More on Borders

On the “Making the Borders Fit” post, Nancy wrote:

I am in the process of trying to make a border work on a mini-bowtie/SBS quilt top….. and so far what I want to do isn’t working. The quilt top is 52×68 right now…. and I wanted to add a solid color strip and then finish with bowties. But trying to find a number divisible by six is proving frustrating (the bowties are 6? finished) as I can’t find an equal width for the sides and ends for the solid color strip.

If you look at most of my quilts with pieced borders, you’ll see that for the non-pieced border just prior to the pieced border, the side borders are often not the same width as the top and bottom borders. You have to end up with the top being a multiple of whatever size blocks you want to use in your pieced border.


Look at the cover of the book. What? You don’t have your own copy?? Well, then click on the book, go to my web page, order it and I’ll get you an autographed copy in the mail ASAP!

See that little nine patch pieced border. In order to get the top to be a multiple that would allow that border to fit, I needed to make the side borders different from the top and bottom borders. If I had done it with the gold border, it would have been real obvious. I did it with the navy border right after the blocks. I’ll bet you hadn’t even noticed! See that the side navy borders are a bit wider than the top and bottom navy borders? Simple as that!

Back to Nancy’s dilemma. Her top is 52 x 68 and she wants to use 6″ blocks in the border. Here’s how I do it.

1. I divided 52 by 6 (to see how many 6″ blocks will fit into 52″). 8.667 blocks fit. We don’t want any partial blocks in the border so we know we need to use 9 blocks in that border.

2. 9 x 6″ blocks – 54″.

3. 54″ – 52″ means 2″ need to be added. So I’ll add 1″ on either side. I’ll cut those strips 1-1/2″.

4. For the top and bottom, it’s 68″. 68 divided by 6″ = 11.33 so I know I need to use 12 blocks.

5. 12 x 6″ blocks = 72″.

6. 72″ – 68″ = 4″ so I need to make the quilt 4″ longer. 2″ on top and 2″ on bottom. I’ll cut those strips 2-1/2″.

This isn’t nearly as difficult as it sounds. Just try it . . you can do it! 🙂



  1. 1


    Thanks for the details! Your fitting borders pdf is wonderful and is going straight into “important things” file. You solved so many issues with this!

  2. 2


    Thanks soooooo much for sharing this. I could never wrap my mind around how to do this. Of course, I was always trying to make the borders all of the same width. This is so easy! You are an absolute genius and a gem to share your talent with us all.
    I do have your book, but it is not autographed. Nuts! :~)

  3. 3

    pdudgeon says

    DUH! i’ve got the book and you’re right, i never noticed that the navy inner borders weren’t the same.
    Judy, you’re a genious!

  4. 5


    Judy, you just saved my life on pieced borders! I have strayed away from pieced borders because of the difficulty trying to get the measurements to match up.

    Thanks for the GREAT post!

  5. 7


    Thank you for breaking it down for us. It seems so easy now! Your ability to teach and share is a big reason I check your site every day. Add to that your wit and humor, your beautiful, but very achievable, designs — you’re a winner! Thank you again.

  6. 8

    Lynne in Hawaii says

    Thanks so much Judy! That was in language my simple brain could wrap around…very clear! Oh, and I can almost OD on the smells I know are coming out of your kitchen! Yummmm!