Piano Keys border Tutorial

My sister and I have combined to make this piano key border such as the one she put on her music quilt.

 

close up of piano key border, with black fringe on the bottom. Musical instruments, notes, and colors are in blocks above the border.

I asked Rachael to write up the steps she took to make this border.

-First thing she did was to go and take a picture of the keyboard-

real piano keys on a real piano. These keys are black and wite on a black paino, which could be a baby grand paino. The keys appear dirty if viewed close enough

1.       Cut 6.5” long and 1.5” wide white pieces equivalent to as many inches as my quilt. I believe it was 63” long and 45” wide at that point, so I cut 63x2 and 45x2 pieces of 1.5"x 6.5" white strips for my piano keys. I undoubtedly cut a few extras, as I didn’t want to run out.

2.       Sewed 65 pieces of white 1.5" x 6.5” pieces together, creating one continuous keyboard for each of the two sides..

White fabric is being sewn upon itself on top of a white sewing machine random fabric is visible in the background.

3.       Sewed 45 pieces of white 1.5"x6” pieces together, creating one continuous keyboard for each of the top and bottom.

4.       Spent forever and 25 years pressing each of the seams open. I finger pressed before using the hot iron.

Rachael pressing open border. Previously sewn white fabric is being pressed on a whit ironing board with an iron. Three different sheets of white sewn fabric is visiable.

5.       I drew a line using washable yellow Crayola marker on my continuous stretch of white keys to give me a spot where I could butt up my piano keys, which was going to sew (Applique) on to the top of the white strip of keys. I measured up 2.5" from one edge and drew. This was arbitrary, but I was trying to get the look of a keyboard.) I was aiming for about a 4" black key.

white fabric with draw line down the center between two halfs of the white fabric. A 2 inch strip of white fabric is visible in the background.

6.       I had purchased some 5/8” wide grosgrain, 100% cotton black ribbon to use as the piano keys themselves. I cut bunches and bunches of them about 5.5" long.. Becky said originally I had to iron up the bottom edge. After seeing how I was going to burn myself or else otherwise be unsuccessful, I opted for finger pressing as I sewed.

7.       Checking to be 100% sure that my keyboard looked like a real piano, I started sewing black ribbon pieces onto the white keys, centering the ribbon in the middle of two white keys just as on a real keyboard. I used black thread and sewed just as close as I could to the edge of the black ribbon.

8.       I put on two 2 black keys, then left one blank, and three black keys.

keyboard while being sewn on. Whit fabric background has black fabric strips sewn to the white fabric sewn along the yellow line from the previous photo.

9.       I did this all the way down my strip of 65 white strips and 45 white strips (x2)

 Fold the ends of the keys UNDER so there are no raw edges. Line the ends up with the yellow line you drew.

Fold the ends of the keys UNDER so there are no raw edges. Line the ends up with the yellow line you drew.

 Close up of the black stitching on the black ribbon. 

Close up of the black stitching on the black ribbon. 

10.       Then I prepared my 6.5” black cornerstones. I located some musical instruments and learned to applique onto solid bl

Musical patch of a piano is being sewn to the back of black fabric. The patch in and of itself has a piano keyboard around its border.

11.       Then, I sewed one applique to one end of my white keyboard and measured out how long my quilt was, subtracting for the other end cornerstone piece I had created. I sewed that cornerstone on, and pressed it flat. Then I carefully pinned the piano keys to the edge of the quilt, so it wouldn’t stretch or flair or do funny things.

sewing on border.jpg

12.       Then, I stitched the piano keys to the body of the quilt along the long sides. Put the keys next to the body of the quilt.

13       Then I stay stitched around the edges to keep the keys from separating while I worked with the binding.

 My sis left a little leftover piece for me.to add to my scraps. This is it.  Thought you'd like to see the back.

My sis left a little leftover piece for me.to add to my scraps. This is it.  Thought you'd like to see the back.

 

The critical measurements are -

  • each white key is cut 1.5"x6.5". You will need as many as your quilt is long since they finish at 1". So if your quilt is 66" long, you will need 66 white keys.
  • each black key is cut about 5.5" long and used 5/8" wide cotton ribbon
  • Measure up 2.5" from the edge of the white keys that are sewn together in a strip and draw a line with an erasable or water soluble marker to give you a line to help keep the edges of your black keys even as you sew.

And yes! The Crayola washable markers came out in the first wash.

So now you know! I hope you enjoy making your own true piano key border!

Becky PetersenComment