Cutting Long Quilt Borders

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Duration: 5:41

Cutting long quilt borders that are perfectly straight can be difficult. Heather Thomas shows you her technique for folding and cutting borders that come out perfect every time with no waves, ‘elbows’ or any other issues.

Folding and Cutting

The first step in cutting long quilt borders is folding your fabric down to a manageable size that will fit on your cutting mat. While this may seem simple, there are several steps that need to be taken to ensure that the fabric is on the straight of grain and as flat as possible. Heather explains how she gets the fabric on the straight of grain by ripping two edges. Once the edges have been ripped and pressed if necessary, she aligns them and works at smoothing out the fabric to a fold. She explains that when cutting long quilt borders it is important to always do this step and refold the fabric rather than use the fold already in the fabric as it is not usually on grain. Heather then shows how to fold and align the fabric further to get it to fit on her cutting mat. She also shares a fun tip on how to use a long ruler to make sure the fabric has a crisp fold and is as flat as possible. Heather then trues up an edge and explains how the fabric is now ready to be used to cut long borders. She then talks about the different ways the fabric can be positioned when cutting the borders depending on whether you like to cut based off of the marks of the ruler or the marks of the cutting mat. She then cuts a long border and unfolds the fabric to show that it is straight with now waves, elbows or other issues. Once you’ve mastered the technique of cutting long quilt borders, learn more about working with borders.

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16 Responses to “Cutting Long Quilt Borders”

  1. Valeria

    Thank you so much for your wonderful instructions! I feel very confident after watching you.

  2. Evelyn Clayton

    Question…..are you cutting on the straight of grain? Not really clear on the video

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      Hello Evelyn,

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  3. Vicki

    I would love to get a response to what to do when the fabric is still wonky after ripping – the straight of grain edges are not perpendicular to the selvages.


    Is there any reason not to tear the border strips to desired width (other than the annoying strings?)

    • Customer Service

      Hello Nicole,

      No, there is no reason you couldn’t do this. Many people prefer to tear their fabric as opposed to cutting it.


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  5. E Nelms

    Excellent technique. But what if the fabric has been skewed on the bolt? Even tearing the ends leaves it wonky. I have learned to slightly stretch fat quarters and other small pieces of fabric to get warp & woof lined up squarely, but what about a really long piece that is skewed?

  6. Joan

    Great instructional video – first time I have seen the ruler tip, and even though my quilt shop tears fabric rather than cuts it, this is the first time I have seen someone do this to cut strips.
    Great lesson

  7. Michele

    Unfortunately this video is not playing for me. I am so sad because I have this exact problem and need the help!!

    • Customer Service

      Hello Michele.

      We are sorry to hear that you are not able to view the video. We have tested the video successfully. We have emailed you a troubleshooting email that should help you with viewing the video.

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  8. Lisa Lauziere

    Wonderful teacher! Clear, succinct, good filming. Best I’ve seen in…. almost ever.

  9. Ellen Heath

    I would love to have you demonstrate ripping the ends. I find it is much easier said than done. And what do you do if the ripping leads to the conclusion that the fabric grain is not at all perpendicular to the selvages? I’ve had that happen even in expensive quilt-shop fabrics. Thanks!

  10. Jo Christo

    It would seem that pre-washing the fabric, drying with pretty high heat would remove any factory instilled stretching, correct? I rarely pre-wash, but in this case maybe I should. If the rest of the quilt top has not been washed however, is it risky to do it to only specific sections?

    • Customer Service

      Hello Jo,

      Yes, it is risky to only pre-wash and dry fabrics for certain areas. If you do this, and then wash the entire quilt once it is done, you run the risk of the areas that weren’t pre-washed shrinking and the ones that were pre-washed not shrinking, causing wrinkling and puckering. If you do any pre-washing, do it for all fabrics included in the quilt.

      Hope this helps!

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