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How to Add Sashing to a Quilt

add sashing

(This post is about adding sashing to a regular quilt. Click here for specific instructions about adding sashing to a Quilt As You Go quilt.)

I don’t usually add sashing or borders to my quilts, but Controlled Chaos isn’t a typical quilt for me. I went back and forth for a long time, debating the need for sashing. Sashing finally won for two reasons. . .

  1. I like that each little block is its own composition. In some ways I liked those compositions blending into each other and creating new shapes, but ultimately I decided I like the look of a little frame around each piece.
  2. The thought of matching all those seams (necessary if I went without sashing) made me weep.

So – sashing it is!

Adding sashing isn’t hard – just think of it as another skinny block between each of the bigger blocks. Skip the border (for now) and just think about the strips in the quilt’s interior.

We’ll start with adding the vertical strips.

I decided to make the sashing strips the same width as one finished square in the block. I think that’s a good general guideline for balance. That meant cutting them 2″ wide. If you used 1/4″ seam allowance for your sewing, the finished blocks should be 15.5″ square, so cut 15 strips each 2″ wide x 15.5″ long.

Start assembling the rows of your quilt by alternating blocks with sashing strips. Here’s one row.

How to Add Sashing to a Quilt - a tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Repeat until you have all five rows.

One quick tip. The problem most people have when adding sashing is that the strip is the wrong length by the time they get to the end of the line of stitching. The longer the seam, the more likely (and worse) the problem is.

Using a walking foot when you sew will help prevent this, but the best way is good old-fashioned pinning.

  1. Start by folding your strip in half and marking the center with a pin.
  2. Match the center of the strip to the center of the block and pin.
  3. Match the ends of the strip with the edges of the block and pin.
  4. Fill in the rest of the length with pins until it’s all secure and evenly distributed.
  5. Sew the seam.

Your strip and your block should still be perfectly lined up when you get to the end of the seam.

I wrote a whole post about what I call “Divide and Conquer” for pinning long seams here.

End tip. 🙂

Now you need to sew all five rows together with strips in between them, plus strips at the top and bottom for those borders.

Cut those strips 2″ wide x 65″ wide. You’ll need six.

When you sew your rows together, it should look something like this.

How to Add Sashing to a Quilt - a tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Use that same pinning tip to keep everything lined up.

All you need now are the final strips for the side borders. Cut them 2″ wide x 84.5″ long. You’ll need two.

Sew those strips to the sides and your quilt top is finished!

Controlled Chaos Scrap Quilt

Now layer, baste, quilt and bind as usual.

Here’s mine, all basted and ready for quilting.

How to Add Sashing to a Quilt - a tutorial from Shiny Happy World

I’m going to hand quilt this with big stitches and fat thread. I can’t wait to get started!

You can see all the posts about the Controlled Chaos scrap quilt here.

Find links to all the posts about pattern size and layouts here.

Quilt Sizes and Supplies Needed

Play with Your Layouts – Multiple Possibilities for One Quilt Pattern


How to Make Applique Bust Out of Its Frame

Alternate or Broken Grid layouts (adding half and double blocks)

How to Make an Applique Rag Quilt

How to Make a Polaroid Quilt

How to Make a Wonky Churn Dash Frame for Any Block

Finished with this topic?

Return to the Let’s Make a Quilt main Table of Contents.

Move on to the lessons about choosing your fabric.

Happy quilting!


  1. Cindi SAYS...

    I’m so excited to see this all together! I’ll email pictures when I’m done.

  2. Cindy Cohee SAYS...

    Wendi I am confused by the part where you say cut the vertical strips 15.5 inches when our individual blocks you say to be 11 inches square. Why is the sashing for each block 15.5 inches?

    • The blocks in the quilt in the blog post are 15.5 inches square. For one of the QAYG quilts you’d need to cut them 11 inches because those blocks are 11 inches square.

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  6. Cheryl A Erlandson SAYS...

    Just wondering where on earth you can get fabric that is 84.5 inches wide? My understanding is that you should always cut across the width of the fabric. The widest fabric I have ever seen is 60 in and most are 44inches.


    • You cut the strips and then join them together until they’re 84.5 inches wide.

      • When piecing sashing strips, do you sew them on diagonal like with border strips?

  7. kim g SAYS...

    Hello Wendy,
    This is the third time your videos have helped me with my quilts.!!!! 😀 I used this video for the border on my last quilt. Now, I am doing one with sashes. Is there any reason why I cannot attach the vertical sashes to the individual blocks and quilt it the same time I quilt each individual block? (Then for the horizontal sash I would quilt it separately then attach it as you illustrated like a border)
    Your help and videos are absolutely great!

    • You can absolutely do that! I do something similar when I make blocks with wonky sashing.

  8. Elizabeth SAYS...

    I’m sorry, but I’m pregnant and the math just isn’t mathing for me right now. I’m almost done assembling blocks for the Controlled Chaos, but I am having difficulty calculating how much fabric I need for the sashing. Pregnancy brain 🤦🏻‍♀️.