Introduction: How to Add a Border to a Quilt Block

Picture of How to Add a Border to a Quilt Block

Adding a border to a quilt block is a great way to add a little variety to your quilt tops. It's also a great way to increase the size of a quilt block to turn it into a placement, tote bag, or pillow. :D

Best of all? Adding a border to a quilt block is super easy and you can make it look anyway you want!

If you'd like to learn how to quilt, I have a full step by step tutorial! Check out "how to sew a quilt" for more information.

Step 1: What You'll Need:

Picture of What You'll Need:
  • a finished quilt block
  • coordinating or contrasting fabric for the border
  • quilting ruler
  • cutting mat
  • rotary cutter
  • sewing machine
  • iron & ironing board

As always, it's best if you use only quilting cottons here. It'll make the quilt block easier to sew!

You can also do all the cutting and measuring with other tools, but this set makes you the most efficient. :D

Step 2: Square Up Your Quilt Block

Picture of Square Up Your Quilt Block

The first thing you'll want to do is use your quilting ruler and rotary cutter and square up the block. Trim off any excess uneven bits. :)

Step 3: Measure the Sides and Cut Two Strips

Picture of Measure the Sides and Cut Two Strips

We're going to add strips to both sides of the quilt block first, and then add strips to the top and bottom to complete the border.

For length:

Measure one side of your block and see how tall it is. This will be the length of the strips you'll cut.

For width:

Keep in mind that you will lose 1/4 inch on both sides of the quilt border. Add half an inch to the width you want.

My measurements for this block: 11 x 2.5 - which will give me a width of 2 inches when it's all sewn in to the finished project. :)

Step 4: Sew on Those Strips

Picture of Sew on Those Strips

Pin the strips to the block and sew them on using a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Press the seams open after sewing.

Square up the block as needed after you press it.

Step 5: Measure and Cut the Second Set of Strips

Picture of Measure and Cut the Second Set of Strips

Now we'll repeat the measuring and cutting!

Measure your quilt block width-wise - this will be the length of your strips. For a symmetrical quilt block, keep the strip width the same.

My measurements for this strip: 15 inches long x 2.5 inches wide.

Step 6: Sew on the Second Strips

Picture of Sew on the Second Strips

Pin the second set of strips to the block and sew them on using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

P.S. When sewing your pieces together, make sure your pressed seams are staying flat like in the first photo. Otherwise, they can both go to one side and cause bumps in your finished quilt top. Check out step 11 of my "how to sew a quilt" ible for more info.

Step 7: Press and Square!

Picture of Press and Square!

Press the seams open and square up the block.

It should look like this when you're done! :D

Keep in mind you can use this bordering technique on multiple blocks and even around an entire quilt top to increase the size of it. It's my favorite!

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Bio: I work at instructables by day, and turn into a stitch witch by night. follow me on instagram @makingjiggy to see what i'm working ... More »
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