Sashing Sesh: Create Borders That Set Off Your Blocks

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Sashing doesn't just happen when you win a beauty pageant (congrats, btw!). If you love to quilt, you may be doing a lot of sashing, too.

Sashing, which is craft-speak for adding a strip of fabric between blocks or rows of a quilt, can set off your design, add another cool element to your piece and pull together the whole look (especially if you go with a single sashing fabric). On a purely practical note, sashing also lets you make your quilt bigger without requiring you to sew additional blocks. And you should have zero problems with that.

Sashing doesn't have a lot of rules. Your strips can be any width, from less than an inch for a mini quilt to several inches for a large quilt; just keep in mind that sashing looks best when it's in proportion to the size of your blocks. You can go with the same color as the background fabric in the blocks (to create a “floating” effect), choose a unifying color or opt for contrasting hue — all totally U2U!

How to Add a Simple Sashing to Your Quilt

1. Cut the Sashes

Measure the height of your quilt blocks, then cut out the sashing strips to fit.

2. Sew and Press

Sew the quilt blocks to the sashing strips, then press the seams toward the sashing.

3. Measure the Row

After sewing your blocks and sashing strips together into rows, you’ll need to measure the row width. Use that number to cut sashing strips for use between each quilt row.

If your strips aren’t long enough to span a whole row, piece strips together using a diagonal seam (which is less likely to stand out), then press these seams open on the back.

4. Add a Border (Optional)

Once you’ve finished sashing your quilt, consider whether or not you want to add an outer border (which will sit between the quilt and the binding). These borders can be solid, printed or even pieced, and can either match or contrast with your sashing.

How to Add Sashing with Posts

You can trick out your quilt even more by adding setting posts, or squares, between each strip of sashing. If you do this, you won’t need to cut long sashing strips to place between rows. Instead, the sashing between rows will be made up of your short sashing strips and square blocks (you’ll see how this works in a minute!).

The fabric you use for your posts should contrast with your sashing fabric, yet complement the whole look of the quilt. You can make posts out of a single fabric or create a pieced square, such as a nine-patch or quarter-square triangle block, that incorporates quilt-design elements.

1. Plan Ahead

Draw a quick sketch of your quilt layout; this will make it easy to count up the number of sashing strips and posts you will need to set your quilt together.

2. Sew

Sew your quilt blocks and sashing strips together, as above, then press seams toward the sashing strips.

3. Create Rows

Create sashing rows by sewing your strips and squares together (alternating sashing strips and sashing post blocks). Once that's done, sew these sashing rows between your quilt block rows. Then press seams toward the sashing strips.

As above, you can add an outer border to your quilt before binding if you want.

Isn't it amazing what a bit of sashing can do?

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Sashing Sesh: Create Borders That Set Off Your Blocks