"Does my T-shirt quilt need a border?" "Will it look better with a border?"
These questions are so hard to answer for a number of reasons:
I am not into "up selling." So if I say yes, "your quilt needs a border, I will feel like I may pressure you into buying a more expensive quilt than you might have wanted.
Sometimes, how something looks is in the eye of the beholder. Some people think that their quilt must have a border, other are just fine without a border.
Some border styles can add more to a quilt that other borders style.
I am not going to answer yes or no. Rather, I am going to show you in photographs the same quilt with and without a border. On the left I will have the quilt with the border. On the right, I will crop off the border in a photo editing program.
The borders for each of these quilts were request by the customer. And all the quilts look great with the borders.
I hope this sided by side comparison will help you decide for yourself, without pressure, if you want a border.
A border will make your quilt larger. Or you will need fewer T-shirts to get to the size quilt you want with a border.
A border will also make your quilt more expensive because of the cost of the border and the increase to the quilt size that a border adds.
I will walk through our standard borders and provide two examples of each style of border. I will provide my opinion and commentary about each style. But ultimately, it will come down to what you like and what you want to afford.
2" Solid Border
The 2" solid border is our least favorite border. We don't feel like you get much "bang for your buck" with a 2" border. It adds the least to your quilt when compared with other border styles.
If you are wanting something simple, I would suggest a 4" solid border. Especially on a larger quilt. Once you are over a twin size quilt, I don't think that a 2" solid border is visually heavy enough for a larger quilt.
Of these two examples, I feel that either quilt would have been just fine without a border.
4" Solid Border
I like the visual weight of the 4" solid border better than I like the 2" solid border. Either quilt here would have been just fine without a border. The borders did add something to the quilts.
4" Pieced Border
I think that the first quilt works equally well with or without the border. The border does add pizzaz, but the quilt is awesome without the border too. This is a great example of a quilt made with tech fabric. It it soft and silky feeling. Read more about using tech fabric here.
For the quilt below, I like the quilt with the border better than without. But it can stand on its own without the border.
4" + 2" Solid Border
The 4" + 2" solid border packs a punch! The decreasing border size naturally draws your eyes inward towards the body of the quilt. This style of border can be very elegant.
Both of these quilts can stand on their own without a border. But the borders do add a lot to each quilt.
4" Pieced + 2" Solid Border
A 4" pieced + 2" solid border is a playful frame for the quilt. The 4" pieced blocks are made from leftover T-shirt material from your T-shirts. This allows it to match the inside part of the quilt perfectly.
Both quilts can stand on their own without a border. The borders do give each quilt more personality.
2" Solid + 4" Pieced + 2" Solid
We make this border least frequently. That's because it is the most expensive border for us to make. This border is very similar to the 4" pieced + 2" solid border above. The difference is the outside solid border. Most people feel that they get the same feeling with the 4" pieced + 2" solid border.
The outside 2" solid border on this design changes the emphasis to the 4" pieced border part. Scroll back and forth comparing the quilts with and without this extra outside border. You will see the difference. It's not huge, but it will make the quilt feel a little different.
Without a border, each of these quilts are perfectly fine. They are just not a jazzy as with the borders.
I hope this sided by side comparison helps you decide for yourself, without pressure, if you want a border. Your T-shirt quilt will look great with or without a border. If you like the look of a border and your budget allows it, by all means have us add a border. If not, your quilt will still be awesome.
Andrea Funk is the inventor of T-shirt quilts made with multiple blocks sizes. The modern method of making T-shirt quilts. In 1992 she founded Too Cool T-shirt Quilts. Her life has been immersed in T-shirt quilts ever since.