Quilt Borders
Unlimited in Style

Quilt borders are unlimited in style and adds dimension to quilt designs.

This step is the second task in making a quilt. You need to spark the imagination with the right Border designs.

It has nothing to do with first-time newbie’s just learning how to make a quilt. Everyone gives thought to the kind of border to use.


There are as many possibilities for quilt borders as there are quilt patterns...

...well maybe not that many, but there are a lot of choices when it comes to adding a border design to your quilt top.

Consider more than just cutting a strip of fabric and sewing it to the edge to form a border.

Borders are what you add once the top has been pieced.


quilt designs


You may know exactly how your quilt border will look; if so, you most likely planned it right from the start.

For those of us that are still trying to decide, it's not that we think of a border as an afterthought...we are simply undecided!

Good borders do not intentionally steal center stage. But rather they should enhance the center design.

Think of the border as a complimentary frame around the center of your quilt in order to give it a finished look.

Provide a visual for a stopping point before binding it off. Remember a border can also assist in achieving a proper overall finished size just by adding a few inches here and there.

By using a quilt design wall you can quickly decide If the quilt borders enhance the center design. You can make sure it does not overpower and take away from the focal point.

If you don't have a quilt design wall, you can make one real cheap! Use our free instructions at Quilt Design Wall.


How Wide Can Your Border Be?

quilt design

The border width should be less than any one block within the quilt. Do you have a large quilting design that will showcase the border like we show here?

There are no rules about which border goes with which quilt. Symmetrical balance is an important consideration.

If you aren't satisfied with the body of your quilt, improve it with a mitered border using a pronounced Batik special quilter's fabric like we did.

The quilt borders are the portion of the quilt that drapes over the sides of your bed. Generally the body of the quilt will cover the center of the bed.

But the borders leave you with a finished look and generally the only part which stands out once it is on the bed.

Butted Quilt Borders are Easy

quilting designs

Butted corners require the least amount of fabric and the simplest way to finish corners.

Using some of the same fabrics that were used when piecing the quilt will make an excellent framed appearance. Keep in mind that dark colors or those that have a dark-medium value provide a strong frame.

A light value is more open and tends to give the feeling of fading off into the sunset. Multiple strips of several of the fabrics from the quilt add interest and continuity.

Avoid a repetitive look by using different widths that graduate from narrow to wide, or narrow to wide and back to narrow.

Butted or mitered corners on quilts such as our Simple Border add an interesting finished look and very easy to do. You have enough to think about when beginning quilting for the first time.

These steps on how to make a quilt are easy. Put this web site in your favorites and come back often. Look around and you will find many, many free quilting instructions on this site!

Be sure and visit our Machine Quilting Patterns AND
Continuous Line Quilting Patterns for quilting ideas on quilting quilts.

Curves, Swags and Vines for Large Borders

how to make a quilt

If your quilt allows, plan for a border that is the width of one block or unit of the quilt. When you come up short in the overall dimensions of a pieced quilt, add wide borders to gain a few inches.

Wide borders are a perfect place to showcase applique work. Adding an applique border to a pieced quilt is a clever strategy.

The world of applique is fun and easy to master so fill in with stems and vines then add a few other shapes in the corners.

Don't know how to determine the best width for a border? Using your design wall, audition by placing folded pieces of fabric next to your quilt then stand back to see the effect the borders have on the design.

Try different widths and combinations of fabrics. Always consider at least two borders.

Actually construct a section of a pieced border using the best choices before deciding. There is no one right answer.

The best choice is always what will enhance the overall effect of your quilt.

The Look of Folded Ribbon as Quilt Borders

border designs

Border designs should be more than an afterthought and should take some planning. Stunning borders are generally planned right from the start.

Borders should not compete with the center design area. The best design will provide a natural stopping point for the viewer's eye.

Partial blocks from the body of the quilt can be used effectively in borders.

To create an aesthetic look, arrange individual block designs on the corners, as well as sides, top and bottom for an appealing look.

Flying Geese is an Excellent Quilt Border

quilting instructions

Flying Geese borders are a directional pattern. This means you must decide if the design will flow around the quilt in one direction or will it change direction at the corners?

Generally they change direction in the middle of each side.

The triangle squares are easily mass-produced with quick piecing techniques.

Flying Geese units are twice as wide as they are high, for example 2 x 4 inches or 2 1/2 by 5 inches.

Checkerboard and Scrappy Quilt Borders

quilting instructions


Checkerboard patterns are easily strip pieced. Take a look at how our Pieced Borders contribute to a quilt. You can use a four patch or nine patch units in checkerboard arrangements to achieve a stunning border.

Try using all the fabrics in the main theme of the quilt to make attractive and interesting boarders.

Don't be shy, use up to four different fabrics that tie in with the main theme of the quilt. Even use printed or solid fabrics.

Plain borders are often the perfect frame for an intricate center design, especially one with lots of movement.

Turn any ho-hum quilt into a 'knocks your socks off' attention getter just by adding the right border.

Fabric widths and fabric selection can dramatically change the appearance of any quilt. With all the sizes and variations, you can prepare hundreds of different borders each having their own unique look.

border design

Braid borders are constructed with short strips sewn together along their long edges.

The strips may be cut using random widths or even widths.

Position the strips so that they are perpendicular to the quilt.

For yet another look try positioning the strips at an angle to the quilt with the angle changing direction at the center of each side.



How to Add an Applique Border

Piecing a Border to add Interest

Return to Keepsake Quilts From Quilt Borders



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