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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

Comments for Do quilt borders need to be the same size?

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by: Julie Baird

You're welcome, PrettyPaws!

~ Julie

To Border or Not to Border, That is the Question
by: Prettypaws

I came here looking for an answer and found exactly what I needed. I'm still new at this so have to look around a lot for things. Anyway, my current jelly roll quilt is in the rail fence pattern but it's only 38 inches wide. It's 60 inches long, before any border.

I wanted to know if I had to add the same size border (s) all around. I want to add a 3 inch and a 2 inch to the sides but only a 2 inch to the top and bottom, just to finish it.

You answered my question - my quilt, my rules! And, your explanation of why some people add or don't add them was interesting.

Thanks so much for the help!

quilt borders
by: Anonymous

Thank you, I'm fretting because my quilt is just short of the length I want it to be.

Can an Applique Border mix with a Cross Stitch quilt
by: Anonymous

I was given 12 cross stitched blocks.They are 18" X 18". They are beautifully done but not big enough for a queen quilt. Has anyone mixed applique with Cross Stitch.
I can see a pretty flowers and vine surrounding the cross stitched blocks when I put side by side to get the secondary block. I have a photo but don't know how to upload it to this sight.
Hope someone sees this and has experimented with the two techniques together.

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