Friendship Braid Part 2 – Battling With Bias!

The friendship braid quilt introduced last month is continuing as a work in progress. Now I need to make a decision about the backing (me making a decision about ANYTHING is a work in progress in itself!).

I thoroughly enjoyed the process of making the braids.  Having two little boxes of pieces beside my sewing machine made me feel so happy!  Any spare moment I had I could sit down and add a few more pieces to the braid strips.  No seams to match and just some finger pressing required and then a dip into the left or right basket for the next piece of beautiful, Moda Luna Notte, silky cotton fabric…


Eventually all eight braids were completed.  I pressed them carefully remembering my comment at the end of the first friendship braid post:

The next challenge will be sewing the braids together – all the exposed edges are bias cut so I’ll have to be careful!

The eight braid strips ready to be sewn together before trimming the excess fabric top and bottom.
The eight braid strips ready to be sewn together before trimming the excess fabric top and bottom.

Oh!  All those bias edges.  Looking at the 54″ braid strips I decided to treat them like eight strips of fabric being sewn together.  The agreed quilty wisdom is to sew the seams of long strips together alternating the direction of sewing with each new seam.  This I did with the braids after carefully pinning all of the intersecting seams (there were a lot!). Success!  The completed quilt centre lay flat and straight.

But then my battle with bias began!  The side borders needed to be measured and cut. Again adhering to agreed quilty wisdom, I determined the length of border fabric required by measuring the length of the quilt through the centre rather than along the edges. Then I pinned the borders very carefully from the middle of the seam to be sure of getting the fabric evenly distributed.  The first side seam went together without any bother – less than ¼” of excess fabric at the end of a 54″ seam is acceptable to me!  

the bias edge had stretched to over an inch longer than the border piece!  Nothing for it but to unpick the entire seam...
The bias edge had stretched to over an inch longer than the border piece! Nothing for it but to unpick the entire seam…

The second border seam was nothing like as easy!  Despite the pins, I could see a bigger and bigger ripple of fabric being pushed along by the machine foot.   I should have stopped and had a re-think but I ‘carried on regardless’ until 6″ before the end when it became clear that the braid bias edge had stretched to over an inch longer than the border piece – neither acceptable nor workable!

Out came the seam ripper and, trying not to stretch the bias edge any further, I unpicked the seam.  I decided to try and combat the stretchiness by not only pinning from the central point of the seam but also stitching the seam in two sections both starting from the mid-point out towards the ends.  This helped, as did having the border fabric on top as I sewed.  There’s still a bit of excess fabric at each end but it is manageable I think.  The borders at the top and bottom of the quilt got the same treatment – being sewn out from the mid-point of the seam outwards – and produced not perfect but acceptable results.  

The braids with borders attached.

It’s true what all the books say: bias edges are a challenge and need to be treated with care.

Bloggy News: Away from the sewing machine I’ve been spending more time than usual reading quilting blogs.  Partly because I’m playing with my new 8″ tablet and partly because I asked to join the ‘2015 New Quilt Blogger’s Blog Hop’ and found that my request had been accepted 🙂  More of the Hop in later posts…  I’m really hoping that by learning with a group of other new bloggers I will gain the confidence to make some changes and additions to my blog site including adding a gallery of quilts and some link buttons that I think readers might find useful.

The ‘Quilt For Keeps’ Pledge: Back in 2012 I enrolled on Craftsy’s free block of the month class.  The class tutor was Amy Gibson.  By the end of the year she was heavily pregnant with twins but managed to sit on the floor to demonstrate how to  make a quilt sandwich (I couldn’t bend over to tie up my shoe laces when I was pregnant with just a singleton let alone sit on the floor!).  Obviously a very busy lady now with twin boys and two older children to home school, Amy doesn’t post often on her homey quilt blog, ‘Stitchery Dickory Dock’.  This week, as part of the launch of her new book, she did issue a heartfelt post asking readers to re-consider why they patchwork and quilt and to consider signing a pledge to stay true to the love of the hobby. This was a timely, thought-provoking post for me.  If you could take the time to read Amy’s post would you let me know whether it speaks to you too?

Linking with Lee at Freshly Pieced for Work In Progress Wednesday.


13 thoughts on “Friendship Braid Part 2 – Battling With Bias!

    • Thank you Linda.I think I’ll avoid working with bias edges for a while but I am very pleased with this quilt top so it has been worth the effort and it’s good to try new things once in a while!

  1. your friendship braid is coming along very nicely – the results are a tribute to “sticking with it”. I have a quilt on my bucket list that has me shaking in my boots regarding the bias edges. I keep telling myself – it’s only fabric !

  2. Your quilt top is absolutely stunning! Thanks so much for sharing all about your processes and how you overcame the challenges of working with those bias edges. Great news about the new bloggers hop. You will have a wonderful experience through that hop. I was in it two years ago. I’d like to invite you to join up with the Let’s Bee Social linky party each Wednesday at Sew Fresh Quilts. It’s always a pleasure to make new friends!

  3. I have a suggestion , though you may have finished . Why not leave the border off altogether ? Your quilt is beautiful , you must have great patience for pressing all those seams . I love your gardening posts as well !

    • Thanks for your comment. The borders are attached so I’ll leave well alone now! Thanks for looking back over some of my other posts – it’s hard to stick to the main subject of quilting when the rest of life is happening all around so the garden and other things do feature in my posts sometimes!


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Newsletter Signup

Subscribe to the newsletter to receive: 

  • Links into the Worldwide Quilting Community.
  • Links to tutorials and patterns.
  • And be the first to see new listings in my Folksy and Etsy shops 
%d bloggers like this: