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Anatomy of a Border Print

Early quilt made with Indian fabrics & Indian border prints
Early quilt made with Indian fabrics & Indian border prints

Through social media such as Facebook and this blog, I have had the opportunity to be in touch with so many quilters around the world. Many of you have recently discovered our website and the techniques I’ve been teaching for years. I’m very excited that through this blog I’ve been able to share my methods of quiltmaking with you. This week, I would like to cover a basic topic, one which you will find in most of my quilts, namely, border prints.

I started quiltmaking when I lived in India and was using Indian fabrics exclusively. Most Indian fabrics have some type of border print and I loved using them. However, when I returned to the United States, few could be found. When I started designing fabrics, I made sure that each collection and my quilt designs incorporated these border prints.

What is a border print?

Bedfordshire border print
Bedfordshire border print

When you look at my border prints, each one has a wide and narrow stripe. To make the best use of each of these stripes, I put a one-half inch area between them. When you cut down the middle of this area, you will have a perfect one-quarter inch seam allowance on each side of your stripes.

Wide and narrow copy

All of my border prints also have at least four repeats of the stripes across the width of the fabric. This allows for at least one stripe to go around each side of your quilt. To estimate the yardage necessary for your quilt, just measure the longest side of your quilt and add 18” for mitering and centering the design.

Double mirror image copyThe designs also always mirror-image meaning that each side of the design is identical to the other but reversed as in looking in a mirror. Some are vertically imaged motifs (single) and some are both vertically and horizontally mirrored (double).

Mirror line for border print placemats
Using a template for mirror images

Of course, I don’t believe in limiting the use of these borders to simply framing a quilt. In future blogs, I hope to open your eyes to the endless possibilities I’ve discovered in using these wonderful designs. In the mean time, go to and look at the images of the border prints themselves. When you click on each image, you will be given the number of repeats and the width of each stripe.

Border with measurementsAlso, you’ll find a lot of material on Working with Border Prints on my website.

4 thoughts on “Anatomy of a Border Print

  1. The first time I took a quilting class from somebody famous was from you. Back in the 80’s in Miami, FL. The store that organized your event was Quiltworks. I felt immediately in love with the designs you presented us.
    Your Quilts are all so unique and beautiful! You are a true inspiration to many of us. The fact that you do everything by hand is a true tribute to the value and precision of handwork.
    I bought your border fabrics then but then in one of my many moves, the box that did not arrived was the one with your border prints. For me it was like I lost the crown jewels. I still long for them today. You are unique in what you do!
    Your designs have changed through time as expected. But I still long for the intricacy of the designs you did back then. Would you consider going back to the designs that inspire you to draw those in the 80’s. I am not saying to repeat them but rather to make them in a more intricate designs that have a Persian flair. In your case I should say designs that that evoke more the part of India where you lived.
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge and Quilts with us

  2. I did a workshop with you in Houston many years ago using one of your border prints in a cushion.
    We find it incredibly difficult to buy the border prints here in England and shipping and customs charges make it very expensive for us to order from your website which is very sad. At least we can follow your blog and new designs on the website and thank you for letting us download some of your patterns which we do enjoy.

  3. Many years ago I attended a week in Hilton Head with you and learned so much. You showed us that you could clip and tear down the length of fabric between the repeats. Can you still do that?

    1. We do it all the time here at the Studio, Betty.

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