decide whether to add flange strips to the top and bottom edges of the block to frame it or to have the top and bottom flanges extend into the borders. Hum…

Auditioning using the flange to frame the block.


Extending the flange into the borders.

I chose the latter so my next step was to add the borders to the sides. This involved stitching through quite a few layers so I was glad of the integrated walking foot on my machine. I remembered to adjust the stitch length back to the usual 2.0 for piecing and attached the side borders with ¼” seams.

After pressing the border seams away from the centre I adjusted the stitch length back to 4.0 and attached the flange strips along the top and bottom edges.

Once these flanges were added I all I needed to do was change down the machine stitch length and attach the top and bottom borders. I pinned these to help keep the fabrics in place while the layers were being stitched together.

A final press and I could step back and enjoy the results of this first-time flange experience. I found adding the flange strips was actually far less fiddly than adding long, narrow borders. I like the 3-D effect achieved by the unattached edge and it is in keeping with the raised appearance of the applique too. I’ll definitely give this technique a go on bigger projects like table runners and maybe even a quilt.

I am so glad patchwork quilting offers the opportunity to try out such a broad range of techniques and styles. It’s good to be learning and experimenting isn’t it? And with such a wealth of on-line tutorials and workshops to choose from I doubt I’ll ever stop learning!

Linking with Kelly for Needle and Thread Thursday. Kelly is busy editing the proof copy of her new book!



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