Do you like flanges? Ever made one? Added a little nip of color tucked along the inside of a quilt border? They are easier than they look to make and give an elegant lift to a table runner, quilt or wall hanging.
What is a flange? A flange, in sewing terms, is a small folded strip added to a border or other edge. It is simpler to use a flange than to add piping, as no cording is required. It is also easier than trying to make a very narrow border and keep your seams super straight!
A flange can tone down a bright color grouping, or pump up a subtle palette. It adds interest, depth and focus to a project. A flange can subtly repeat a color already used in your project, or you can use a print that contains several colors in your project, or make it in a contrasting color. You can even use two or more different fabrics for a flange.
The most popular and my favorite width is the The 1/4” flange, which uses a 1” strip of fabric, folded wrong sides together (it is now 1/2” wide) and sewn to a border or project center edge. The next border seam uses 1/4”, leaving a 1/4” flange on your project. Flanges can be a bit wider, but I really like the 1/4” for most projects.
Tips for a tidy flange:
1. Starch your 1” strip well, before cutting is optimal, but after is okay, too. This helps your flange align nice and straight for sewing and to lie flat.
2. Use a 3/16” seam to attach your flange. Bigger than 1/8”, but smaller than 1/4”, so that your flange stitching doesn’t peek out when you add the next border.
3. Worried about a floppy flange on a wall hanging? Use MonoPoly or other invisible thread to blanket stitch around the folded edge of your flange. Your flange will be lie secure and the securing stiching won’t be noticed.
4. Do your math. A 1” flange strip folds to 1/2” and after stitching, gives you a 1/4” flange. The flange will also reduce the border or center that it is attached to by 1/4”, which may impact your quilting area or slightly change the look of your border.
Here is the project with added flange. Finished width of the flange is 1/4″.
Flanges are a marvel, providing a big impact for the amount of effort! It is one of my favorite tricks for adding an “artisan” touch to one of my projects.