Foolproof Flanges!

by Christine Barnes

What a glorious few months we’ve had, with lovely fall color, bright-blue skies, and three decent storms. I was in Lakeport, CA, with the Ladies of the Lake Quilt Guild last weekend and had a wonderful time. From there I went to Mendocino on the north coast to visit my aunt and uncle. (He’s the one who taught me so much about color.) I drove home via the Napa Valley and made a stop at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, just outside St. Helena. It was once Christian Brothers Winery, and it has kept every bit of its grand style. There’s lots to see—three restaurants, daily tours, an amazing gift shop. I recommend a field trip!Christian BrothersDuring my trunk show for the guild, I mentioned that my Lustrous Squares II quilt was in the September issue of American Quilter magazine. (I’ve seen that issue on eBay.)  After the program, several ladies said they’d like to know how I do flanges. So, I thought, what a perfect topic for a short blog post. Here’s the quilt:    Lustrous Squares II copy People have assumed that the skinny red strips are narrow borders, but I prefer flanges. My biggest tip? Practice first!

• Spray your fabric liberally with Best Press before you cut the strips; then press. This step is crucial to keeping the flanges straight and stable.

• Cut the strips 1″ wide and 1½” longer than the finished dimension of the block or other piece you’re working on.

• Fold each strip lengthwise, wrong sides together, and press. Be precise—it counts!

• Attach your walking foot if you have one and set your stitch length for a bit longer than the default stitch.

• Attach the flanges to the right and left edges first. Right sides together, with the flange underneath the block, stitch through all layers, keeping the raw edges aligned. No need to pin. If your flange is a contrast color, you’ll find it very easy to keep the edges aligned. Trim the ends flush with the edges of the block. Print• Repeat on the upper and lower edges.

AQ 9a, flangesBelow is the center block in my quilt. I like the hint of intense color the flanges add, and the way they separate the blocks from the center block with flange, LS IIAnd that’s it! Stitching with the flange underneath was much more successful than stitching with it on top. One last tip: avoid quilting over the flanges because you want them to keep their “free” character.

Two more pics of favorite places, the Anderson Valley near Philo on Highway 128, with miles and miles of colorful vineyards:Vineyards near PhiloAnd my favorite wearable art store, The Great Put On, in Mendocino. I want this shawl!The Great Put OnThat’s it for now. I hope you’ll try accenting your blocks with flanges, and when you do, send me a photo. Have a great Thanksgiving, friends and followers!

p.s. As of today, I have twenty-three “Grunge” semi-solids in my website Store. You might like to take a look. And my UPS guy (one of my many boyfriends) just delivered a big shipment of Gelato ombrés. Fabric makes a great holiday gift . . .

4 thoughts on “Foolproof Flanges!

  1. Hi Christine,
    Do you press the first 2 flanges outwards before adding the next 2? And then fold them back in before adding the borders? Can’t figure it out…

    • Therese, I’m still smiling about your wise comment that “pleasure is a nutrient.” And I will probably be quoting you many times in the future (especially when eating something decadent). Hope to see you soon, too. >

  2. Helen, I’m so sorry about the confusion! Thank you for writing, because there are bound to be others who have questions. You don’t press any of the flanges outward. The folded strips are stitched to the block edges with their folds toward the center of the block and their raw edges aligned. They are like a double, folded layer of fabric. Then when you add a sashing strip (or other kind of border) to the block, the folded flange is “sandwiched” between the block and sashing strip. So, on the quilt top, the folded edges of the flanges just peek out from the seam and lie flat against the block. It’s kind of like adding piping to a seam, only there is no cord. Please write again is that doesn’t clarify things. You might also Google “adding flanges to a quilt block” and see a demo on YouTube or elsewhere.

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