Measuring For Borders
One of the most pesky problems for quilters is trying to get borders to fit right on their quilts. Believe me, I see this with even the most experienced quilters so this isn’t me picking on the newbies. Some borders are too long and they “lettuce leaf” the edges by stretching them out as they are sewn on. Some borders are too short and they “tulip petal” the corners because they pull too tight. Nothing is more maddening than getting your beautiful quilt to the border stage and having the wheels fall off the cart in the final lap!
The most important thing is measure, measure, measure… in three different places. I measure on the right edge, down the middle and again on the left edge. Take the average of all three measurements (in this case that is 50.5”) and cut the two side borders that same length. I know I will have to stretch the right edge a half inch to match my average, and I will have to ease in the left edge a half inch to match my average. Find the center on the border and the quilt top and secure those points together with pins, then work your way out in both directions pinning the border in place stretching or easing little by little to make the ends match up. Sew them on and press them out really well with the nose of your iron, making sure there are no hidden folds in the border seam.
For the top and bottom border, measure again as before only this time horizontally in three different places. Take the average of these new measurements and repeat the slight easing and stretching process again. Press these borders out as before and your quilt should lay beautifully flat and ready to quilt!
HINT - How to find the average of your measurements. Take all three measurements, add them together, then divide that number by three.