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    • Before adding borders to your quilt, give the top a good pressing before measuring for borders. Quilts can sometimes stretch near the outside, and if you use those measurements for borders, you’ll be adding in extra fabric that leads to wavy borders.  Do not leave it to your quilter to “quilt it out” – instead, measure correctly for your borders to bring your quilt back into square.

 

    • To add straight borders to your quilt, lay your quilt on a flat surface, and measure the length of the quilt at the center.   This center measurement represents the true size of your quilt.Write down this measurement, and  cut both side borders to this length, preferable on the lengthwise grain (which doesn’t stretch.) This will add strength & stability to your quilt top.

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    • Measure your quilt in two other places, closer to the outside edge than the center.  Compare this measurement to the measurement you took at the center.  Is the difference smaller than 3/4″? If so, then you can probably ease in the difference when you attach the border.  If it is larger than 3/4″, then you should check your piecing.  You may need to adjust a couple of seams in the outside blocks to bring the difference under 3/4″, either by letting the seams out, or by taking them in. If the difference is more than a couple of inches though, you will need to address other seams in the quilt top itself, so that you are not making the problem worse.  The best thing to do is to check your quilt for square as you are piecing it!

 

    • Fold the quilt in half and mark the center of each side with a pin.  Next, fold each edge to the center, and mark that fold with a pin. You will have three pins on each side of the quilt.

 

Repeat this same step on each border.  Pin the borders to each side, matching the three pins and the outside edges.  Continue pinning the borders to the quilt, distributing any difference between the quilt top length and the border length as you pin. 

 

    • To stitch the borders onto the quilt, you want whichever side had the longer length to be directly on top of your feed dogs.  So for example, if the outside edge of your quilt top was longer than the center measurement,  sew with the quilt top toward the feed dogs.  If the outside edge of your quilt top was smaller than your center measurement, sew with the border toward the feed dogs.   This will make your feed dogs do the work of easing in the extra fabric, without puckers or pleats.  Sew the borders to the quilt, and press the seams toward the border.

 

    • For the top and bottom borders, measure the width of the quilt at the center.  Cut the top and bottom borders to this length, as you did for the side borders.

 

    • Repeat all the same steps as you did for the side borders – measuring the quilt in two more places, determining whether you can ease the difference or need to adjust the seams, pinning the borders to the quilt, and stitching with the longer side toward the feed dogs.

 

 

 

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Now that you’ve taken the time to do this, by squaring your quilt top and measuring for borders correctly, any additional borders you want to add should be easier, and not require as much easing.  However, you will still want to repeat these steps for as many borders as you are planning to add, to make sure you are not cutting borders the wrong length or piecing your quilt out of square.