How to make a Cotbed Quilt for Beginners, Step 6: Rotary Cutting and Adding Your Borders

Now it is time to cut the fabric strips for the borders of our quilt.

If you began with a charm pack of fabric squares for the front of your quilt this may be your first time cutting fabric with a rotary cutter.  I was terrified at first but if you just follow a few simple steps it really is as easy as can be.

Before you begin cutting off strips make sure your fabric is folded squarely.  This may well mean re-ironing the center fold when folded in half width-ways so it is time to get the iron out again…sorry.

It is also a good idea to iron your quilt out flat at this stage too.

Align your folded fabric squarely with the lines on your cutting mat and using your grid rule measure a 3.5 inch wide strip.

cut quilt border strips

Press down firmly on your rule, keeping your fingers away from the edge at all times.

Grab your rotary cutter, be super careful as these things are crazy-sharp, take off the safety, and pressing firmly downwards into the mat guide along the length of your rule to cut your first strip. As you move upwards ‘walk’, don’t slide, your hand along the rule and take your time.

Please, please, please make sure when not in use you place the safety catch back on your cutter and store well out of reach of little ones.

You will see rough edges at each end of the strip, these are known as selvage edges.  Using your rule and cutter trim these off.

trim selvage edges

Now it is time to cut your strips to the correct length.

Place two of your strips together, directly on top of each other, and align the top edges.

Next align the top of these strips with the top of your quilt at approximately the halfway point along the top edge as shown, and pin.

Align strips with top of quilt

Allow the strips to drape over the bottom of your quilt. make sure they are flat and straight and then pin along bottom edge.

Place back onto your cutting mat and using your rule trim strips in line with the bottom edge of your quilt.

Pin at bottom edge and trim

You have now cut the left and right-edge border strips for your quilt.

Take one of your strips and fold in half lengthways to find the centre.

Align the centre of this strip with the centre of the right hand edge of your quilt, unfold and pin at the centre.

Align centre of strip and quilt edge

 Smooth out and then pin at each corner edge in turn.  I also add a couple of extra pins in between to try and keep it flat.
pin along edge

Bring this edge up to your machine, align with the edge of your presser foot to give a 1/4 inch seam allowance, and sew the full length remembering to backstitch a few stitches at the beginning and end.

Now repeat with the second strip on the opposite side of your quilt.

Unfold your borders and press out flat from the front side of the quilt.

Next repeat the process for the top and bottom border strips, this time aligning in the centre of the quilt with the edge of the left and right hand side borders as shown and trimming to the required length.

Horizontal borders

Sew into place and you should now have something like this…

Borders added

Border corners

If you require any clarification on any of the steps so far please just leave me a message in the comments below and I will try to help.

Next up, Step 7: Layering and Basting Your Quilt.


    • says

      Thanks Claire. My neighbours third baby is due in April so thought it might make a nice play-mat until they are big enough for a quilt 🙂

    • says

      Hi Steph, they are not there yet. Am blogging this one ‘live’ as it were and a small group of bloggers are quilting along with me! Step 7 should be up Sunday or Monday and then 8 probably fairly soon after as it is a short one. Will then finish over the course of the next two weeks so stay tuned!

  1. JennB says

    In step 3, you state that the edge of the presser foot would give a 1/2 inch seam. In this step you state that it gives a 1/4 inch seam. Which seam size do we want for the border?


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