Borders, Bindings & Edges Class Plan

by Sally Collins

Borders, Bindings & Edges: The Art of Finishing Your Quilt
is a one-stop reference for finishing any quilt. It includes how-to information for a multitude of border and edge finish styles. In addition, it covers the selection, planning, and design process; color; proportion; and scale. Hundreds of illustrations accompany the instructions, and there are dozens of quilt photographs for inspiration. As an instructor, you can use this book to educate and guide quilters of all skill levels to bring their quilts to a beautiful conclusion.

Because this is not a project book, you will need to prepare a variety of quilt samples and/or visual aids to illustrate the techniques you'll be teaching. Please don't underestimate the importance of preparation! After a careful reading of the book, use the instructions and illustrations accompanying each technique to make visual aids and samples in either paper or fabric. This step may seem time-consuming, but because you're teaching fundamentals and not trends, you can expect to get plenty of use out of these samples. I create my classroom lecture notes in a large font so I can refer to them easily, noting in my text when to refer to my visual aids, samples, or actual quilts.

You can use this text to customize classes to a variety of time frames and subject matters, in a Project, Technique Sample, or Process/Lecture format. Choose topics that are related to each other to build individual classes. They could be a series of on-going classes, in which the teacher explains and demonstrates how to do one or two topics in a one- to two-hour session each week.

This class covers Corner Triangle Borders, Narrow Borders, Pieced Borders, and Mitering with a border print or a final plain fabric border.

  • Students to come to class with a 12-1/2" unfinished quilted sandwich using a block of their choice or the simple pattern (Ohio Star) I give with the supply list. This project is not meant to be their next masterpiece, but a learning quilt. Students will not finish during the class time, but they will get a good start and understand all elements.
  • I designed and created a quilt using the 12" Ohio Star and those border styles as a class sample. I provide students with a pattern for my class sample, but also allow them to re-design if they choose, maintaining the basic structure of my class sample.
  • Give a brief overview of planning and choosing a border, color, proportion and scale.
  • Explain and illustrate each border style, including how to figure out what size it should be, and how to design within that space.

Students will create technique samples rather than create a project they need to plan and finish.

  • Each student should bring quilted sandwiches composed of blocks or even plain squares or rectangles of fabric of a designated size, plus fabric to create borders.
  • Choose one or two border styles (Spacer and Pieced borders, for example) and teach students how to create them. Explain and illustrate how to design, calculate and apply each border. The discussion will include corners, and the importance of even or odd numbers of repeat units.
  • Assist students as they try the techniques.

Another technique sample class focuses on edge finishes.

  • Students should bring two square quilted sandwiches.
  • Using the first, teach students to create a symmetrical or asymmetrical undulating curved edge. Follow with a discussion of how to create bias binding. Students will bind this first sample.
  • Use the second quilted sandwich to teach a variety of corner techniques. Students will bind each corner in a different way (round, miter, facing, 1/4" and 1/8", etc.)

This style of class requires creativity on the part of the teacher. It allows the students to absorb information and ideas without the burden of preparing for and finishing a project.

  • Choose three or four different border and edge styles to create a one-day process class. You might teach borders in the morning, and edges in the afternoon. Once you've developed this class, it can also be broken into two half-day classes.
  • Bring both paper and fabric mock-ups, samples and actual quilts to class, and use them to define, explain and illustrate the techniques.
  • Students bring only paper and pencil for note taking to class. They may also bring their own quilts to class for border discussion IF THERE IS TIME.
  • I always begin this class by encouraging students to ask questions throughout the class, and reassuring them that they don't have to remember everything I'm saying, particularly when it comes to calculations involving numbers. They have easy access to all the information they'll need in my book.
  • To help plan your class, think of the questions most often asked by students. Choose just a few topics that are related. Here are a few ideas:
    • How do I design a curved edge for my quilt?
    • How do I figure out how to fit a pieced border to my quilt?
    • How do I change the size of my quilt to accommodate the pieced border I want to use?
    • What size are the side and corner triangles when I set my blocks on point?
    • What are corner triangle borders?
    • What are spacer borders?
    • How do I miter border prints to get mirror image corners?
    • How do I measure my border units to know they will fit my quilt?
    • How do I miter binding?
    • How do I connect the ends of binding?
    • How do I achieve 90-degree corners?
    • What is a scale drawing and how do I do one?

Introduction to Borders, Bindings & Edges
This 6-hour process/lecture class includes a lunch break
This is a NO-SEW class — All skill levels welcome

Description: Would you like to bring your next quilt to a beautiful conclusion? A special border or edge treatment might be just what it needs. Bring only pencil and paper, and listen, learn, and ask all your questions without having to work on a project in class!

In the morning, students will learn how to design, calculate, and fit pieced borders, corner triangle borders, narrow borders, and spacer borders to their quilts.

In the afternoon, students will learn how to create bias and straight grain binding, miter binding, design a curved edge, and connect the ends of binding.


Please feel free to contact me for more information about how I prepare, how to create visual aids, or if you would like me to teach for your shop or event.