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Do quilt borders need to be the same size?

A reader inquires...

Most quilt tops seem to be very symmetrical.

Is it acceptable to have top and bottom borders wider than the side borders?

Julie replies...

This is a GREAT question!

The first thing to remember is that it is YOUR quilt. You are in charge of making the pattern—whether you've designed it yourself or purchased it—work for your needs.

There are two very good reasons to use borders of different sizes.

To fit the quilt to the bed

While you don't see it as often today, earlier quilters frequently used different sized borders so that the quilt would fit the bed. Other times, borders were omitted from some of the sides because they wouldn't be seen. Why go to all that work when no one could see it tucked up against the wall.

Today's pattern designers typically design quilts intended for beds. I'm always amazed when the border is on all four sides. I'd much rather have the center field design go up and over the pillows instead of having the border on the pillows, so frequently I'll rework the design to my liking.

To fit pieced borders to a specific block size

Sometimes, especially when you're adding borders made from on-point blocks to a center field made of blocks set in straight rows and columns, you just can't get the math to work out nicely.

To make the design work, quilters will add inner borders of different widths to compensate for the discrepancy between the on-point and straight-set measurements.

One additional option...

Sometimes you'll even see designs where the side borders have been omitted completely. Most often this treatment is seen on wall quilts to mimic tapestries or knitted designs.


Your quilt.

Your rules!

As long as you're happy with the finished quilt, that's really all that matters.

I hope this helps!

Readers, as always your thoughts, comments and experiences are most welcome. Please share them using the 'Comments' link below. Thank you.


Julie Baird

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