Miss Rosie’s trick for a perfect pieced-border fit 👍🏻

Carrie Nelson—a.k.a. the clever and talented designer behind Miss Rosie’s Quilt Company—does amazing things with pieced borders.

Cracked Pots quilt
Cracked Pots from
Miss Rosie’s Farmhouse Favoritesthis quilt features three pieced borders surrounding a center of Courthouse Steps blocks

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

Stella Blue quilt
Stella Blue features a flying-geese border with half-square-triangle cornerstones

But how do you make a pretty pieced border that fits your quilt top? No worries: Carrie’s got you covered, and her smart tip below works for all kinds of pieced borders. Best of all? It’s an easy fix. Just a little extra stitching here and there and your pieced border will shrink or grow to the perfect size. Read on for Carrie’s sage advice.

Carrie NelsonWhen it comes to pieced borders, sometimes you get it right the first time. Most of the time, we need to adjust. In this case, it means adjusting the length of the pieced border.

The easiest and least noticeable way to make the border strip the same length as the quilt top is to make some of the seams just a skosh bigger or smaller. If you need to shorten the border strip, sew a line of stitching just inside the first seamline. If you need a longer border strip, sew a line of stitching just outside the first seamline and then remove the first line of stitching. That 1/16″ difference in seam will add up to 1/8″ between the two units.

An eighth of an inch removed eight times quickly adds up to an inch. Just make sure that you randomly space the larger or smaller seams so that they aren’t obvious, and you’re good to go.

Don’t you just love the way her mind works?

Now that you know how to “skosh” your border seams, why not make a pieced-border quilt? Carrie shares several gorgeous choices in Miss Rosie’s Farmhouse Favorites:

Due South quilt
Due South

Wayne and Gordy quilt
Wayne and Gordy

Opening Day quilt
Opening Day

Raise the Roof quilt
Raise the Roof

See all the quilts from Miss Rosie’s Farmhouse Favorites here—when you order the book, you can instantly download the eBook for free!

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

50 Comments (leave a comment)

  • I have always done like Carrie for pieced borders – by adjusting the seam it works every time! I like piano key borders.

    Karen on August 20, 2018
  • Solid color border so the eye can rest and the pattern enclosed or stopped if pattern busy.

    grace lynne mulcahey on August 20, 2018
  • I’ve done a few pieced borders but it’s usually quicker for a plain one. The most fun is designing the border so that it fits like it should – never thought of adjusting seam allowances. Have to try that.

    —Joy B on August 20, 2018
  • Some quilts just need a plain border to contain the quilt. I have made several lately that have pieced borders or none at all. I hate to mark the plain borders for hand quilting so the pieced borders are easier to quilt. If I use a plain border, I cut the fabric on the lengthwise grain. It makes it much more stable and if you hang your quilts that is important.

    If I am designing the quilt myself I sometimes take a part of the block and make the border. I do love the piano keys borders and I also like saw tooth borders combined with plain borders.

    I also like where it is partly pieced and partly plain strips like Due South. That makes it easier to adjust the size. Miss Rosier’s quilt are wonderful.

    —Phyllis on August 20, 2018
  • I like to do pieced borders that continue the design elements. Plain borders use lots of fabric and it is more difficult for me to get them to measure them accurately so that they aren’t wavy.

    —Julia S on August 20, 2018
  • I’ve only used plain borders but would like to try something different.

    —Kaye Walker on August 20, 2018
  • Being a newer ish quilter, I usually do just a plain border, because it’s easier and faster, but I have done some pieced ones too! I much prefer the look of a pieced border. It sure adds a lot to the quilt! I like to do a fancy stitch quilting along the plain borders to add some interest to the plain borders.

    —Judy Magnus on August 20, 2018
  • I have only done solid fabric borders.

    —carol on August 20, 2018
  • I have done some pieced borders and had a teacher in a class share the tip for getting the borders to fit. I tend to use plain borders more often, but do love the look of a pieced border. I am planning to make some of the quilts in this book.

    —Maria L Zook on August 20, 2018
  • I’ve only used plain borders because they are easy, but I love the look of pieced borders on other people’s quilts. I think I need to try some of my own!

    —Dottie MACOMBER on August 20, 2018
  • All the work of creating blocks but the FUN of adding a border to showcase your efforts, fun to use part of pieced block in my borders. Luv the fun you share and amazing quilty ideas, thanks for chance to be winner.

    —Joane on August 20, 2018
  • I generally use plain borders but admire pieced borders.

    —Frances Claassens on August 20, 2018
  • I have done some of all kinds of borders. Depends on the quilt. But I do love pieced borders but sometimes go for easy with plain borders because of time.

    —Rills Burnham on August 20, 2018
  • I use all three depending on the quilt.

    —Peggy on August 20, 2018
  • I am sad to say most times I am tired of making the quilt by the time the borders comes along. That is the beauty of making a Miss Rosie’s pattern is that by the end of the quilt instructions you have pieced the border elements! I dearly love that I get to use all the extra fat quarter fabric for the borders in a Miss Rosie quilt pattern. The timing for this note is perfect. Just this morning I was matching fabric to make a Miss Rosie pattern called December Rose. That has been on my "want to make" list for years!

    —Linda Ferguson on August 20, 2018
  • It depends on the quilt. Sometimes no border is the perfect solution. Other times it’s a plain border(s) and sometimes I love pieced borders. I don’t think there is just one solution fits all.

    —Dorothy Carter on August 20, 2018
  • My go to border is just a plain border or multiple plain borders. However, I would love to learn to make pieced borders to enhance my quilts.

