Self-Bordering is a technique that I use pretty frequently, though I don’t always know what I am doing. Basically, self-bordering means that you treat the border blocks the same as the blocks in the main part of the quilt. You piece them in as you would regular blocks rather than as a long row.
I don’t know if I made this technique up. I am sure others have done it. If they have, I am not sure what else it would be called.
There are several advantages to using a self-bordering technique for adding borders:
- Precision is improved, because you are adding a block or so at a time
- It makes it easier to get the border lined up correctly
- Eliminates long lines of stitching
- Makes adding pieced borders much easier
This technique works with Chunking. If you are sewing all your blocks, for the whole quilt, together in rows, then don’t bother with Self-Bordering.
As you have seen recently, I am working on the En Provence quilt by Bonnie Hunter. The border is optional, but I am putting a pieced border on the quilt using self-bordering technique. In the photo, left, you can see the border on the bottom. It is made up of one row of four patches (or 3.5″ squares) all the way around the quilt.
All the blocks in this quilt are, essentially, nine patches. As I sew the blocks together, I work in threes – I sew three blocks in a horizontal row together. Once I have three rows made up of three patches, I sew two rows together, then I sew remaining row to the set of two I have just sewn together.
On the border, there is an extra 3.5″ piece. It is either a 4 patch or a 3.5″ patch. Instead of sewing 3 rows of three blocks together, I sew 3 rows of 4 blocks together and then sew three rows of four patches together.
The corner block ends up looking fatter, because of the extra patches. Once the corner and border blocks are integrated into the quilt, they look like blocks and a pieced border.
You cannot tell which way a border was made, if it was well done.
I like this method because I don’t like putting on borders. I also really like pieced borders. Depending on the design, of course, they really add additional interest to a quilt.
Once I finish a quilt, there is really no way to tell where the blocks end and the border begins from a quick glance.
The top arrow, left, shows the very edge of the border – the seam line between block and border.
The bottom arrow shows the border.
As I have said, they integrate so well that a casual viewer can’t tell where the border is. I really like that.