Spring Quilt-a-Long: Borders and Layering

Good Morning, Quilters!

By the end of today we will have a pieced quilt top and a quilt sandwich, ready for (my favorite part) quilting!

Yesterday, we completed the HST triangles and stitched all the rows together.

Today:  Borders and Layering the Quilt Sandwich


The Spring Sampler has top and bottom borders only–of course, YOU should be your own designer!

Measuring and Cutting the Borders:


My sisters are both excellent quilters and they do not like my method…Use the method that works best for you…

(If it’s my method be sure to comment–so my sisters see who is always right.

If you like their method better–HUSH!  We don’t want them to start a competitive blog…)

MY SISTERS’ METHOD  Measure across the middle, measure across each edge–find the average and cut the border the average width.


I use a no-mark border method for all of my quilt borders–from very large to very small.

In my not-always-humble opinion, or maybe it’s just me…taking three measurements can induce error.

Press the top well.

Lay it out on a table–very straight.  (If the quilt is large, fold it in half lengthwise and fold the border in half lengthwise)

Align the border on a horizontal line in the middle of the quilt.  It must very straight.

Spring Quilt-a-Long, Lori Kennedy

Trim the sides even with the edges of the quilt top.

That’s it!  Perfect border size!

Spring Quilt-a-Long, Lori Kennedy

Place the border on the quilt top, right sides together.  Pin the edges, then the middle and ease the border onto the quilt top.

Spring Quilt-a-Long, Lori Kennedy


When I auditioned the border fabric, it seemed perfect…but once it was stitched in place, I wasn’t so sure…

I hate when that happens…

Spring Quilt-a-Long, Lori Kennedy

Maybe it was too wide…

Spring Quilt-a-Long, Lori Kennedy

Even folded over to a narrower width, it wasn’t singing to me.

Darn it!

I unstitched it and added a solid border.

The solid border looks a little boring now, but once we add the magic of machine quilting…

Spring Quilt-a-Long, Lori Kennedy


Cut the backing fabric 2-3 inches larger than the quilt top.  (More if it’s a large quilt).

Prep the backing by pressing well with a little spray starch or sizing.  This will help the quilt slide while machine quilting.

Secure it–right side down–to a table top.  Use tape or clamps.

Spring Quilt-a-Long, Lori Kennedy

Cut the batting the same size as the backing.

I used Warm and Natural (The Warm Company) cotton batting for my first Spring Sampler and am trying Warm and Plush for this one.  Warm and Plush is described as “the warmest natural quilt batting”–“Perfect for loved ones that can never seem to get warm”–yep, that’s me!!

It will be interesting to see how they compare.

I did not pre-soak either one. (Another day’s comparison.)

Spring Quilt-a-Long, Lori Kennedy

Layer the batting on top of the backing.

Place the quilt top in the center.

Baste the quilt top with pins or spray.

I used Sulky KK2000-It’s odorless, clear and non-toxic.  I felt comfortable using it indoors.  KK 2000 is a temporary spray–it only lasts a few days…but I have found it helps hold things together for a lot longer when I’m quilting a small project.

Spray the back of the batting. Smooth it over the backing.

Spray the top of the batting.  Layer your quilt on top and smooth.

Do not press the quilt top–Ironing removes the adhesive.

Spring Quilt-a-Long, Lori Kennedy


Our blank canvas is ready to quilt!!!

Spring Quilt-a-Long, Lori Kennedy

We will start next Tuesday.

Be ready.

Have YOUR quilt sandwich prepared!

Speaking of prepared sandwiches…

Here’s What Gaby’s cooking!  Looks delicious!

And my daughter made these Moroccan Chicken Skewers said they were fabulous, too!

I must be hungry again…maybe I should eat a better breakfast?


PS… All tutorials, images and information are the property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use only.  Feel free to re-blog, pin or share with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes, please contact me at lckennedy@hotmail.com.  Thanks!

30 thoughts on “Spring Quilt-a-Long: Borders and Layering

  1. Lori….I do my borders EXACTLY like you do. I’ve done them that way for many years, in fact! So my vote goes to you! 🙂

  2. I’m with Lori – sorry sisters! Any time I can get away with no math, I’m good! By the way, I received your book in the mail yesterday. I wasn’t expecting it to be a spira bound -LOVE it! That makes so much better sense for quilters! I loved your little sample you included – how sweet and unexpected. I’m seriously thinking about binding it and putting it on my mini quilt wall. It’s inspirational and art (mine was the baby buggies on pink fabric). Read through the entire book last night…I can tell you right now, it will become a favorite. Looking forward to Book 2!

  3. I measure the quilt down the middle too and then cut the borders that size. Doing it your way by laying the border fabric on the quilt and cutting it makes sense to me. Thanks for sharing your love and talent of quilting (and especially FMQ) with us.

  4. I was taught to measure the sides and middle and average them and that’s what I’ve always done–and grumbled the whole time! I’m going to give your method a try. I’m all for not making things more difficult than they need to be. This is a fun little project, Lori. Thanks!

  5. Lori, your method is how I learned to add borders in my very first quilt class. I never bothered to try any other way since this method works so well!

  6. I switched to your method of measuring borders several years ago and never looked back. So much easier and more accurate too.

  7. Lori, I cut my borders using the same method as you use. That’s the way I was taught and have always done it that way. Your method is the best!

