Figuring quilt border size

Homebody Quilt from Cozy Color Quilts

This is hubby’s retirement quilt. It’s my second quilt using this pattern. The last one was a totally scrappy quilt from my stash. Limiting yourself to only three colors is definitely WAY easier. The pattern calls for a small border from the background fabric, followed by binding. The finished quilt is actually a throw size, but hubby is tall, so I need to add about 10″ extra all the way around to make it long enough tuck under his feet.

I figure the Golden Ratio based on the block size. There is no right or wrong way to do this. This quilt is made from 18″ blocks with the units finishing at 6″ each. I calculate a range for the border: 6 x 1.618 = 9.708 and 18 x .618 = 11.24 (drop the 1 when multiplying by larger blocks).

My Golden Ratio Range for this quilt is 9.75″ to 11.25″. The 10″ I need is within this range. CHECK!

I’m not cutting a 10-1/2″ wide single border, so I know I need multiple borders. Three is a good number. There are two ways to do this: (1) Pick a starting border size and multiply by 1.618 to get the next side up (1.5″, 2.5″, 4″ – great for 8″ border, but I need 10″ – start with 2″ width and recalculate) or (2) Consult the Fibonacci number sequence: : 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, etc. Whichever option you choose, remember to add 1/2″ to get the actual cutting measurement.

I chose option 2: three borders of 2″, 3″ and 5″ will equal 10″ of border. CHECK!

Decided to mix things up a bit and go with 3″, 2″ and 5″ outer border placement with solid dark blue as the binding. I consulted with my art teacher for the color placement. I like either one, but hubby chose option #1. Hey, it’s his quilt after all!

Option #1
Option #2

Hopefully, this real life example helps you with figuring out your borders. Always remember, you are the boss of your own quilt! The pattern and all these math rules are suggestions. You do what makes you (and the recipient) happy!