top of page

Scrappy Trips Challenge 2024 - Part 4 - Borders

You've sewn as many blocks as you need for your quilt. You've sewn them together into the quilt top and now it's time to add a border to your quilt.

You have 4 options.

OPTION 1 - NO BORDER. If you are satisfied with the size of your quilt, leave it as it is. This quilt has a lot of open seams. Layering the quilt and basting or loading it on a longarm can add tension to those seams and pull them apart.

Press the quilt well, then run a "victory lap" of stitching within the 1/4" edge of the quilt. The "victory lap" of stitching reinforces the outside edge of the quilt and makes it much more stable.

Victory Lap of stitching close to outside edge

OPTION 2 - SINGLE BORDER. This quilt has a single border around the quilt. Your border can be any size you want. This image has a 4" border around the quilt. Use one of the fabrics that is used in the quilt or something completely different. You are the designer and you are the quilter!

Borders on a quilt serve 3 purposes.

  1. They frame the quilt to make it look more finished.

  2. They add size to the quilt depending on the size of the border you can add as much as you want. I once added 10" borders to a finished quilt to make the drape on the bed longer!

  3. They help to square up a quilt. The more borders you add, the greater opportunity there is to get that quilt a bit more even. This often happens with blocks on the diagonal and when care hasn't been taken when joining the blocks with sashing.

A plain border frames and squares up a quilt

Here's how to add a single border.

  • Lay the pressed quilt on a flat surface. The floor is often the best place but you need a surface large enough that you can spread the quilt as flat as possible.

  • Measure the length of the quilt 3 times. Once at either end and then once through the middle. Add these 3 numbers together and divide by 3 to get the average amount. I will round up to the nearest 1/4". This is the length of the border that you need to cut. Never assume this measurement based on the pattern instructions. Everyone's quarter inch is different and our 75" quilt may actually measure 75.5" or 74.5".

  • Cut 2 border pieces for the length of the quilt. Pin the ends and the middle of the quilt and the border and then keep dividing the distance between the pins and adding a few more. Because you've carefully measured and cut your border, your borders should start and end exactly even with the quilt.

  • Sew the borders in place and press the seams to the border.

  • Now, lay the quilt on the floor again and measure from side to side in 3 places. Close to the edge of the just sewn border and through the middle. Add these numbers together and divide by 3.

  • Cut 2 border pieces this length and pin the border in place. Sew and press the border. I like to back stitch at the start and end of these seams to secure the stitching.

  • You should NEVER sew a border strip to the edge of the quilt and CUT IT OFF!

OPTION 3 - PIANO KEYS. This border can be made from the leftovers of the WOF strips. Remember, we were able to get 2 strips 16" long and probably had about 8" remaining from each strip of Width of Fabric. I think the piano keys look best when a solid fabric zinger is added before the border. Here are two samples. You decide.

I decided to cut all 2 1/2" strips to 6 1/2" long, even though I could have cut these strips any length at all. I didn't want to make the quilt too much bigger than a generous lap size quilt.

Piano Key border close up

It was easy to match seam allowances when adding the border.

Piano Key border with left over strips.

I sewed groups of 6 strips together lengthwise and then sewed the groups into each of my borders. I chose not to add the zinger to the piano key border so I just had to match each of the seams of the border with the seams of the quilt.

OPTION 4 - CHECKERBOARD This border makes use of any 2 1/2" squares leftover. This time I decided to include a 2 1/2" zinger or inner border.

I used the above method of measuring (carefully) and adding the 2 1/2" border.

All the remaining 2 1/2" strips (plus some extras I had to cut) were cut into 2 1/2" squares. Then I sewed, sewed, and sewed pairs. Then I joined the pairs into 4 long strip sets. You'll notice that I was able to continue nesting and spinning the seam allowances.

I used the seams of the blocks as a guide to match up the seams of the checkerboard border. It was quite quick and easy.

Use the seams from the body of the quilt to line up the border squares.

My 3 quilts are pieced and quilted. Next up is the binding. These projects are perfect to use as "leader and enders" while stitching a more detailed project.


May 20: Make the Blocks Part A and Part B

June 10: Border ideas (scrappy) - Piano Keys and Checkerboard

June 17: Binding - I'll do a tutorial on the Faux Piped Binding

Remember, it's not a rush. Just something to encourage us to sew and use up what we have.

Happy Quilting.


Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page