It is very important that:

  1. The border fabric is cut to the correct length
  2. The border fabric is placed and sewn evenly along the centre of the quilt.

If the border is too long, then the sides of the quilt will be wavy, and if the border is too short or tight, the middle of the quilt will bubble. If the border is not sewn evenly along the centre of the quilt, it will cause waviness in some places and tightness in others.

The following instructions are for short lengths/long widths; however, the basic principles apply to whichever type of border you are attaching.

Step 1 - Cutting the border fabric to the correct length

Measure the centre of the quilt at the ¼, halfway, and ¾ points along the length of the quilt. If these measurements are not the same, work out the average by adding the three measurements together, and dividing by three.

Cut the border fabric to the measured length. This can be done by using a tape measure, the lines on your cutting board, or if you are really confident, and the three measurements are the same, by laying the border fabric across your quilt top through the centre.

Why don't we measure the sides of the quilt centre?

We don't measure the sides of the quilt as that is where there is the most likelihood of distortion or stretching in the quilt top. This is why you should never cut your strips of border fabric and simply sew them to the quilt centre, cutting the excess at the end.

Step 2 - Attaching the length border to the quilt

Find the centre of the quilt top, and the centre point of the border by folding them in half, and mark with pins. (If the quilt top is large you may also need to mark the ¼ and ¾ points as well).

Match the start, end and middle points of the quilt top and border and pin.

Evenly pin the border to the quilt top placing pins around 3 to 4 inches apart.

Carefully sew together easing any fullness carefully and evenly.

If there is excessive fullness, check all your measurements again before attaching the border

Step 3 - Attaching the width border to the quilt

With the length borders already attached, repeat steps 1 and 2 to attach the width borders