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Borders That Frame



Let’s talk about borders, not how to measure and cut them, we will do that another time. Today we will tackle directional borders. What do you do when your quilt has an obvious direction?


I was doing the quilting on this quilt this week and it made me laugh, each side/border is facing a different direction! Haha! It’s kind of brilliant actually. I wish I had a full-size picture so you could see all the details. The center is the tree wreath blocks; everything spins out from there in helter-skelter directions that don’t immediately make sense…. But if you want a quilt you can put on the bed in any direction, you’ve got it!!


How about panel quilts like this fall harvest one. The center panel has an obvious top and bottom. The border fabric is trees that also have an obvious top and bottom.


When this is the case, the best thing to do is cut the tree fabric horizontal for the top and bottom borders and vertical for the two sides. This does require more yardage, but your trees will all be consistent with the center panel this way.

One way to avoid buying tons of yardage for the borders is to get an allover print with no clear top and bottom. This fishing themed quilt has an obvious direction in the body of the quilt, with all those blocks going the same direction. The border is a companion print that has no clear top/bottom making it easy to cut strips and sew them on however they fit, using the least amount of fabric. If your fabric is printed as a semi allover, with maybe two directions, you can cut your strips and turn them how that strip looks best.


Here is the safest way to border a directional quilt. This handwork quilt has a very clear direction, including words (there’s no mistaking which end is up!) The border is a floral allover that can be cut and sewn on in any direction with the same result! Foolproof :)


How about this little illustration (I didn’t have a quilt quite like this so just pretend this is a quilt). If you have a quilt with no clear top or bottom, but your border has a clear top and bottom, you could do something like this! Cut your border strips long enough to miter the corners (see miter tutorial here); attach all four borders to the quilt with the train wheels turned in (if this was trees the trunks would be towards the quilt on each side); miter the corners so that train chugs its way around the quilt uninterrupted, and the quilt will look the same from any angle!

What do you think? Ready to do some fun borders?!


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Seattle, WA USA

© 2020 Krista Moser.