Borders can be an important component for your finished quilt. Sometimes they frame the quilt. Other times they can be the key component to make all the fabrics throughout the quilt sing. It is not only to choose the quilting style/design to complement the border. It is even MORE important to make sure that your border is prepared well!
Many quilters will admit, including myself, that by the time they get to the step of adding borders, there is an anxious need to "just finish it already". It is very easy and seductive to rush through the process of adding borders!
However, the border can greatly affect the overall appearance of you quilt. How it hangs. How it squares up. Whether or not it puckers!
Here are a few steps to make sure to help avoid any problems while your top is getting quilted.
1. Measure the quilt from top to bottom at the center. Then the edges. And then halfway in between.
2. Decide which of these measurements is the smallest.
3. Cut the first 2 borders to this exact length.
4. Mark the quilt's side edges and the 2 border pieces at the centers. Then mark halfway between the center and outer edges.
5. Pin the border pieces to the quilt. Right sides together, matching your various marks. Ease in the fullness an stitch.
6. Repeat the same process for the top and bottom. Take new measurements with the addition of the new borders. Repeat Step 3-5.
7. Plan on mulitiple borders? Follow all of the above steps with each new additional border set.
Even after following all these steps, you still feel like you have not-so-perfect borders or your quilt is just not quite square? Don't fret. It isn't a guarantee, but there are some ways to disguise any imperfections. If the edges of the quilt are longer than the center, a loose/less dense design can be used. The excess fabric can be eased to assist avoiding puckers. A high loft batting can also help fill out the extra fabric. However, be aware that, in some cases, a small dart may be needed to absorb any extra fullness.