Over the last couple of months, we have been working on our Little Playmates Quilts. First, we showed how the blocks go together, then the popular sashing with stars tutorial. Now that both quilt tops are pieced, we are adding the final borders.
Many of our quilts don’t have borders, but some quilt patterns are complimented nicely by the addition of a border. Borders are good for quilts that need a frame to stop the overall pattern. They are also a quick way to make a quilt bigger. Skinny borders can also make a nice statement. In this case, it was part of the pattern we used, so we liked the design from the start. Our first choice for the border fabric was a print from the Sidewalks line that had many of the same colors.
While we love this fabric and it matches colors individually, the overall look just wasn’t quite right for us. The background pink color of the fabric is just too soft to balance all the bright colors within the blocks. The red of the stars in the sashing and the tiny blue polka dots of the white background fabric are strong colors that overpower the pink.We went to our favorite quilt shop in Logan to find something new, since nothing in our stock seemed like the perfect fit, either. When we saw this navy blue print from Joel Dewberry’s Wander line, we were sure it was the perfect thing. The navy is almost the same color as the blue polka dots on white, and it’s a strong enough color to balance all the other prints. The simple pattern is also a nice contrast against the busy playtime prints.
So how do you choose the perfect quilt border? Even we make mistakes sometimes, but here are some guidelines to help you choose:
-Decide what you want the border to be: Is it a frame for the quilt, or a continuation of the overall quilt? If it’s a frame, you want it to have good contrast, while harmonizing with the overall quilt color scheme and style. If it’s a continuation of the quilt, it should blend with the background or overall color, tone, and style of the quilt.
-Consider the size: If your border is wider than 4″, you can usually carry a large-scale print with no problem. If it’s smaller, use a medium- to small-scale print. The larger the border, the larger the print can be.
-Decide how many borders you want: A skinny, solid-colored or simple border is a good way to break up busy prints.
-Audition fabrics: If you’re able, lay a corner of your quilt over the top of the border fabric, so the border fabric frames the quilt as if it were sewn on. Squint to blur (or as we call it, “fuzz”) your vision. This will help you see what the quilt will look like from a distance. It also helps you visually separate color values, since it obscures the details.
-Don’t be afraid to follow your instincts: There’s always an exception to the rule. Don’t be afraid to break them once in awhile! The final word is whether or not it’s something you love.
In the end, it all comes down to personal preference. You might even like our quilt with the pink borders better than the blue. For us, it was a matter of matching the style of the bunk room and making them not too girly for the grandsons. As soon as we get these quilted and bound, we’ll show you how great they look in the bunk room!