    —Lynette Wilson on August 20, 2018
  • I think pieced or appliqued borders add a lot to the quilt. Right now I have Due South on my design wall and hope to get it all together by the end of this week. I love this book and hope to make several more of Carrie’s fun designs–Cracked Pots is up next!

    —Karen D Martin on August 20, 2018
  • I’ve used plain & pieced, depends on the quilt. I’ve used a Miss Rosie pattern & loved it. Plan to use more. Great ideas for pieced borders in this book Thanks

    —Sandie G on August 20, 2018
  • I use a lot of prayer!

    —Judy Thompson on August 20, 2018
  • I love those quilts! All of the above! The suggestion of adding a line of stitching or making the seam allowance a tiny bit smaller will really come in handy when doing borders on round robin quilts! Sometimes, the size isn’t the same on each side and it’s hard to get the border to match.

    Ruth Janssen on August 20, 2018
  • I use mostly plain borders, but have done my share of pieced. Usually I am in a hurry to finish and move on to the next project, and since I sew mostly charity quilts, simpler borders make better production for me.

    —SandyMay on August 20, 2018
  • I do many solid color borders but I also do pieced borders – it depends on the quilt. Or whatever happens to suit my fancy the day I am working on borders. Many times I will pull out a specialty ruler to try a new style of border. I have also used adjusting the seam allowances to get pieces to fit and come out where I want them to.

    —Ann West on August 20, 2018
  • I follow the pattern, the border is part of the overall appeal of the quilt.

    —Connie F on August 20, 2018
  • I love Miss Rosie’s pieced borders! Unless the pattern calls for a pieced border,I mostly do plain ones because they take less time and I am usually in a hurry to get it done.

    —Wendy on August 20, 2018
  • I am amazed** I have used multiple solid borders and thought I was being fancy and clever! Wow the pieced borders in this book have inspired me to refinish some waiting-to-be-finished quilt tops with pieced borders. The size adjusting tip is pure genius as well as a duh why didn’t I think of that moment. Thanks, I learn much from this site.


    —nina on August 20, 2018
  • I like to do a mixture depending on the quilt design – applique, piecing or none at all!

    —Eleanor Kay Hunzinger on August 20, 2018
  • I have done all types of borders. It depends on the quilt and or pattern. I have also used the "skosh" method on pieced borders. I sometimes have trouble with wavy solid borders. Very frustrating. I do like the look of pieced borders.

    —Stephenie Kyser on August 20, 2018
  • I love pieced borders, especially flying geese. It’s almost like making a second quilt. I’m absolutely loving the Cracked Pots quilt.

    —Susan Mormile on August 20, 2018
  • It all depends on the quilt but I do love a great border.

    —Christi on August 20, 2018
  • I can’t tell you how much Pat Sliane’s books have helped me with quilt and sewing projects! Thank you!

    —Mary on August 21, 2018
  • It depends on the body pattern of the quilt, but I mostly prefer a pieced border, that adds and also blends in with the body of the quilt.

    —Donna Belisle on August 21, 2018
  • My use of borders definitely depends on the quilt. I made Cracked Pots and absolutely love it, but it was really a lot of work. I used over 130 different fabrics in it. I like to make pictorial quilts so I don’t use a border on them.

    —Barbara on August 21, 2018
  • Usually plain borders but would like to try more pieced borders!!

    —Patty Fallon on August 21, 2018
  • J really like borders for my quilts and most quilts need to be larger to completly cover the bed. This looks like a book I could use with all the different borders.

    Althea Klosterman on August 21, 2018
  • I love a pieced border, but have to admit I’m sometimes too mentally lazy to figure out how to make it fit correctly.

    —Stephanie Woodward on August 22, 2018
  • My go-to border is pieced! Thanks for the preview of this book!

    —Karen on August 22, 2018
  • All depends on the pattern! I’ve used them all. Applique is my least favorite as it just takes so much time. But they sure are beautiful!

    —tammi Williams on August 22, 2018
  • I have approximately 20 Layer Cakes waiting to be baked!! I Love precuts!!!

    —Peggy Wagner on August 23, 2018
  • I love using pieced borders, if the top can handle it. I generally have a plain border between the quilt top and the pieced border. This allows me to adjust the width of the plain one to allow the pieced one to fit. I will adjust a skosh if that is all that is needed.

    —Sherbie Tollefson on August 24, 2018
  • Love the flying geese borders on opening day.

    —Sue MacLeod on August 24, 2018
  • Love, love, love pieced borders and the challenge of making them fit and would love to win Miss Rosies book for more pattern ideas

    Becky Pike on August 24, 2018
  • How lovely. Did you really mean to have five flying geese going the opposite direction on the bottom left side of the Stella Blue quilt?

    Carrie definitely did that intentionally, Anita – I believe there’s a story about it in her book! –Jenny

    —Anita Johnson on August 24, 2018
  • I am trying to do more pieced.

    —Linda Christianson on August 24, 2018
  • my go to border is a plain one. I have never had good luck with pieced borders.

    —Donna on August 24, 2018
  • I go with plain borders; but have in mind to do a piano key sometime.

    —Nancy on August 24, 2018
  • I have made pieced borders and plain borders and even no borders at all! A lot depends on the quilt, and how much time I have. I think borders frame the quilt and some need a fancier frame than others.

    —Linda Towers on August 25, 2018
  • I love your pieced borders. I will put them on a quilt almost every time if fabric permits. Thank you for more ideas.

    —Mary Clark on August 25, 2018
  • I like pieced borders or at least parts of two sides that have a common corner. It seems to add a lot of interest and also helps out when you run short of fabric.

    —Linda Klungle on August 26, 2018
  • Just plain borders so far … will get more adventuresome eventually!

    —bookboxer on August 27, 2018

Leave a comment

*Indicates required field