Welcome to sashing school: 6 ways to sash your quilts

From Quiltmaking Essentials 2Ever looked at a block layout and thought it could use a little extra punch? Sashing is a great way to set off your blocks and make them truly sparkle!

If there’s one person we’d trust to make a sashing choice for us, it would be Donna Lynn Thomas. She’s written a dozen books on quiltmaking, sharing her tried-and-true tips on everything from cutting and pressing to machine piecing, along with all sorts of special sewing techniques. She’s a pro’s pro! And her quilts, well, they’re truly spectacular.

Candy Dots quilt
Candy Dots quilt by Donna Lynn Thomas, from
Patchwork Palette

Today we’re sharing some fun quilt-sashing ideas from Donna’s book Quiltmaking Essentials 2. In the book, she reveals everything you’d want to know about what to do with your quilt after you make your blocks, including ideas for settings, borders, backings, and bindings. And yes, sashings! See if Donna’s ideas might make their way into one of your quilts.


Types of Sashing

Excerpted from Quiltmaking Essentials 2 by Donna Lynn Thomas

Donna Lynn ThomasSashing strips are pieces sewn between blocks within a row, and they may be used between rows as well. Sashing can consist of plain fabric strips or pieced strips, and you’ll find it in both straight and on-point quilt settings. It can run across an entire quilt top as one piece, or be sewn into rows with sashing squares located at the corners of each block.

Although sashing strips run between blocks and rows, some quilters choose to make the first border on their straight-set quilt a sashing border. A sashing border is one that mimics the sashing between the blocks. It can be either pieced or plain, but it will match the block sashing. You don’t usually find sashing borders used in on-point quilt settings, because the side setting triangles separate the center of the quilt from the first border.

Below are some examples of different types of sashing.

Scrap Windmill Quilt
Although this is a miniature quilt, Scrap Windmill has all the components of a larger quilt, including plain sashing without sashing squares but with a sashing border.

Split Geese quilt
This lovely Split Geese quilt has sashing with sashing squares but no sashing border.


You’ll see pieced sashing not only between the blocks of this Cool Blue quilt, but also in the sashing border.


On-point quilts, such as Autumn Leaves, are just as likely to have plain sashing without sashing squares as straight-set quilts.

Cool Blue quilt
The sashing strips and squares in this lovely diagonally set Delft Baskets quilt are made from a variety of different prints.

Sashing strips and sashing squares are sometimes pieced in such a way that they integrate with the block corners to make secondary designs. This creates the look of interlocking blocks, making it difficult to discern where the blocks begin and end.

Morris Star quilt
Look closely at this Morris Star quilt. It contains only nine blocks, but the sashing and sashing squares are pieced to mimic the blocks, creating the look of interlocking blocks.

Sashing can be a lot of fun in a quilt, adding visual interest, surprising design elements, or just plain restful space between heavily pieced blocks. Consider using them in your own quilt designs.


Quiltmaking Essentials 2Want more of Donna’s sashing tips? Pick up Quiltmaking Essentials 2 at our website, ShopMartingale.com, and instantly download the eBook for free.

To sash or not to sash: do you ask the question? Share your sashing dos and don’ts in the comments!

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