Thrifty Outer Borders and Binding

Here’s a quick and easy tip to remember as we consider how to save fabric and money on outer borders and binding in this new year. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3.

STEP 1: When planning the outer border on a quilt of any size, decide on adding a 5″ border and cut five inch strips of fabric (WOF = width of fabric). Cut as many as you need (or think you need). Relax you can always go back and cut one more if you need to! Start by cutting a few. After being attached, your outer border will finish at 4.5″. Now assemble your quilt sandwich and quilt your masterpiece.



STEP 2: ¬†Any remaining 5″ strips and short pieces left remaining after you have added your 5″ borders can be reused (up cycled).¬†Simply cut your left over strips and bits from the outer border into 2.5″ strips (5″ strips cut in half lengthwise become 2.5″) and they can become the start of your binding. Now you already have a head start on a matching binding! I use this process as a little game to see how far my fabric strips will take me on a project.


STEP 3: Join all those 2.5 inch strips together and make a long binding piece. Attach your binding and go as far as you can with the fabric you’ve got. If you don’t have quite enough, then cut more 2.5″ strips from your yardage and continue until your quilt is completely bound. It can be quite surprising how far your fabric will go before you have to go back and cut more.


Voila! Now you have matching binding to your outer fabric and perhaps still some left over yardage and bits to keep in your stash for future projects.

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