Pieced borders have many benefits. They add some “personality” to the quilt. They make a quilt larger and they use up leftover fabric! If you’ve made a quilt that you really like, but you want it to be bigger, instead of adding rows and columns, add some borders! They also serve to frame the quilt also. Here’s an example of a combination of borders, plain and pieced that really add some personality.
This quilt, Scrappy North Stars has a really busy, scrappy center:
So, I added a plain black border, then used the leftover fabric from the blocks to make a piano key border.
That plain black border frames the inner blocks and the scrappy pieced outer border finishes it off.
This next example has 2 different pieced borders. When doing this, it’s a good idea to used borders with different size pieces. Notice the first inner border of flying geese is made up of large flying geese units. Then the outer border is a smaller checkerboard boarder. I feel like this adds a different dimensional look to the quilt.
I finished this one with the plain dark border as the last border to frame the whole quilt.
You can also pull an element out of the block in the quilt and turn that into a border. I used the outer square in a square edge of the block as the border separated by a plain tan strip. This gives the illusion that the quilt keeps going.
Here’s that quilt:
And here’s a closeup of the border:
The plain border strips between the quilt blocks and the pieced border can also serve another purpose other than a “frame”. If the center of your quilt measures an odd number yet you need an even number for your pieced border to work, you can add the width of plain border in a size that will do that. For example, if your quilt without the border measures 57 1/2″ x 57 1/2″, you can add a border with a width of 3″ to have your quilt top measure 60 1/2″ x 60 1/2″ once it’s attached.
Here’s a few other fun borders:
As you can see from the above photos, there are many ways you can use leftover fabric for borders.
Another fun use for a border is to create a subtle secondary design to draw a viewers eyes in another direction. Here’s my quilt, Homestead Trail. It has a simple scrappy block center with 9-patch cornerstones. I wanted to add an interesting element, so I built off those cornerstones to make a checkerboard design. I wanted the design to be subtle so I chose colors for the plain border and the checkerboards that were close in shade.
So that’s some of my binding tips and ideas! Since I did not have anyone post on my blog last week to enter into the drawing for the free pattern, I am going to extend the chance to enter to this week’s blog. The winner will receive my pattern, Country Dance. This one also has a fun, scrappy border!
Share your border tips and preferences and you will be entered in a drawing to win the above quilt pattern! Make sure to share your ideas in the comments below. *** Congrats to the winner, Jenedel Wilcox!***
Sheryn Lewis says
I’s sorry to say I just found your patterns. They are beautiful! Thanks for the opportunity to win your pattern!
Carrie Mayer says
I live scrappy borders but rarely do them for some reason. Reasons may be that they take more time and second, they need to work out mathematically.
Carmen Montmarquet says
I really like the idea of a piano keys border, i have yet to make one but love the look of it! I also like the checkerboard border on the Country Dance pattern! Thanks for a chance to win.
Jetta Neely says
I love the variety of border ideas!
I have a HUGE dinosaur panel and will study your example to add borders. Thanks for the chance to win!
Thank you for sharing your ideas about ‘borders. It’s where I am lost after I finish a top so I hope I can follow your process & be creatively inspired by your examples! I usually put my top on a display board and hope it speaks to me. Lol
I’ve admired your quilts for several years now; thanks again for sharing!
Borders are a challenge for me.
Pamela Gonzalez says
You have awesome ideas about borders. The thing that I struggle with is “scrappy”. I know everyone just gasped!! I have friends who whip these out like crazy. But alas I can’t. Thanks for your eye candy.
Jenedel Wilcox says
I like to make borders that are actually blocks that are sewn as part of the main body of the quilt. That way, when you’re done with the quilt you don’t have to add borders. The math is easier too.
Karla Jones says
I love your borders! They really add to the quilt!
Paula Yandell says
Love all your border ideas. I have trouble sometime trying to decide what to do for the borders. Thank you for a chance to win your pattern.
Cathy Pharr says
Love your border ideas! Wish that I was that creative. This definitely inspires me to give more thought to my borders.
Vivian B. says
Wow, a lot of really great and innovative border ideas here! I’m working on a very scrappy quilt top and been debating about whether to add borders. I think I’ll have to try stretching my creative muscles a bit (beyond just slap a fabric frame around it) and see if I can come up with something to take the edges over the edge!
June Perreault says
I love your ideas. Looking forward to using them.
Wanda Barth-Lindblom says
Great ideas for borders ::: thank you for sharing
Gay C says
I love the look of piano keys. How do you always get it to work out mathematically?
Gay C says
I love the look of piano keys. How do you always get it to work out mathematically? You are very creative with your borders!!
Hi! I usually try to get my center of my quilt to measure size that is divisible by the width of the piano key unit. Like for a 64 x 64″ quilt center, I can divide 64″ by 2 and have 32 piano key units per side. Then I just have extras to make the corners.