How to Add Borders to a Quilt – Free Online Quilting Course #7


Fabulous Quilt Designer and Quilting Instructor Janeen Van Niekerk is treating us another class in her free online quilting course for Beginners. This class helps us finish the top side of our first project in the course.
Today’s quilting workshop topic is: ‘How to Add Borders to a Quilt.’ Let’s go have a look how it’s done.how_to_add_quilt_borders

This class follows class 6 in this series, which you can find here: ‘How to Make Quilt Rows :: Free Online Beginners Workshop #6 ‘.

Now, over to Janeen van Niekerk for class 7:

Adding Borders to Your Beginners Quilt

Now that our blocks have been sewn together (9 x 9 Blocks), we need to add our borders around them. As you can see from our Pattern we are going to add a dark thinner border and then a medium color thicker border.

How to Add Borders to a Quilt – Free Quilting Workshop Class

Step 1: Cutting our Remaining Fabrics for the Quilt Border.

Cut 4 WOF (width of fabric) strips in your darkest color – 2″ (2.5 cm).

how to border a quilt :: free quilting class

Cut 4 WOF strips in your medium color – 3″ (7.5 cm).


Step 2: Measuring Your Border Strips.

Take one of your dark strips and measure across the one side if it is long enough. If the darker strip is longer than your top then all is okay.

Step 3: Lengthening Your Border Strips.

If your dark strip is shorter than your quilt top, then you will need to cut another strip of dark fabric and join it to your strip. There are 2 ways to do this:

A. Joining with Straight Lines, a Simple Solution.

You can line them up straight across and sew a seam that is straight.


On the front of your quilt border strip, it will look like this:

B. Angle Your Border Strip Joint for Line Invisibility.

The second way is to lay one fabric piece at an angle onto the other piece and mark a diagonal line on which to sew across. Then cut off the remaining fabric and you will have a diagonal join.



This diagonal join is much more popular because it ‘hides’ a lot better than just a straight across join. If you do have to join your fabrics then I would suggest that you join all of the strips together in one long strip and then from there measure across your quilt top to get the right size. It does not matter where the join ends up – unless you feel it must be in some spot of your own choice.

Piecing the Border together by Joining 2 Scraps Diagonally.

Here you can see I joined two scraps on the diagonal and just placed it onto my border (its just for you to get a good look) and you can see that the join is not as horrible as you would think. My fabric is light and plain, but on a print, you would hardly even see this join.

Step 3: Begin adding the Borders to Our Quilts

Here are some step-by-step illustrations.

Because this mini-quilt is square, there is no real top or sides. So it does not matter where you start. Take one of your strips and pin it to the quilt top (right sides together) and sew it on using a 1/4″ seam.


You can pin it so that the strip is underneath and the top back is showing towards you.  This only helps with being able to see all those little seams. 


Just make sure they gets sewn down the correct direction when going under your sewing foot.


Step 4: Add Your Dark Borders on Opposite Sites of Quilt Top.

Now add the border strip to the opposite side of the quilt top. This will also be the case if it was a quilt with a definite top and sides. You would add the side borders first and then the top and bottom borders.

This gives the quilt a better ‘look’ when finished.

Tip: Hide dark seams behind dark fabric.

When adding the opposite sides, make sure your dark borders are pressed open and towards the dark side.

You add your other dark strips from the top of the sewn dark strip. Sew it on and do the same for the fourth side.

Pin it…


..and Voila!


Our dark strips added and the quilt is starting to get that ‘finished’ look!

Step 5: Add Your Medium-Colored Strips.

Now we add our medium-colored fabric strips. Again, if your strips are not long enough to cover the quilt top then you will need to cut more strips and join them together.


We do the exact same with our thicker strip. It doesn’t matter where you start. Just make sure you have opened up your dark strip and you start on the top. Sew each opposite side and then the two adjacent sides.


Step 6: Admire Your Finished Quilt Top!

This is our finished quilt top. Hurrah!!


(Excuse Rose’s blurry picture. She was jumping up and down with joy, excited how beautiful the quilt has become, already! Holding that camera still was impossible.)

That’s it for today. Next time we will discuss the batting and back fabric.

‘Til next time,


how to make a quilt


Want to begin sewing quilts with me?

Join our free online quilting workshops, which you can take at your leisure, any time you want.

how to make a quilt


Free Quilting Patterns & Tutorials & Classes in this quilting course by Janeen van Niekerk:


About Quilting Instructor Janeen van Niekerk

how to make a quilt patterns janeen van niekerkOur latest news of quilt making instructor Janeen van Niekerk is that she has just launched a brand new paper piecing magazine.


Quilt artist Janeen van Niekerk is an avid quilter. In particular, she’s an accomplished paper piecing designer. She does it all with a passion.


Janeen’s prolific range of hand-made quilts (she takes commissions for personalized, stylish portrait quilts), as well as her unique quilt patterns (think quilts featuring safari animals and trees, or kids toys) are inspired by her environs; she lives in sunny Pretoria in South Africa, with her husband and kids.

Janeen van Niekerk (spelled by some as Janine van Niekerk).


Or,… continue your journey with Quilting patterns, tutorials and ideas  featured here at (beyond Janeen’s quilting course).

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