Nancy Rink Blog

Quilt maker, pattern designer, fabric dyer, and lover of all things quilting.

Tweet Friends Blog Post #6: How to Make Borders Fit and Lay Flat


Technique: How to Make Borders Fit and Lay Flat

A quilt that lays flat with nicely squared borders is a thing of beauty.  And, although pattern designers like myself provide border measurements, sometimes due to sewing differences and handling of the quilt top, those border measurements don't quite match those of your quilt.

So here are some steps to assure that your borders fit your quilt.

quilt measuring

1. Always measure your quilt vertically and horizontally through the quilt's center. Don't measure at the outside edge. 

2. Cut two border strips that match the measurement exactly, using the width specified in the quilt pattern. Borders made with crosswise grain strips are somewhat stretchier than lengthwise grain border strips, but either type is suitable. Conside starching crosswise grain borders to give them a bit more stability.

3. Fold one of the borders in half crosswise to find its midpoint and finger crease it at that spot. Find the quilt's horizontal midpoint and crease it, too.

4. Align the border with side of the quilt, right sides together and midpoints matched. Pin through both layers at the creased midpoint.

5. Continue pinning the border to the entire side of the quilt. If you need to ease in fullness, do your best to distribute it along the length of the border by pinning at close intervals.

6. Sew the border to the quilt with a quarter inch seam allowance, removing pins as the needle approaches them. If you are easing in fullness, sew with the longest piece next to the feed dogs or use a walking foot.

7. Avoid pulling or tugging at the border because doing so can distort it.

8. Press seam allowance after adding each border.

9. Repeat this process on ALL borders.

The Process of Designing a Block of the Month Quil...
On the Radio with Pat Sloan