Making French Braid.

Earlier this year, one of us at Always Quilting celebrated a significant birthday and the rest of  the staff  “plotted and schemed”   to make a surprise gift, a patchwork bag. http://alwaysquilting.wordpress.com/2012/08/03/birthday-surprise/ 

As you will see from that blog post, the birthday bag consisted of  three different panels, one of which was a French Braid.

Completed Birthday Bag

I had never made French Braid before, but the process is really easy, and once you have mastered the basic technique, you can use this little border in your projects, to great effect.

First of all you need to cut your strips, usually lots of them!  The size will be determined by your project and the size of the finished border, but a good rule of thumb is to make them approximately three times as long as they are wide.  For the bag, I cut my strips 4 1/2 inches by 1 1/4 inches.

Sewing the first seam.

With right sides together, sew the end of one strip to the side of another strip as shown above.  Finger press the seam to one side.

From now on you will be sewing along the side of the strips.  Now sew  the next strip in place along its side.

Adding the third strip.

Continue adding strips in this fashion on alternating sides until you have the length you require.

Adding strips on alternating sides.

Finish with an even number of strips i.e. the same number on each side.

I finger press as I go and press with the iron every so often, to ensure that I am turning each strip back firmly before sewing the next strip in place.

The piece is growing.

When the piece is long enough, you can use your ruler and rotary cutter to trim off the uneven edges along each side, giving the border width you desire.

And that’s all there is to it!

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