At Cobwebs and Caviar, we always hope a quilt pattern will be EXACTLY how you want it to end up. But hey, we quilters are creative! We like to make changes. Or we see a twin sized pattern that we would prefer as a queen sized quilt. So you’re finishing up your quilt top but decide you’d like it to be bigger. You’re going to add 2 or 3 borders but what sizes should they be?

The Golden Ratio will help you figure that out.

This ratio occurs in nature and is said to be the perfect proportion. It ensures things we look at are pleasing to the eye.
Look at the pictures below and decide which one in each pair is the most pleasing.

Most people would answer A – B – B. Those are the ones created based on the Golden Ratio.

The ratio, in its simplest form, is 1.6 to 1.

So if you are doing 3 quilt borders, each border should be 1.6 times larger than the previous one.
For instance, if you want to add 3 borders totalling 8″ per side, the first border would be 1.5 inches.
The second border would be 2.5 inches (1.5″ x 1.6 =2.4″, then round up).
And the final border would be 4 inches (2.5″ x 1.6 = 4″).
These are finished measurements so you need to add 1/4″ seam allowances to each side (1/2″ in total). That means you would cut these borders at 2″, 3″, and 4.5 inches respectively.

To get started in your calculations, just do some guesswork. Let’s say you want 2 quilt borders totalling 6 inches. Start with 2″ and see what happens.
2″ x 1.6 = 3″ The two borders would total 2″ + 3″ = 5″ Not quite enough.
2.25″ x 1.6 = 3.5″ The two borders would total 2.25″ + 3.5″ = 5.75″ That could work.
2.5″ x 1.6 = 4″  This time, the borders would total 2.5″ + 4″ = 6.5″. That could work too! So your choice.
Just don’t forget to add those seam allowances!

The diagram is from Jinny Beyer’s blog post on this topic 

Prefer a simpler, no math approach? Check out our border fabrics and their matching coordinates Border Fabric