Cutting Border Strips

Have you ever cut a border strip and added it without cutting the border strip to length?

I am sure everyone has done this at least once in their quilting life, but do you know why this is not good practice?

When you cut a border strip any length and just stitch it to your quilt, the border strip can be stretched with the pressure foot as you sew it in place. This sometimes happens even using a walking foot without us realizing it. After the seam is sewn, the fabric relaxes again and the outer edge actually ends up shorter than it should be. This can create waves in the border.

So what is the correct way to add borders to your quilt?

You should always cut your borders to the correct length before attaching them.

This way you can match the ends and middle of each strip with the quilt top. Yes, it does take a little longer, but the results are worth it.

You should also know that you do not measure along the side of your quilt to find the length. Often with the piecing, the fabric can stretch so you should measure through the middle, preferably along one seam if at all possible. This is the place you will less likely have any stretching. By measuring through the middle, you can take the average measurement between the two sides so that once the border is attached it will relax back into its regular shape. If you do not do this, often you will result in wavy borders that will not lay flat no matter how much starch you use.

For very large quilts, you can measure in the middle and also at the quarter points, then work out the average and use this measurement to cut the strips for your borders.