Avoiding Wavy Borders

  • In order to know how long to cut your border fabric, you must fold your quilt in half length-wise (side to side) and measure the center of the quilt from top to bottom. This measurement is the length you will cut your side borders. Fold the border strip in quarters (fold in half, then half again) and mark with pins. Do the same on side of your quilt – fold in quarters and place pins. Next match the pins from the quilt to the pins on the binding strip and pin along the quilt easing in any excess fabric as you go. Repeat this for the other side.
  • For top and bottom borders, repeat these steps folding the quilt in half top to bottom to find the center of the quilt and measure the width at the center. This will be the measurement of the top and bottom borders. Repeat steps above, easing in fullness if necessary.
  • The ideal way to cut your borders is to cut them length of grain (parallel to the selvedge edge of fabric). Cut the selvedge edge off first, and then cut your length of border. This uses a bit more fabric, but is worth it in the end. The fibers won’t stretch nearly as much as if you cut them width of fabric and pieced them.
  • Whether you cut your borders length of fabric or if you cut them width of fabric (42”) and piece them, please DO NOT start sewing the borders on the quilt and then cut them off at the ends. By doing this, you are adding several inches of excess border to the quilt because the feed dogs are stretching the border fabric as you sew it on. This is a huge problem for long arm quilters because it creates wavy borders that are next to impossible to quilt. The borders either need to be removed and re-sewn on correctly (which increases your costs) or they will be quilted on top of leaving creases and puckers (and I can’t bring myself to quilt them and ruin an otherwise beautiful quilt!).