| Quilting Techniques : Quilt Borders|
Many quilters focus the bulk of their energy on the creating a quilt's central
design. More often than not, thoughts of adding a border occur after the quilt
is pieced. A well-chosen border, however, can have a sizable impact on a
quilt's appearance, and is worth consideration from the start of the design
Why Use Borders?
There are several benefits to including a border in your design. Consider it
if you need to:
- Extend the size of your quilt. When a particular size is needed, but
a quilt's blocks fall short, a border, or series of borders can supply the
additional length or width needed for any project.
- Frame quilt blocks. Borders can increase the impact of a quilt by
directing the eye to the central design.
- Increase interest. Quilts featuring subdued designs can be brought to
life by a well-chosen border.
- Enhance color. Borders can enrich a quilt's color scheme, playing up
tones from the center design.
- Use an On-Point Setting. When quilt blocks are set on the diagonal, a
border of setting triangles fills in the edges.
Types of Quilt Borders
There are many possibilities from which to choose. Often times, shapes used in
a quilt block or the desired effect of your design is the best guide in
selecting a border.
Borders can be single strips of fabric or pieced like a quilt block. Some can
even be foundation based. Simple borders can include more than one fabric of
varying widths and colors to create a multiple-frame effect.
The range of border choices includes:
Borders with diamonds. This pieced border is best for On-Point
settings, sawtooth edges or used in rows to accent a quilt's central design.
Borders with triangles. This pieced border creates a fence-like
effect around the central design. It can also be used to echo patterns from
Borders with squares. A simple pieced border of squares creates a
basic frame that compliments more intricate block designs.
Appliqué border. Appliqué enhances the visual effect of your quilt by
adding another dimension to an otherwise flat surface.
Borders with rectangles. Pieced rectangles create a piano-key effect
which either echoes a design or color theme from the central motif.
Multiple borders. More than one border can be added onto a quilt to
increase it's size or provide more dramatic impact. Multiple borders can be
pieced or solid strips of fabric.
Mixed borders. Some quilt designs benefit from the use of both pieced
and strip borders. A pieced inner and outer border separated by a strip border
can add color and increase the impact of an otherwise neutral quilt, for
No border. In some cases, such as a scrappy quilt, a border may not
Border Design Tips
Although there is no single "right" way to choose a border, there are a few
things to keep in mind:
- Border designs should repeat a pattern, shape or fabric from the quilt
- Changing the scale or fabric in a border can change the effect it
- If a border uses more than one print, make sure the background color
differs between them.
- Complex pieced borders work best when made with from fabrics with a
strong contrast between the border's background and design.
- For quilts featuring multiple borders, be sure the smaller border is
an even fraction of the larger borders. A 2-inch wide inner border, for
example, would work well with a 4-inch outer border.
Solid Border Construction Tips
- Use the lengthwise grain when cutting fabric for borders.
- Sew side border strips to the quilt top first, then the top and bottom
- Mark the center of each strip and each side of your quilt top. Use
this mark for aligning the two.
Pieced Border Construction Tips
1. Measure the length and width of your quilt through the center.
2. Subtract half an inch (the total seam allowance) to determine the
finished size of your quilt.
3. Calculate the number of border design units needed to cover the
measurement from step two. Round up any partial units.
4. Multiply the number of units needed by the width of a single unit to
determine the finished border length.
5. Calculate the width of "coping strips", if needed. This is fabric
added to the quilt top to extend it to the border dimensions.
Related : Free Border Patterns - More Quilting Techniques