How To Make A Quilt Border

Quilt borders are one of the most popular ways to add interest and dimension to your quilts, but they can be intimidating for beginners. That is why I have decided to break down some of the best methods to make or sew a quilt border on your quilts. 

A border is simply a strip of fabric that goes around the edge of your quilt top. It can be any width you want, from 1/4 inch wide up to 3 inches wide.

How To Make A Quilt Border

The length depends on how big your quilt is going to be. For example, if you are making a queen size quilt, you will need a longer border than if you were making a twin sized quilt.

Keep on reading to find out more!

Making The Border

There are two main types of quilt boards: straight-grain and bias-grain. Straight-grain borders run parallel to the selvage (the side seam) of your quilt. Bias-grain borders run at an angle with respect to the selvages.

If you are using a pre-cut piece of fabric as your border, it should be cut in half so that each end has a different color. This way, when you sew the pieces together, you don’t get any raw edges showing.

You may also choose to use a solid color or print for your border. If you do this, then you won’t need to cut it in half. Just remember to leave enough room between the border and the quilt top so that you can easily turn under the raw edges.

To start, lay out all of your fabrics onto your cutting mat. Make sure that there is plenty of space between them and that you are not overlapping more than necessary. Cut out all of your strips first before moving on to the next step.

Next, fold over the long sides of your border by about 2 inches. Pin these folded ends together. Then, stitch along the entire length of the border. You can either machine baste or hand stitch through both layers of fabric. Once you have stitched the border, carefully remove the pins.

Now, take your ruler and measure across the center of the border where you just finished stitching. Mark this spot on your fabric. Fold the border back in half so that it is now symmetrical. Repeat the process of pinning and stitching again.

Once you have done this twice, flip the border over and repeat the same steps. Continue until you have completed the full length of the border, leaving yourself enough room to turn under the raw edges of the border.

Once you have made your border, trim off any excess fabric. Now, you are ready to attach your border to your quilt!

There are three basic types of borders:

Solid Color Borders

These are great for adding dimension to your quilts. They work well for small projects like lap quilts, baby blankets and wall hangings.

Printed Borders 

These are perfect for larger projects such as king, queen, and double bed size quilts. They are also good for adding a pop of color to your quilts.

Striped Borders 

These are the easiest types of borders to create. Simply pick a striped fabric and cut it into strips. When choosing which direction to go with your stripes, think about what kind of look you would like your quilt to have. 

For example, if your quilt is going for a vintage feel, go with vertical stripes. On the other hand, if you are looking for something modern, try horizontal stripes.

When attaching your border to your project, I recommend sewing the border directly to the backing fabric. That way, you will avoid having to deal with any fraying issues later on down the road.

Methods To Sew Borders

The best way to sew a quilt border is to sew from one corner to another. Start in the bottom right corner and pull up a strip of fabric. Stitch around the edge of the fabric, making sure to keep your stitches close together.

Continue doing this until you reach the opposite corner. Next, move to the left side of the fabric and continue pulling up the fabric. This time, however, instead of stitching around the edge of the piece, simply press the seam allowances toward the outside of the quilt.

Continue repeating this process until you have sewn all four corners of the quilt. Once you have sewn all the corners, simply trim off any extra fabric.

If you want to add some finishing touches to your quilt, you can use a variety of techniques. One of my favorite ways to finish a quilt is to use a zigzag stitch. By using this technique, you’ll be able to give your quilt an old-fashioned appearance without spending a lot of money.

As a beginner, this may sound super daunting-so I have broken down the methods you can use to sew the borders, step-by-step. 

Simple Borders

These borders are great for beginners because they require minimal skills to complete. First thing is first, you need to decide how wide the border width will be, and you will need to calculate how big the border size will be.

Then you will need to decide the length of your side strips-usually you will add a seam allowance of a 1/4 of an inch and then cut two strips of this length. 

Top And Bottom Border Calculator

If your quilt is made up of 4 by 3 blocks wide, then add the measurement of the width of the 3 blocks to the width of the side borders plus your allowance for seams. This total length will be quite long, so if you don’t have enough fabric, you can always stitch all kinds of fabric together to make it up. 

Otherwise, another way of calculating it, is to sew all of your blocks together, measure those lengths and add a seam allowance to the length and width of the strips, respectively.

For The Simple Border

All you need to do is find a solid colored fabric (or two) and then follow these simple steps:

Step 1

Cut out a rectangle measuring 2 inches by the width of your fabric.

Step 2

Fold the fabric in half, wrong sides facing each other.

Step 3

Pin the fabric in place along the top edge of the quilt. Make sure that the fold line faces upward.

Step 4

Using a zipper foot, sew along the folded edge of the fabric.

Step 5

Repeat Steps 3 and 4 for the second piece of fabric.

Step 6

Trim away any excess fabric.

Step 7

Press the seams open.

Step 8

Attach the borders to the back of your quilt.

Mitered Borders

The miter border is a very popular choice among quilters. It gives the quilt a professional look and makes it easy to see what’s going on with the quilt.

There are many different types of miter borders, but I prefer them when they’re done freehand as opposed to machine pieces.

If you choose to use a freehand method, you’ll need to know where you want the ends of the borders to meet.

You’ll also need to know the length of your side strip. Again, you will need to add a seam allowance to both the length and width of your side strip. For example, if you’re making a 6 block wide quilt, you would add 1/4 of an inch to the width of the borders and the length of the side strip.

Once you’ve calculated everything, simply draw a line from corner to corner (45-degree angle) and start cutting!

Once you’ve drawn your lines, you’ll need to cut the fabric into four equal pieces. Each of these pieces should be about 5 inches longer than the length of one of the borders.

Then you’ll need to join the pieces together. Start at one end and pin the fabric right sides together. Sew across the entire width of the fabric.

When you get to the last stitch, stop sewing and turn the fabric inside out. Now you can press the seam allowances toward the center of the fabric. Next, take the remaining three pieces of fabric and repeat the process.

Cornerstone Borders

This type of border is similar to the miter border except instead of having 45 degree angles, the corners are 90 degrees. You will need to figure out the length of the side strips before you begin. From there, you’ll just need to cut the fabric in half and sew them together. Then you’ll need to trim off any extra fabric.

What You Need For Quilt Borders

If you plan on using the same color fabrics for your borders, you may not need much else. However, if you plan on mixing colors, you’ll need some sort of stabilizer.

A good quality batting or fusible webbing will work great. You will need thread like cotton in a similar color to the patches in the quilt.

Additionally, you will need cutting tools like a rotary cutter, a ruler and a cutting mat. Other items you may need are a sewing machine, tape measure, pins, and an iron


I hope you enjoyed my tutorial. I know how hard it was to get through everything. But now you’re ready to start making your own quilt borders.

Quilt borders are a great way to finish off your masterpiece of a quilt. And remember, there’s always room for improvement. 

Don’t ever give up!

Sarah Maine
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