Measureless Borders

DISCLAIMER: The psuedo quilt pictured below is not an indication of the skill or taste level of Carrie Zizza. It is for demonstration purposes only. Unless you like it. Then it was totally meant to be that way.

Here’s how to apply borders without measuring:

1. Lay your quilt on a flat surface with the top side up and smooth it out as much as possible. If your quilt is large, only the middle needs to be on the flat surface. The rest can hang off either end, but make sure it’s not pulling or distorting the middle section.

All smoothed down

2. Cut your border strips the width you desire and longer than you think you need. Starting at one side of the quilt, pin your border strip end even with the side edge. Working from side to side, smooth the border strip across the center of the quilt pinning every twelve inches or so. When you reach the opposite side, using a ruler and rotary cutter, trim the border strip even with the edge of the quilt. Now you have one border! (You can lay down two strips at a time to speed things up.)

Lay strip across middle of quilt, pinning as you go

Trim at edge

3. Divide the border strip into quarters (or more if your quilt is on the larger side) and mark. Divide the quilt top in quarters and mark. Match up the marks, pin and sew, easing or stretching as needed. Repeat the process for the bottom border strip. Press.

Mark, pin and sew


4. Turn your quilt around so one side is on the top and smooth the center. Lay another border strip across the center pinning as you go. Trim off end, mark quarters and sew onto the side of quilt. Repeat for the other side.

Smooth across middle, pin


Mark, pin, sew

Press. Viola! Nice and flat!

5. Repeat this process for any additional borders.

I use this method almost exclusively and have had very good results, however, if you’re not thrilled with this method the following are the directions for applying measured borders.

Measured Borders

1. Measure your quilt in 3 places lengthwise: left, right, and center. Add those measurements and divide by 3 to get an average. For example 61 inches + 62 inches + 60 inches = 183 inches. Divide by 3 equals an average of 61 inches.

2. Cut the two side borders to this measurement, in this case 61 inches. Mark the center and quarters (or more if your quilt is large) of the border strip and the edge of the quilt you are attaching it to. Pin together easing or stretching as you go. Sew and press.

3. Repeat this process widthwise for top and bottom borders.

4. Repeat process for any additional borders.

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