Finishing School III - Border it!

Posted by deonnstott on Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

Finishing School  III ~  Border it!

Sugar & Spice Mitered Border   
Featuring Riley Blake Designs "Sugar & Spice" by the Quilted Fish

Have you ever added a border to a quilt that looked ruffly, like cooked bacon?
How about a border that is sewn so tight, your quilt resembles a dome tent?
Let's talk about getting our quilt square, and take a look at adding a beautiful border to frame to your gorgeous quilt, with a focus on Mitered Borders!

Ready?  Let's Quilt!

Deonn @ Quiltscapes    


*An UN-bordered quilt top or panel
*Fabric yardage for borders
*6" x 24" Ruler with a 45-degree angle marking line
* Rotary cutting equipment (mat, cutter, etc)

If you are just joining us,
Check out prior Quilting Basics Tutorials
HERE → Building Blocks/Finishing School


Construction Lessons: 
Square it!

Factors to get and keep your quilt square:

1) Cutting  2) Stitching  3) Pressing  4) Re-Trimming
If your blocks are square, your quilt will be

Border it!

  • Trim edges and corners square to prepare your quilt center for borders.
  • Find side dimensions of quilt by measuring lengthwise through the quilt center, (not along the edges, since they may stretch).  Take three measurements and average them to determine the length to cut your side borders.  Cut both borders the same measurement.
  • Attach side borders to quilt by pinning at the ends and the center, and easing in any fullness.  Press seam toward borders.
  • Find top/bottom dimensions of your quilt by measuring across the quilt and side borders.  Cut both borders.
  • Attach top and bottom borders to quilt, pinning as you did side borders.  Press seams toward outer edge of quilt.
Frame it! (Mitered Borders)
Follow these simple steps to add Mitered Borders to "Frame" your quilt.
In piecing our quilts, we are very careful to measure, cut then stitch.
This "cut first" method of adding Mitered Borders creates even,
accurate borders that lie flat every time!
  • Piece Border Strips
    Mitered Borders
    If you are making multiple mitered borders, the miter is cut all at once through all borders.   Machine-piece all border strips together in the order and widths you desire.  Be sure to allow enough fabric when you plan and cut your border strips. 

    The length of these strips is measured by the length of your quilt, plus twice the width of your border strips.  Add an extra two or more inches for insurance.  Measure the width the same way:

    QUILT LENGTH plus (2 x BORDER WIDTH) plus 2" to 3"

    QUILT WIDTH plus (2 x BORDER WIDTH) plus 2" to 3"
  • Measure Borders

    MEASURE the length of the quilt.  Take measurements through the center and near the edge, but not right at the edge where it can stretch.  Record the average of your measurements, then subtract the seam allowances on both ends -- minus 1/2".   This is your LENGTH MEASUREMENT to use when marking your stitching line for the miter.  Repeat to calculate width.


  • Mark Borders
    FOLD border or pieced border to mark the center.  PRESS, finger-press or mark with your favorite marking tool.  Working with one border at a time, place wrong side up, with the inside edge of the border toward you.  Divide the length or width measurement in half and begin measuring from the center mark toward the border end. 

    MEASURE an equal amount on each side of the center mark, and place a DOT or small mark exactly 1/4" from the inside cut edge of the border strip assembly on both ends.  I usually draw a little X cross hatch.  This is the point to match the seamline corners of the quilt top. Mitered Borders  

    RE-CHECK measurement by measuring from one dot to the other.  If the measurement is the same as your quilt minus the seam allowance of 1/2", this is the correct measurement.

    ALIGN ruler on border strips, with the 45-degree angle facing away from you.  DRAW a line with your marking tool.  This is your STITCHING line.
    Mark 45-degree Stitching Line

    Slide ruler 1/4" toward the outside ends of the border, then draw another line.  This is the CUTTING line.   (Do not cut until both ends have been measured, marked and measured again to double-check.)  Repeat steps for each border.
    Mitered Borders

  • Cut Miter Angles
    CUT each border on the cutting line angles using your rotary blade and ruler.

  • Stitch Borders to Quilt
    MARK the corners of your quilt top.  Measure 1/4" from each edge at the corners and make a small X.  This will match up with your X on the border strips.
    Mitered Borders

    PIN through the dots to anchor in position, then hold in place and insert a pin next to the anchor pin.  Remove the anchor pin, then match centers and pin along the length of the quilt as necessary.

    Mitered Borders  

    STITCH borders to quilt, using accurate 1/4" seam allowances.  Add borders one at a time, beginning and ending at the dots and BACKSTITCH at each start and stop.

  • Stitch Miters
    FOLD the quilt in half diagonally, bringing raw edges of border/quilt seam together.  MATCH the dots near the border/quilt seam, then align the seam intersections of border strips, and the outside edge; PIN well. 
    STITCH 1/4" seam (marked line) beginning at the inside seam, about one stitch away from the dot to avoid catching the quilt.  Take a few stitches, then BACKSTITCH.  Sew carefully and slowly, removing pins as you sew.  BACKSTITCH again at outside edge.
Mitered Borders

PRESS corner seams OPEN; press border seams toward the outside edge.  This will produce accurate borders with a very neat miter.
Mitered Borders
mitered borders
 Throw Me a  Curve  quilt pattern by Deonn Stott

I love that "picture frame" look that a mitered corner gives to a quilt,
especially with a stripe print.  Here's another example.  
mitered borders             Mitered stripe border featuring Riley Blake Designs' "Sublime" by Doohikey Designs

Here's another example of a mitered border to join a floral pattern or print.  You can see the whole quilt → HERE .
mitered borders Mitered and rounded corner featuring Riley Blake Designs "Isabella " by Lila Tueller

Next month - let's explore some quilting possibilities!

Questions?  Leave a note below or send an → Email .

I'd love to have you stop by my BLOG for a visit, where you can follow along, or subscribe to be notified of new patterns, posts, giveaways and more free tutorials!

Happy Quilting!

Categories: Quilts, Sewing Basics


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