Saturday, March 16, 2013

Checkered Border Tutorial

A checkered border may look like you need to cut a few hundred tiny squares and sew them together but there is an easier way!

My border is using 1 1/4" squares in lights and darks.
Photo of pattern picture
I am using the background fabric for my light squares and a charm pack for my dark or colored squares. I am cutting 1 1/4" strips from the background scraps (you may cut them wider and trim after sewing) Then I'm cutting each strip to a length of about 5 1/4" (the approximate length of my charm squares). You could use strips the width of the fabric for both the light and the colored squares. I'm using charm squares to get a wide variety of color.

charm squares and background fabric strips
Sew one strip to each charm square right sides together, matching the long side of the light strip to one side of the charm square. Use 1/4" seams throughout. Press the seams toward the dark which will be the charm square. 
Strip sewn to charm square. Seam pressed toward charm square.
Now trim each piece. Both the background strip and the charm square strip should be 1" from seam. Also be sure the ends are even.
Cut 1 inch from seam
Strip after cutting
Trim ends even
Sew a few of these trimmed pieces together. I sewed 8 of these pieces together (a total of 16 strips) because I thought that was easy to work with. You may want to use a different number. A rule I follow is the longer the strips, the less I sew together. So if my strips are the width of the fabric, I would only sew 4 - 6 together for a block.
Be sure to alternate dark strips and light strips
Block of 16 strips
Carefully press the seams to the darker fabric. 
Press seams towards the darker fabric
 Keep the finished piece straight. You may want to use Best Press (my preference) or a spray starch.
Use Best Press or starch
Now, going across the stripes, cut 1 1/4" strips. 

Carefully line up ruler
Strips cut
Assemble the border, alternating strips that have different fabrics. 
Layout strips for the checkered border
If you put two of the same strips together or it you use a small number of fabrics, this can still look random. Just turn some of the strips.
Same 2 strips next to each other! 
When you sew the pieces together for the border, the seams will nest nicely together if you pressed correctly.


  1. Great idea! So much easier to do that border. Thanks for sharing!

  2. This is SO MUCH easier than cutting all those small blocks and then sewing them all together.

  3. Great idea and so much easier



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