Free Video Tip: How To Quilt a Secondary Curve In Your Border Design

Kimmy Brunner instructs the new online quilting class, Machine Quilting with Templates: Creating Design Perfection. It’s loaded with all kinds of fantastic lessons about how to use different templates to create incredible machine quilted designs. Check out the free tip below, and get a 25% discount on Machine Quilting with Templates: Creating Design Perfection.

Video transcript:

Hi, I’m Kimmy Brunner, and I’m an instructor with I’d like to show you my favorite way to use templates to help me lay out a cool, curving spine design that I can fill in with any kind of freehand design that I wish: feathers, leaves, anything I want will go really, really well with this curly, curvy spine design.

To stitch this out, you’re going to need a couple different templates, a medium circle, a small circle, a ruler that will help you mark out simple guidelines, and a chalk pencil. My preference is to use one of the mechanical pencils that give you a nice, fine, crisp line.

Let me show you how to do your layout.

We’ll start, first, by figuring out how much room you’re going to need to stitch whatever design element you’re going to use between the bottom of your spine and the edge of your space to be filled. So if you’re going to stitch out leaves, how much space do you need to stitch a nicely shaped leaf? Do you need an inch, do you need two inches, can you do it in half an inch? Once you’ve figured out that size you’re going to need, you’re going to chalk out some simple guidelines.

In this case, I’m going to stitch feathers, and I’m going to need an inch between the bottom of my spine and the edge of my space. So I’m going to chalk a nice, crisp guideline that is one inch above the seam line that connects my border to the body of my quilt. I’m going to chalk that at the bottom of my border space, and at the top. Remember, you have to allow an extra quarter of an inch for your binding seam allowance. So that top guideline will actually be an inch and a quarter in from your space to be filled. And you’re going to want to chalk a miter line from the outside corner to the inside corner. Then you will take your larger circle template, lay it down right along that miter line so that it butts up against the outer two chalked guidelines, and you’re just going to chalk right around that circle about three quarters of the way around. That fills your corner nicely.

Then you’ll grab your smaller circle. Lay it down so that the bottom of that circle rests right on the bottom guideline you chalked. Chalk up and around. Shift your template over. Since this one came down and around going up, this one will have the top of the circle laying on the top guideline, and your chalk will go up and around and down. Shift it over again, rest the bottom of the circle on the bottom guideline. Under and over. Shift the circle again. Line it up so the top of the circle is on the top guideline and chalk up and around. This gives you a beautiful chalked guideline that fills in that corner nicely and curls up and down, up and down along the length of your border, from corner to center. And you go to the other corner, you do the same thing coming from that corner towards the middle. When you’ve got your guidelines chalked out, you’re just going to come back in and stitch along those guidelines to create your spine. You don’t have to hit the guidelines right on. Nobody will know if you bobble a little bit this way or that way. Stitch along those guidelines, and then come back in and fill that spine in with whatever you want to fill it with. In this case, I’m going to use feathers and it’s going to look really great when I’m done.

I hope you’ve found this tip to be useful. Happy quilting! If you want to learn more about using templates, take my class at It’s called Machine Quilting with Templates: Creating Design Perfection. Thanks and happy quilting!

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