Beyond basic borders, day 1: pieced quilt borders (+ sale)

You’ve spent hours, weeks, months (years?) on a quilt. You’ve lovingly selected colors, carefully contemplated fabrics, and cut, pieced, and appliquéd to the best of your ability. It’s official: the center of your quilt is finally done!

Now, what about a border?

Think of a border as a picture frame: it adds structure, balance, and beauty to the main attraction. When you start to think of borders as a design element—just as important as the quilt center—you can take your quilts to a new level of “wow!”

Black-Eyed Batik table runner
To emphasize the drama of the quilt center, a simple pieced border of small squares was all this table runner needed.

This week, we’re focusing on clever alternatives to one-fabric borders. First up: pieced quilt borders. Have you considered them for your quilts? Author Sheila Sinclair Snyder shares her take on the topic in her book Perfect-Fit Pieced Borders.

Perfect-Fit Pieced BordersSheila says: “I’ve been using pieced blocks to complete my borders for several years now. Here’s the thing about blocks: we quilters are really good at making them! So, I say let’s play to our strengths. When you build a border of pieced blocks, it’s so easy to add them to your quilt. The final construction of the quilt is simplified since everything fits together. You simply add a border block at each end of the row and the border magically appears as you sew the rows together.”

Take a look at the examples below from Perfect-Fit Pieced Borders. Try to imagine these quilts with plain strips of fabric as borders instead. What a difference a pieced border can make!

Walled Garden quilt
In “Walled Garden,” each border block is the same size as the blocks in the center. When you’re done sewing the rows together, the border is already attached.

The Drama Club quilt
The pieced border in “The Drama Club” is simply a pieced sashing—a bold and punchy checkerboard. The trick to getting it to fit is to piece all of the sashing and border units, measure their length, and then trim all the appliqué blocks to that same dimension. Whether going horizontal or vertical, the sashing and border units will fit perfectly.

Tulips to Go quilt
The border design for “Tulips to Go” resembles a woven basket handle. It’s made up of two simple blocks, pieced together in units that correspond to the basket block dimensions.

Find more easy pieced-border options in Perfect-Fit Pieced Borders.


The Border WorkbookWant more ideas for pieced borders? The Border Workbook includes 27 border designs to strip piece or paper piece. Choose from Flying Geese, Log Cabin, Sawtooth, and braided borders, plus fun pictorial motifs like hearts and paw prints. Includes yardage charts so you can estimate the fabric needed for the quilt you’re working on, no matter what size.

What’s your go-to border choice—plain borders, pieced borders, or no borders? Share your answer in the comments!

Stop by Stitch This! tomorrow when we’ll reveal another fun idea for quilt borders. Hint: if you have a stash of large-scale fabric prints, be sure to join us!

17 Comments (leave a comment)

Leave a comment

*Indicates required field