  8. Lori, I have never heard of your method before but am looking forward to trying it! My usual method is that of your sisters.

  9. Hmmm. My quilt tops get trimmed to be all squared up. I cut border strips longer than sides of quilt top ( eyeballed that). I sew them on the top and then cut off the excess… hmmm….no measuring there either..Over time I have come close to preparing proper length borders with little excess. I leave enough at corners to miter them. The small bits left over go in a plastic box for scrappy projects. I have read about Sister Method in books and magazines… tried it once.. no, thank you.

  10. Lori I do it the way you do it. Our Guild had a quilt we were asked to finish and we couldn’t get it to square up. Then we were shown your sister’s way and a little stretching on one side and the quilt was perfect. I now use both ways depending on how good the quilt top was made and how easy it is to square up. I think both ways have there use in quilting.

  11. I love Warm and Plush as it makes feathers look amazing but I have a hard time finding it after I used the two packages I purchased that indicated it was ” only available for a limited tine”.

    I am going to try your method for borders as I sometimes end up with wavy borders which is hard to quilt out the imperfection.

  12. I was taught your sister’s way – and also grumbled. I’m all for trying it your way. I’m ready to roll on the FMQ my project. Made a table runner, but made it more difficult by doing a rounded border. I guess I didn’t think that through – LOL!

  13. Whatever method works for you is the correct method. If you get nice smooth even borders, you and/or your quilter will love it. All of you are right.

  14. Well, I love math so I’m with The Sisters! I think Lori’s method would work fine for a small quilt but I would worry about the accuracy on a large quilt. I think it would be harder for me anyway. I don’t want borders that wave at me! I may give this a try on a small quilt though!

  15. From one of the sisters- to be honest, since Lori showed me her method – I have used it too – occasionally. Both methods are good as they include measuring before sewing – how’s that for “Peace on earth”…..or should it be “Piece on earth, good will to women” …. (ouch).
    I think the two mistakes I’ve made and had to rip out are to sew a long strip on without measuring at all and just cut it off at the end – (very wonky result) and to sew the binding on before I finished all of the quilting (very wonky result 2).
    I have my half square triangles made and am making progress on the table runner – can we have a “virtual quilt show” at the end of the quilt along?

    • I have not tried Lori’s method but will be giving it a try. As long as there is not a big difference between top, middle or bottom I can see no reason why it would not work well. If the quilt is off by a lot and can’t ease the fullness easily…the quilt was not sewn accurately and will have more problems than a wavy border. Good you are open to try new things and I think yours were not two mistakes but experiments that you found didn’t work well 😉
      Piece on earth and happy quilting!

  16. I do your methodish. Sometimes I measure with a tape measure and cut the border separately. Just depends on the available room.

  17. Now I’ll have to try that batting, I’ve used warm and natural, love it but it gets heavy in bed size quilts and heavy to maneuver so I’ve been using quilters dream washable wool. Warm and quilts like butter! Love it!
    Also now I have to do some experiments because I had to starch the backing fabrics I used on one of my last turning twenty quilts and it would not slide for me at all… It was a buggar to quilt… Was wore out and so glad when it was done. I blamed the starch… Hmmm… It had several different pieces of fabric and I used my Supreme slider. I used Faultless Premium starch… What do you use?

  18. I had to go look at my quilt notes… It wasn’t a patchwork backing that wouldn’t slide out was a piece of cotton I got from connecting threads, it felt really nice and looked really nice but not sure why I couldn’t get out to slide. I’ve missed my starch… Lol! Guess I’ll know soon… Just starched another and am pinning now.

    • Hmm, trying to understand this… Are you saying that you starch the whole backing piece of fabric? Do you dry it in dryer? on a line? wet it and iron it? I am mystified.
      That is new to me. I starch small pieces before sewing to put a block together if some fabrics ravel a lot after cutting or when the fabric seems thin compared to other fabrics within same block. After the block is sewn, I wash to get the starch out.

      Lori, is there a discussion on starching in archives before my time here? Thanks, folks.

      • HI Marta!! Well, I starch almost everything before I cut it when I’m piecing. Backing I usually give it a good ironing after I have it pieced together but only use starch if there are some stubborn creases at the old fold line or if it just got creased on the bolt. My nieces quilt had stubborn creases and I starched the entire thing as I just did this one I’m working on. I have done this before though without an issue…so I don’t know what was going on. It turned out nice with the exception of a few jerky fmq places I couldn’t get it to slide. I’m anxious to get this one under the machine and see how it does.

  19. I use a third option for borders….. I am a machine quilter and I have dealt with many a border that is wavy or uneven or just isn’t square. When I make a quilt, especially a smaller one, I make the border a bit wider and longer than it needs to be. (If putting a border on all 4 sides I put on two opposite end pieces and square them up before adding the other two.). Before machine quilting I mark where I want the outside edges to be (allowing me to visually square up the quilt again). The extra width makes it easier to quilt against the desired edge – it’s hard to machine quilt up against a 1/4″ edge and keep it nice and flat and straight. After the machine quilting is finished I cut and square up the border before putting on the binding. This gives you a little bit of wiggle room if things aren’t exactly perfect. My edges always lie nice and flat. And your eye doesn’t see a slightly imperfect border the way it sees a wavy or tucked seam because you had to force the border to a specific size.

    Obviously this wouldn’t work for metered corners.

Comments are closed.