Alternative Borders

Posted by Ruth on 18 December 2012 | 2 Comments
This content belongs to Arbee Designs.


Have you ever run short of fabric for a border? Or do not have enough fabric to cut lengthwise and do not want joins in the border strips? Here's an idea that can help you. I used it on a Twisted Ribbons quilt I made recently but it can work for many quilts.

I used some of the leftover strips from the blocks to make a border insert which joins two sections of border together instead of a regular join. The insert can be positioned anywhere along the border. I added one to each border strips. You might like to add two on the long sides. Options are open depending on your fabrics.

Twisted Ribbons with alternative borders

For Twisted Ribbons I angled the strips (as in the photo above), but you could leave them straight too (as shown below). This could work great for one of those 2 1/2" strip packs if you have some leftovers. They only need to be as long as the border is wide.

Straight border inserts

If your joins are not straight, like mine in Twisted Ribbons, it is quite easy to make the correct angle. I started by making the insert section a little wider than required, that way I could trim it even after the join. Position both sections, right side up with outer edges inline. Draw a line on the main section along the edge of the insert. This will detemine the angle you need.

Draw a line on the main section

Flip the insert over so both sections are right side together and edge of insert is aligned with drawn line. It will look something like this.

With right sides together
align the insert along the drawn line

Sew the seam and then trim the seam allowance back to 1/4". Press the insert in place. Add the other end the same way and then trim so the strip is straight.

Whatever you decide, join the sections together to make up each border strip and then cut it to the size your pattern calls for.

By making the border strips longer than required you can have more control over where the insert is positioned along the border. For example I cut two WOF strips from the main fabric (approximately 40") and added the insert. After they were joined with the insert, I ended up with an 83" strip. My border only required the strip to be 52" therefore I could cut more off one end of the strip to position the insert closer to the corner rather than in a central location.

Border strip - longer than required

Decide where you want the insert positioned along the border and cut the border strips to length before adding to your quilt.

Perhaps like this:

Cut border strips to length

Or this:

Cut border strips to length

Once you have cut your strips to length, add them in as directed in your pattern.

For more information on this Twisted Ribbons quilt pattern click here.

Perhaps you will try this on your next quilt. 


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  • Excellent idea Ruth, so very effective. I will have to give it a go.

    Posted by Jen, 03/01/2013 9:02pm (9 years ago)

  • very cool borders, Ruth
    They look great.

    Posted by Jen, 19/12/2012 7:08am (9 years ago)

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