Formula for size of borders?

geezerfolks_SharonG_FLApril 23, 2012

Just wondering if there's a specific formula to use when putting on borders. Right now I'm putting three borders on a small quilt to make it larger.....1 inch, 2 inch and 3 sounds boring.....are there other options?


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I think it depends on the size of the quilt, on the fabric you are using for borders, and on a dozen other factors! So I guess that means I don't think there's a formula. If two of the borders are solids, or darks or brights, and another is a bold print, that would have an effect too. Best to lay them out and see how it appeals to you.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 6:07PM
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Sharon, I often do narrow-wide-narrow. Like 1", 3", 1". Or a narrow solid, wider pieced and another narrow "solid".


    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 8:30PM
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Karen Kay Buckley gave a lecture at our last Guild meeting about borders. She is a very planned quilter - everything, including her borders is planned to the point she designs, & draws them out on thin chiropractor exam paper. She recommends that your borders relate to your quilt, including size and design. She says to look at your blocks and pick an element & size (same, smaller,larger)and relate your borders to the block designs. She said when she judges, she downgrades fantastic borders that do not "relate" to the rest of the quilt.

Not an answer, but maybe another way to look at your borders and decide sizes. I came home from her lecture and decided to repeat the sashing on a quilt I'm working on, and carry it into the border. I just figured out what to do with the corners this weekend, keeping what she said in my head.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 9:06PM
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Seems I read somewhere to keep the border to 1/3 the size of your block size? So if your blocks were each 12" finished, your border(s) need to be no more than 4" wide total.

Or's your quilt.


    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 10:14PM
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Kate, That's usually how I do....audition the options and see what DH's comments are.

Donna, I don't think I've ever made borders like that. Sure is something to think about. Thanks.

Marsha, That's very interesting what she does as a judge relating to borders and I like it! I always thought the quilt should be the focal point and the borders framed it similar to matting and framing a complement it. However, I think if the quilt is a bit 'plain' a fancy border perks it up.

I guess it all depends on the quilt and the vibes it sends out.


    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 10:34PM
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Teresa, I thought there was some kind of 'guideline' as to the size of blocks, but couldn't remember what it was. The quilt I'm working on pertaining to this question, is one made with a jelly roll but it didn't have the full 1600 inches. So, there are no blocks, just strips. With the second border the same size as the strips, I wasn't sure about the third border being 3"....guess I'll just have to work with it when I get to that point.


    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 10:46PM
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I struggled with the size of the last border on my 1600 JR quilt. I had seen a picture online of one that had 2 borders that I really liked. I made the first border finish at 2" (like the strips - Fran picked out the batik for me at Mary Jo's) and the bigger border finished at 4" (also a batik from Mary Jo's). The binding is also the batik from the 2" inner border. I think the 2 borders add character and weight framing the strips.

I think 3 smaller borders may confuse the eye by competing with the horizontal stripes in the main body of the quilt.

This is my "Goodbye Irene" - I read recently the name Irene has been retired due to the extent of the damage the Hurricane caused in the Northeast last year.

Someone here suggested I quilt it like Hurricane winds - which is what I did. The border is quilted in chaotic leaves - anyone who's been in a Tropical storm or Hurricane understands.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 8:34AM
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Your quilt looks good, Marsha. Mine is wild, bright and crazy. I was given the strips at Christmas and this is the only thing I could think of to do with them. Because of the craziness of the strips, I'm using a dark brown as a first border to help calm it down. Guess I'll audition again to see how it would look with wider borders. Don't know why I'm making this so's just a play quilt!


    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 9:09AM
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