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Forum > Quilters' Corner > Help with quilt math--how much fabric to buy ( Moderated by Sharon1952)

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Help with quilt math--how much fabric to buy
Member since 2/25/08
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Date: 1/18/13 12:44 PM

I recently made a quilt top using the instructions in this Missouri Star Quilt Co. tutorial:

Using a pack of 24 jelly roll strips, my quilt top came to be 29" x 48.5".

I'm new to quilting and this is just my second quilt and the first one I attempted on my own. I want to add a 1.5" inner border around the quilt top and a 4 " border outer border. I need help figuring out how much yardage to buy for the inner border and the outer border. It seems since my longest side of the quilt is 48.5", I cannot use just the selvage width of the fabric which is just 42" or 44" wide and have the fabric store just cut 1/4 yd each of the border fabrics.

So does this mean I'll need to buy 1.5" yds of inner border fabric and 2 yds of outer border fabric?

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In reply to rubbecca

Date: 1/18/13 1:21 PM

I'm brand new to quilting also, but I found this calculator and it did work for me...almost exactly! I think I had 1/2" left over on one of the colors, so you might want to add a couple more inches to the results

Quilt Calculator

Border Calculator
-- Edited on 1/18/13 1:23 PM --

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Date: 1/18/13 1:49 PM

Thanks for that link! Those are very handy calculators.

Many people cut their borders on the crosswise grain, and join them with a diagonal seam, like you would join strips of binding. I am starting on borders for a quilt I'm making, and plan to press the joining seams open, and join the pieces on the diagonal, so it's less noticeable.

If it's going to be a wall hanging though, I've heard that you should cut the borders on the lengthwise grain regardless, as it will hang better over time, with that lengthwise grain stability.
Otherwise, if you know the border fabric will come in very handy for another quilt, then by all means buy more and then you won't have to piece the borders.

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Date: 1/18/13 2:28 PM

It will be most efficient to cut your borders across the width of the fabric; those strips will stretch more than if you cut them the other direction, along the length.

That calculator (above) looks good for calculating crosscuts. For cutting the length of the fabric instead just be sure to add seam allowances and extra if you are mitering the corners. (e.g., for the first border strip, the longest side measurement plus seam allowances plus miter allowances. Each additional border will be longer of course. That's why that calculator will be so useful.)

And of course you'll want a little extra of each in case there's shrinkage or miss-cuts at the store.
-- Edited on 1/18/13 2:32 PM --


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Date: 1/19/13 3:10 AM

There's a free quilting calculator app for smartphones. I have one on my android. Very useful
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Date: 1/19/13 10:34 AM

Cut on the cross grain and do not include the selvages as they tend to pucker.

Miter any piecing needed for the borders and the seams will "disapear".

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