How to Attach Quilt Borders
One of the last jobs to complete when you’re making a quilt is to add the border strips. It’s not my favorite part of the process but I’ve learned to do it so that I have good results. I dislike measuring long border strips for my quilts, so here’s how I cheat to get my border strips to the right length. This method helps avoid unsightly wavy borders which do not lie flat, which is what you get when the border strips are longer than the edges of the quilt.
If you have enough fabric to cut the borders lengthwise (along the selvage), cut 2 border strips to the proper width and a few inches longer than the sides of the quilt center. If you plan to cut the borders crosswise (from selvage to selvage), cut as many strips as you need and join them end to end with diagonal seams. Then cut 2 strips a few inches longer than the sides of the quilt center. Square up one end of both strips.
Fold the quilt top in half along the vertical center as shown above. Place the squared-up ends even with the bottom of the quilt. Both border strips are lying on top of the folded quilt, with the bottom raw edges even.
Slide a cutting mat under the border strips at the top of the quilt.
Cut the border strips even with the top raw edge of the quilt. In the photo above, I’m ready to cut along the left side of the ruler.
Then, matching the centers and the ends, sew the side borders to the quilt. If I’ve sewn accurately, the borders pretty much fit the sides of the quilt. If I need to ease in some fullness, the longer piece goes on the bottom, next to the feed dogs. I don’t ease more than half an inch or so on a big quilt. If there is more than that, I back up and fix whatever caused the problem.
Now do the same thing to measure the top and bottom borders. In the photo above, I have folded the quilt, with its side borders, along the horizontal center.
Square up one end of the last two border strips, and place them on top of that fold as shown above. The fold is peeking out on the right side of the picture.
Cut off the excess so that the top and bottom border strips are the same width as the quilt top as shown above. Matching the centers and ends, sew the top and bottom borders to the quilt.
All four borders have been added to the quilt center. You can see that I made these borders extra wide because I planned to scallop the outside edges, and for that you have to allow extra width and also some wiggle room.
I hope this method of adding borders to a quilt will help your quilts lie nice and flat, as they should. Thanks for visiting Stash Bandit! Quilt on.
Thanks Diane. I have never been good at getting my borders to lie flat because I never did the measuring thing. I’m going to try this on my next big quilt.
Way to go, Diane. I even will divide on to quarter but that is just me.