The border is one of the last design
elements that you add to your quilt. It is a chance to add more
personality to your quilt and use fabrics that are too large in scale for
The colors in the border can pull
all the rest of the colors of the quilt together. You can also make your
quilt more interesting by adding design touches and unique blocks to the border.
Many years ago, when yardage was
scarce, and quilters were using everything from feedsack fabric to old cloth,
borders were not even added to quilts.
One thing you do not want to do with
a border is to add it just to make the quilt larger.
The border should accent and
emphasize the character and
personality of the quilt. Some quilts scream
for multiple borders. Stripes, turned horizontally, can be used very
effectively as small inside borders and some people collect them just for that
You can use the corners of your
quilts as a place to put small, very decorative quilt blocks. I like to
paper piece small 4x4 blocks and use them on the corners of my quilt.
You can use long strips in different
patterns running the direction of the quilt for a border, or small strips placed
horizontally on the side, and vertically on the top - known as a piano key border.
You can also
them so that they run
Some people like to appliqué vines
and flowers on the border around their quilt.
In the little bit of border that you
can see on the quilt at the top of this page, you will see that the quilter has
used multiple borders, including a stripe. This quilt is a very simple
design- a 9 patch in a square with lattice strips and corner stones. It is
very scrappy, and would be a frugal quilt to make.
Whatever you decide to do, you
must put your borders on even so that your quilt will lay flat.
When measuring for a border, measure
down the middle of the quilt. Or measure down each side, add
the 2 measurements together, and then divide them in half.
If the sides measure differently,
which they probably will, you can stretch or ease the fabric a little so that
the border fits.
Always cut your border strips first
if they are from fabric you are also using in the body of the quilt. You want the longest strips
possible, although you will probably end up having to piece your border strips.
Piece the border strip in the same way you piece the
If you don't want to put a seam in
your border, all you have to do it add some squares to the border. They
can be plain, or you can make them small quilt blocks.
Remember that borders are important
to a quilt. Too often we are so tired of our quilt by the time we finish
piecing it, that we neglect the border and do nothing put attach a strip of
If this happens to you, set the
quilt aside and come back to it. The nicer the frame, the prettier the
picture looks. Take the time to give thought and consideration to this
great design element.