Nothing Lasts Forever
Nothing lasts forever and no matter how carefully we plan, we eventually run out of a border print used in a favorite quilt design. When that happens, I am faced with the challenge of replacing it with a current fabric. When we update kits, we’ve already done the calculations for you. But what happens if you have an old pattern of mine, you want to use a new border print and you have to figure it out? Let’s take a look at how to replace one border print for another. Sometimes the switch is easy. Some quilts, however, require a little more consideration.
We recently used up the last bolt of one of our favorite border prints, a lovely teal and blue print that complimented several quilt designs. It was featured on two quilts, Shimmering Sea and Kinabalu in the Ocean colorway. The quilts are very similar in construction style but the symmetry and use of border print are very different. Planning the substitute border print for these two quilts shows just how easy or complex this process can be.
I selected the teal colorway of the Ashford border print. The color balance and flavor were very much the same; both teal and blue with curves and flourishes, but there are a few key differences that I had to take into account when making the switch.
- Value: A darker or lighter background behind a print will change the overall value of the border print.
- Repeat: The width of the border stripes and the distance between the mirrored elements can change the yardage required to piece the quilt.
- Layout: Each of my border prints has a filler strip between the wide and narrow stripes to allow for a ¼ inch seam allowance for each strips. This section is either solid or filled with additional design.
Now, let’s take a look at the two quilts.
Shimmering Sea, does not use the border print in the block. It simply frames the assembled blocks to highlight the rich, jewel tones. The Ashford Border Print is slightly lighter than the original fabric and is slightly narrower. The lighter border print changes the balance of the quilt but requires nothing more than swapping one for the other. The final quilt is slightly smaller and the overall effect is similar.
The Ocean colorway of Kinabalu is another story. In addition to the framing stripes, the border print is used in the block design, fussy cut and filling the corner of each block to accentuate the curved illusion. The 36 blocks require 36 identical triangles cut from the wide section of the border print. The design repeat in this print is 12” between identical images rather than the 9” in the previous border print and the stripe is not wide enough to cut two, point to point one above the other, from each repeat. I can only cut 3 of these identical triangles from each running yard of border stripe. Yikes! That is only 18 triangles per yard of fabric. That yardage adds up quickly and leaves excess waste behind.
By using both mirror images, I can eliminate a good portion of that waste and drop the yardage bock down to a reasonable amount. The triangles from Position 1 will be used in the blocks where the triangles will touch and form a larger mirrored image (see diagram). Triangles cut using position 2 are for the remaining blocks where they will not touch those from Position 1. The variation in triangle design will add to the movement in the quilt design.
Here is what those changes look like in the finished quilt:
You can use this approach in any of my quilt designs that use a border print. Each of the border prints currently in stock has the width and repeat information available. Just click on the small fabric image on our website to view the enlarged fabric with the design information attached (see image below). Calculate the amount you will need for the framing borders by following the pattern and then map out any additional border print you might need to include in the blocks.