Some quilts look good without borders added and some don’t. If you make a quilt that does not have a border because the pattern doesn’t call for it, you can always add one on. There are benefits to adding a border to a quilt whether your pattern calls for on or not. So this week I have chosen to do a post on border types and my tips on how to determine what kind would be right for your quilt. Let’s get started!
No Border: First, there are some quilts that you will not want to add a border to so as not to detract from the overall design or secondary design that the blocks by themselves create. Here are two examples:
Both of these quilts have such strong patterns created by the quilt blocks, I felt that adding a border would detract from the visual effect. Although, for the quilt on the left, a plain dark border would be OK to add if I wanted to increase the size of the quilt. Mainly, the question you want to ask yourself when thinking about adding a border is “will is add to the design or will it hide the design?”.
Some table topper patterns look good without borders also. The two patterns below show that. If you had a plain border on either of these it might detract from the design.
Quiet Border: The next type of border is added, in my opinion, to frame the blocks but not bring attention to itself. It’s used also if you want to make a quilt bigger but don’t want to detract from the design. That’s why I call this one a “quiet border”. The two quilts below are examples:
In both cases I wanted to frame the quilt, yet I did not want the border to be the focus of the quilt. In fact, for Flower Boxes on the right, the border that matches the light background of the blocks makes the block pattern stand out even more, in my opinion.
Framing Border: This is similar to the solid border above but it’s not really as “quiet” because different color prints are being used to actually create the look of a real frame.
By alternating between the browns with a red print in the middle, I created a frame for the quilt blocks and appliqué. Yet it still doesn’t detract from the quilt blocks because the borders are plain strips of fabric. Also adding several plain border strips like this is another way to add size to your quilt.
Pieced Borders: These borders are used a lot to use up leftover fabric, make your quilt larger or to add an interesting design element. I use these types of borders a lot in my designs for those reasons.
Sometimes I add a pieced border to a quilt with no plain border separating it from the quilt blocks:
I did that with Star Struck because I liked how the flying geese border played off the star blocks and the light colored geese flowing through the quilt.
Other times I add a plain border between the pieced border and the blocks so the center is framed and the pieced border is more noticeable.
For Scrappy North Stars on the left, I put in a dark plain border between the blocks and the piano key scrappy border so it wouldn’t clash with the blocks. Also, look closely at the pieced border for Star Wheels on the right. The pieced border is a color print version of the black element of the pieced blocks that make up the quilt.
Then there is the combination pieced and plain border in reverse, like in Sister’s Reunion:
And finally… I wanted to do a unique pieced border on Seaside Cottage. Since the blocks in the center of the quilt are made up of small pieces, I decided to make a pieced border out of larger blocks:
I think it creates a nice balance and adds interest.
Appliqué Borders: Last, but definitely not least, are appliqué borders. These are usually plain borders that are used as a backdrop for an appliqué motif. These borders can be on the outside of the quilt blocks framing the quilt like the two pictured below:
Or you can appliqué in a border area and then frame that with plain borders like I did with Christmas Dreams:
So that’s my synopsis of border types that I use. Have I left out any that you like to use? Are you now inspired to border a quilt top just made up of block rows for some added fun? Leave a comment or question below and be entered into a drawing for my pattern, Twinkling Log Cabin:
The drawing will be on Monday, August 28th. Good luck!