Making a Quilted Frame with a Border Stripe

A border stripe fabric can create a stunning finish to a quilt. I particularly like designs that are symmetrical so that the motifs will mirror image in the corners. I was beyond thrilled when Northcott agreed to include a border stripe in my first fabric collection Time After Time!

Instead of sewing the border stripe directly onto a quilt block, what if it were used to create a frame? A quilted frame could be used to display quilts or photographs or certificates or whatever it is you want to frame. The idea came to me when I was designing the Birth Flower Block-of-the-Month series of patterns. Obviously the twelve blocks could be sewn together into one quilt, but I thought it would be nice if each block could be bordered with a pretty frame and switched in and out from month to month.

Here’s how to make a quilted frame with a border stripe.

Cut four border pieces the desired length from the border stripe. I like to mark out my borders when I am using a border stripe so that all the corners will land in the same place. To make sure the motifs will mirror-image in the corners, measure out from the center point of symmetry. For a frame with a 16” opening, you would measure 8” on either side of this point.

Use the 45-degree line on a ruler to draw the miter seam on either end of the 16” line. Draw the line for the outer edge of the border connecting the two 45-degree miter lines. Use a rotary cutter and ruler to cut out each border leaving a 1/4” seam allowance around all the marked lines.

Sew two border strips together along the miter seam, taking care to line up the printed motifs on the fabric as best as possible.  Repeat with the remaining border strips to create an open frame.

Layer the open frame with a square piece of batting and backing fabric in this order:

1. batting
2. backing fabric, right side up
3. frame, right side down

Sew the layers together 1/4-inch from the inside edge of the frame.

Cut away the excess batting inside the frame right next to the stitching line. Cut the excess backing fabric inside the frame with a slightly larger seam allowance than the frame. This is called grading the seam allowance and it will help prevent a ridge from showing when the layers are turned right side out. Clip the seam allowance of the backing fabric at the corners.

Turn the layers right side out through the center opening and press. Quilt and bind the frame as desired.


Cut two squares of fabric 1-3/4” larger than the size of the opening in the frame. Cut off 1-1/2” from the corners. Sew the two pieces right sides together, leaving an opening along one seam. Turn the pocket right side out and slip stitch the opening.

Center the pocket over the opening on the back of the frame. Hand stitch the frame to the back, leaving the corners open and taking care not to let the stitches pull through to the front.

Insert a quilt into the frame from the front, pulling it taught through the open corners on the back.

Kits are available to make a quilted frame using the Time After Time border stripe. Time Frame was designed with a 16″ opening to hold a 17″ quilt, but there is a chart inside the pattern to change the dimensions. Each kit includes 1.5 m. of the Time After Time border stripe, 0.5 m. of black Toscana for the pocket, and the Time Frame pattern.

You can also see a demonstration of making this frame on Episode #2605 of The Quilt Show!





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  1. Pamela E Hanrahan says:

    Thanks for the frame idea. Will make a great gift idea!

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