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Making Quilt Borders

Did you ever wonder why your quilt borders don’t lay flat? Or why the longarmer had to make tucks and folds in your borders? We call this “waffling” or puckering. This issue can easily be avoided if the borders are measured and applied properly. So here are some instructions on how to apply perfect borders. It is a quilter's choice whether to apply the side borders first or the top/bottom borders first. For these instructions, we will be applying the side borders first and then the top and bottom, or end borders second. Here you go:

1. Before cutting and adding any borders, lay your Quilt Top out on a flat surface so that you can make accurate measurements.

2. For the side borders, Measure 3 different places along the length of the quilt (top to bottom). These may not be exactly the same, so calculate the average of the 3 measurements. Cut your 2 side borders exactly to that averaged length measurement.

3. CAUTION: Do NOT measure or cut the top and bottom (end) borders yet, not until the side borders have been applied.

4. To prepare the 2 side borders, fold them in half (end to end) and place a pin at that halfway mark. Now fold that half-length again and pin at that mark which will be your ¼ mark (and ¾ mark). You may need to do this several times depending on how long your borders are.

5. Now fold and mark the sides of your Quilt Top the same way you did with the borders in step 4.

6. With right sides together pin the borders to the sides of the Quilt Top by matching your pin markers. Where there is too much fullness on either the border or the Quilt Top, use several more pins to ease in that fullness so that you don’t have any tucks or folds.

7. NOTE: Remember that you are the creator and “boss” of this quilt, the fabric is not. So you are making the borders fit your Quilt Top!

8. IMPORTANT: Once the side borders are sewn on, press the seams toward the borders.

9. Now for the top and bottom borders: Measure at least 3 different places across the width of the Quilt Top (side to side). These measurements will include measuring across both side borders you just added. Again, these measurements may not be exactly the same, so calculate the average of the 3 measurements. Cut your top and bottom borders exactly to this averaged measurement.

10. Follow the same instructions given in steps 4, 5 and 6 above.

11. Once the top and bottom borders are sewn on, press the seams toward the borders (or outward).

12. When all the borders are on and pressed, lay the Quilt Top out on a flat surface. It should lay completely flat and your longarmer will love you!!!!

I hope this helps! Good luck!!!!


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