How wide should I make the borders?

There’s a mathematical theory which we can use as a rule.

It is a sequence where last two figures are added together to make the next.

Here is a link to an article about a new children’s book about Fibonacci which has some lovely illustrations.

So, if you start with zero, add 1 ….. the first border will be one unit wide …

most of us work in inches or know how big an inch is, so we will say 1 inch.

The next border will also be 1, because 0 + 1 = 1

Mmm! Not rocket science, but not exciting either.

Next 1 + 1 = 2

1 + 2 =3

Starting to look OK

2 + 3 = 5

I like that!

But, what if we mix them up a bit?

It might work if the reddish border was pieced or applique, or the fabrics swapped around perhaps.

But I like this last one.

The first two, I wouldn’t use regardless of the fabric choice, from then on, I think I would use them, but would switch fabrics around more than I have with the examples.

The same for switching the sizes, the fabric has to work for the border sequence to work.

Kenny Kreations

has an explanation of the Fibonacci Sequence which is worth looking at,

along with a table for how to use the table when designing quilts.

Have I ever used this theory before?


Would I use it?

Yes, but not all the time.

The most interesting thing I discovered was that the numbers work best for me when I use them out of order!

Like all rules in quilting, it’s a place to start, but the fabric, if there are pieced or applique borders to be included, the finished size required, the amount of fabric available, ……….

The best answer I can give is lay the quilt top out, or put it up on a design wall, and lay out the fabrics, see what looks best!

About Virtual Quilter

I am a quilter who designs many more quilts than I will ever make, and I am sharing one quilt design every day in Virtual Quilter. I also share my completed projects in Stuff-Ups, and Christmas decorations in Christmas Everyday of the Year.
This entry was posted in Patchwork, Quilt and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to How wide should I make the borders?

  1. Donna says:

    thank you for demonstrating border size choices. Framing the quilt is an important finishing element. A pieced border will always work best if there is a solid piece between it and the pieced quilt blocks, just for stability if nothing else. It pays to take the time to consider the border during the design process, especially if you are wanting a particular size quilt for a bed.


    • Donna,

      The Mona Lisa would look rather untidy and insignificant without the magnificent frame she is in, and our quilts will never look like a masterpiece unless they are properly framed

      I agree wholeheartedly that both applique and pieced borders need that little bit of separation from the main quilt and from each other if there is more than one of them. I also like the final border as well as the binding to be one piece, partly for stability, but also I think it looks better.

      I still think eyeballing is a legitimate and useful tool to work out what borders a quilt needs, but sometimes it is nice to fall back on some rules, if only to break them!

      Perhaps there is room for a series of articles about borders …. the first one is done!

      Judy B


  2. Beth Patrick says:

    I am always laying the top out, usually on the floor cause that is the biggest place, and then playing with fabics to become the border.
    Sometimes I have posted it on the blog to get other’s ideas..

    and usually, I don’t have the faintest idea what the border will be until the main part is done,, it has to whisper to me ( or shout sometimes )

    Beth in Dallas


You are welcome to add your comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.