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How to Attach Borders to Your Quilt

Attaching borders to your quilt is an important part of finishing your quilt top.  If borders are not attached correctly, you may find the edges are wavy and do not lay flat.  Wavy borders may cause tucks and/or puckers when quilted.  Wavy borders are caused by extra fabric in the borders.  One reason extra fabric may end up in the borders is not measuring the quilt top.  Pinning the fitted borders to the quilt top will also help the problem of the feed dogs pulling extra fabric in on the bottom fabric.

Pieced borders

  • If you need to piece the fabric to fit the length of your quiltBorder Seam, make the seam at an angle.  This will be less noticeable.

    • Anchor all seams that will remain on the outside of the border.  As the quilt is handled, seams on the border will become loose and may pop open if not secured.
    • If your border is made of pieced blocks, for example, flying geese, stay-stitch all the way around the edge of the quilt at 1/8 of an inch.  This will prevent the seams from pulling apart.  Stitching within 1/8 inch will fall inside the binding.
    Measuring the Quilt Top

    Measure the quilt top across the center and each side.  Take the average of these 3 measurements.  This is the size of your border. 

    LEFT EDGE =____ RIGHT EDGE=____ CENTER =____ TOTAL of the 3=______

    AVERAGE OF TOTAL=_____ (This is the length of your border.)

    Measure 3 Places

    Mark the length of your border so that you have the average measurement (from above) between your marks and enough fabric to cover both edges of the quilt.

    Attaching the Borders

    Fold the quilt in half and mark both sides of the quilt top at the center. Fold the border piece, matching mark to mark and place a pin at the center.  Do this for both border pieces.  Now, with right sides together, match the center of the quilt top with the center of the border strip and pin them together at the center.  Next, pin together at each corner.  Then continue pinning the border to the quilt top.  Ease in any difference evenly through the whole length.  Sew the border in place with ¼ seam allowance.

    Attach Borders


    After sewing on the first set of borders, press the seams.  Seams should be pressed toward the dark fabric.  Trim off any excess fabric at the ends.  Use a ruler to be sure the ends are square.


    Repeat this process to measure and attach the opposite borders.