Adding a Ruffled Border

If I want to put a ruffled border around a rectangular baby quilt, do I cut the material on the bias or straight of grain? Any other tips for the best way to go about adding a border like this? Any help you can give me will be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

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You absolutely can add a ruffled border to your baby quilt! Those ruffles will add a wonderful whimsical touch to the finished piece. There are a few things to keep in mind when you plan your border; you’ll need to consider how you’ll finish the ruffled edge and when to add the border for best results.

First off, a ruffled border does not have to be cut on the bias. Since you’ll be gathering the fabric you’ll be including some added ease and won’t need the extra flexibility that cutting on the bias provides. You will need to think about how you’ll finish the edge of your border before you cut. You have several options, including:

  • A fully-folded border, where you’ll cut a strip that is twice the size of your desired finished width plus seam allowance, then fold in in half and press before gathering.
  • A hemmed border, which would be cut to the desired width (plus a seam allowance) + ½” for the hem. You’ll need to hem this border before ruffling it.
  • A finished edge border, created with a rolled hem or serged finish, which can be cut to the desired width plus seam allowance.

You’ll create ruffles by cutting a strip that is the width you want using the guidelines above, and anywhere from 1½ to 2 times the length of the perimeter of your quilt to create the border. The more you gather the strip, the thicker and more lush the ruffle will be. You can apply the ruffled border before or after quilting, depending on the look you want and your skill level. Make sure to share a picture with us if you try this technique!

Happy quilting,

Related Video – Fun Quilt Border Ideas:

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14 Responses to “Adding a Ruffled Border”

  1. Linda Pucillo

    I read and re-read the explanation on how to add a ruffle, and still don’t understand how to do it. A video on this technique would be really helpful. I would love to add a ruffled border to a baby quilt, but have never been able to figure out how to do it.

    • Customer Service

      Hello Linda,

      I’m sorry that my steps weren’t sufficient. I’m giving you a link to a video that describes adding a ruffle to a pillow top. Applying it to a quilt top would be similar. I would first trim the batting and backing leaving them 1/2″ longer than the quilt top. Pin the ruffle, matching the raw edges and allowing extra fullness at the corners. Make sure to NOT catch the backing fabric during this stitching process. The seam allowance will be turned toward the quilt center. Now working with the quilt back – turn the raw edge under 1/2″ – 3/4″ toward the batting. Hand-stitch the folded edge to the wrong side of the ruffle, covering the seam allowance where the ruffle was stitched to the quilt top. I searched for any youtube videos that would show this, but I couldn’t find any specifically showing this process. I hope this helps. We learn by trial and error. As a former construction sewer this is how I would approach the technique.
      Colleen Tauke

      National Quilters Circle

  2. Jane

    ‬ Ido not understand how you add the ruffle and then bind the quilt a video showing this would be awesome!

    • Customer Service

      Dear Jane,

      Thank you for your patience, here is the experts response:


      If you are adding a ruffle to the edge of a baby quilt it is often done in place of a binding.


      National Quilters Circle

        • Customer Service

          Hi Peggy. Thanks for contacting us. We are happy to assist. In order to make gathers here are the basic steps.
          1. Set your stitch length to 5.0 – 6.0(a long stitch length is needed)
          2. Stitch two parallel lines within the seam allowance (one close to the seam line and the second between that first line and the cut edge of the fabric) Note: leave long thread “tails” at the beginning and end of each of these lines.
          3. At one end of the parallel lines – pull the thread tails to one side of the fabric. Gently tug on the thread to draw up a loop from the other side. Repeat for both lines. Tie these tails into a knot.
          4. Proceed to the other end of the stitched lines. Gently grasp both top threads and gather fabric along the stitching lines. You will need to work the gathers along these lines and distribute them evenly across this space.
          5. Pin gathered section to the area you want to stitch them. Reset your sewing machine for the proper stitch length. Carefully stitch the ruffle in place working from pin to pin. Remember to remove pins as you stitch.

          I hope this helps you to create wonderful ruffles and gathers.
          National Quilters Circle

  3. Calvin

    Hello.This post was extremely motivating, especially since I was
    looking for thoughts on this topic last Saturday.

  4. Leland

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    • National Quilters Circle

      If you mean a quilt where the blocks are set on point, a diagonal set? If so, trim so that there is a 1/4″ seam allowance on all setting and corner triangles.

  5. Connie Remetch

    Just read your response about adding a Ruffles to a quilt. I know how to make & generally attach a ruffle. But unless you use the fully folded technique, I don’t understand how you end up with a finished edge where you’ve attached the ruffle to the quilt sandwich. Can you please clarify that? Thank you.

    • National Quilters Circle

      Hello Connie, you can satin stitch all the edges prior to adding the ruffled ribbon.