I consider the border of my quilt to be its “frame”. Just like a ornate picture frame accents the picture within, a beautiful plain or pieced border should accent the quilt top you spent weeks (or even months) piecing. My post today will cover measuring your quilt top for borders and then the types of pieced borders that I’ve used to give you ideas.
Measuring the Quilt Top
Wonder to keep a border from being wavy or distorted? The secret to achieving this is measuring your quilt top before cutting or piecing the border you want to add. This step is even more important when you are bordering a quilt top that has blocks set on point. So, here are the steps:
- Step 1: Measure your quilt top vertically in 3 places. On the left, in the middle and on the right. Add those numbers together and divide by 3 for the average. (See diagram below) That will be the length of the border strips for the sides.
- Step 2: Attach the side border strips and then measure the quilt top horizontally in 3 places. Through the center and on the right and the left. This will be the length of the border strips for the top and bottom. (see diagram)
- Step 3: Add the top and bottom borders:
And you’re done!
Plain or Pieced Borders… or Both!
So now it’s time to decide on what kind of borders you want. The easiest of course are plain borders. So if you follow the above steps, you’re done. However, if you want a little more “pizzazz”, you can add additional borders either plain or pieced. Here’s an example of plain borders. I have a tan inner border (for the applique) then a color print border:
These next examples are a plain border, with a pieced border added in:
As you can see, there is a plain black inner border framing the blocks and a piano key pieced border on the outside.
When you want to add a pieced border to a quilt top, it’s important to decide on what type of pieced border you want on the quilt based on what size your quilt top center measures. For example, if your quilt top measures 64″ square, you can divide 64 can be divided by 2 or 4 evenly so you can add a pieced border made of of units that measure 2 or 4 inches. Note, these measurements I am using in this example are finished sizes. If the pieced border units you want to use are 3 inches finished, you can add a 1″ plain border to the sides of your quilt so it now measures 66″ square, which is divisible by 3. See how that works?
So here are a few other fun pieced borders I have done on my quilts:
Notice how the first border is large flying geese units, followed by a checkerboard border and finally a plain brown print border. All to frame these scrappy Sister’s Choice blocks.
This quilt top is framed with staggered strips cut from the color prints used in the blocks. I created the “staggered” design by combining the color print strips with strips of background fabric.
Here’s some close-up views of some of my borders:
Basically, experiment! Have fun with the framing of your quilt. As you can see, they can go from simple to an intricate secondary design like the one on the bottom right above.
Now it’s time for you to share your border experiences in the comments below to win a free pattern! You can win my pattern for Homestead Trail:
Be sure to comment to win! The drawing for the winner will be on Monday, February 4th. ***Congrats to Kathy! Winner of my pattern!***