Borders – Odd & Even

If you’ve tried to plan a pieced border, you may have come across a border design that has to have either an even number of blocks or an odd number of blocks in order to work correctly.  This is an example of a border that has to have an odd number of blocks in order to achieve the desired look.


On the example below, notice the top and bottom borders, over on the right side . . this is what the border would look like if the top and bottom borders had an even number of blocks.  If you’re not working with Electric Quilt, or your preferred computer program and you’re not sure if your border is going to require an odd or even number of blocks, or if it even matters, make 2 or 3 blocks, or draw them out on paper and see if you’re getting the design you want with an even number of blocks or if you’re going to need an odd number of blocks to create the design.


The above border design doesn’t appear complete, or planned and looks choppy.  This is where your coping strip will make it work for you.  Don’t forget to use this sheet to calculate the coping strip.  Suppose the border blocks are 6″ and after adding the border before the pieced border, the top measures 44″.  Seven 6″ blocks would be 42″ and the top is already too big for that to work.  Nine 6″ blocks would be 54″.  That means the top needs to be 10″ larger for nine 6″ blocks to work.  A 5″ border at this point in the top might look chunky.


Here’s where you can add a couple (or more) narrow borders and create a more balanced look while getting your quilt to be the size needed.


In order to help carry that balance to the end of the quilt, the border pattern (narrow ecru, narrow green, narrow ecru) is repeated after the pieced border.


This example now has 8 borders but sometimes, that’s just what has to happen. Here’s the exact same center with only an ecru and dark green border.


Nothing wrong with this quilt but if pieced borders are what you’re wanting, sometimes you simply can’t add just one pieced border.  You may have to build up to the pieced border and then build out from it to achieve the look you’re wanting.



    • 1.1


      you are my here!!!! you just amaze me. i am going to ask you for border help and advice and input on a quilt i am working on. it is the celtic knotwork mystery on my blog….i think it is gonna need a bit of a finishing border……but as for your quilt above, that quilt may have 8 borders, but boy howdy, they are all soooo vital to just make that quilt into what it wanted to be when it grew up…..i am sooo far behind in this quilt. i want to catch up so badly. i only have half of my small geese done….gotta get the directions atleast so i can finish it now that my knotwork one is done–except for the borders that is LOL

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    Cool looking quilt Judy. Thanks for the tips on pieced borders. I play with EQ every now and then and have designed some quilts with it. I haven’t made any of them yet, but I have designed some!

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    Thank you, Judy. Your explanations are right on the money: well thought out and carefully explained. I see what you mean that sometimes you need to really WORK on the borders to make a beautiful quilt… nothing wron witht he “plain” one, but it is just that (plain) next to the 8-border version.

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    Thanks for the advice – it is through posts like this one that I learned almost everything I know about quilting! Keep it up!