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Round Robin Borders

Quilting expert Yvonne Porcella shares instructions for a round-robin border.

Thanks to Yvonne Porcella.

Materials and Tools:

14" square center panel
four yards Wonder Under Pellon paper-backed fusible web
pencil and tracing paper
press cloth
- 1 yard burgundy cotton, cut into four pieces measuring 11" x 40", 9-1/2" x 40", 10" x 40", and 4-1/4" x 40"
- 5" x 40" burgundy texture print fabric
- 2" x 40" magenta texture print fabric
- 4" x 40" black and white one-inch checkerboard fabric

Optional - over-paint the black and white checkered fabric with diluted gray and gold metallic fabric paint if desired.
- silks and cottons: assorted colors and textures to illustrate theme of the seasons. The featured project used 40 different fabrics in small amounts.


  • Cut Wonder Under 6" x bolt length and fabrics 6-1/2" x length of Wonder Under.

  • Heat-set fusible web to the back side of all the fabrics.

  • Select the fabrics you want for the theme and freehand- or fussy-cut shapes from the fabric. If the shape requires a pattern, use tracing paper to make a pattern and then cut out the fabric.

  • Peel fusible paper from the back of the cut shape and iron onto the burgundy border fabric.


1. Border design left 11"x 40": abstract clock with stand. Freehand-cut an orange circle with angled edges, outline bottom edges with freehand-cut dark red trim about 2-1/2 inches wide; add a stand to the clock bottom using angled vertical rectangle shapes. Choose four colors—two blue tones and two lime tones. Cut 12 small magenta circles and two gold angled narrow rectangles to represent clock hands. Place the 11-inch border vertically. Heat-set the clock face onto the 11-inch border. Beginning two inches from top edge, add the remaining elements securing each by heat-setting with a steam iron according to product directions. Add a small snip of black and white stripe fabric. Add a river by freehand cutting three light purple and two blue-violet strips in a slight wavy pattern. Cut about 3/4" x 12". Heat set below the clock stand alternating the colors. Put this border aside.

2. Border design top 9-1/2" x 40": Place border horizontally. Cut a variety of circles from 18 different colors. Cut some large circles and fold in half to cut a circle out of the center. Overlay another circle to fit inside the larger circle, edges do not have to match. Scatter the cut circles two inches from the left edge. Cut 13 leaf shapes in different fall colors—golds, dark green, orange. Heat-set the leaves as if they were being blown to the right in front of the 18 circle shapes, tapering to a single leaf. Add three small red berries at the top and bottom edge above and under the leaves where they taper. Cut red and green petals to represent a large red holiday flower. Use three or four red and four green fabrics. Shape into a poinsettia flower. Cut three small yellow circles for the center of the flower. Heat-set the elements in place.

3. Border design right edge 10" x 40": Place border vertically. Select a spring flower such as a crocus. Cut three blue petals, one narrow gold for the center. Heat-set the flower head two inches from top edge. Add one green stem and two green spears for leaves. Heat-set all elements. Put border aside. Add extra elements after the border has been stitched to the center panel. This allows freedom to design other motifs that might be needed to blend in with the unknown center panel design.

4. Border design bottom 4-1/4" x 40": Place border horizontally. Begin by cutting three turquoise 1/2" x 5" strips. Heat-set these two inches from left edge, position slightly at an angle. Cut eight strips 1/2 inch wide in black/gray fabric, cut four measuring five inches long, and four measuring seven inches long. Heat-set as if representing furrows in a field, four vertically at a slight angle and four horizontally. Cut 1/2" x 4" narrow black and white stripe, layer over horizontal furrows. To represent the phases of the moon, cut 1 large red circle, cut out center, cut one purple circle, heat-set purple over red circle next to horizontal furrows. Add three small lime circles vertically, add one green medium circle. Add one large red spatter circle. Add four orange curves as if echoing off the last circle. These are not realistic, rather they are abstract representations of celestial shapes. Heat-set all the elements.

5. Stitch the borders to the center panel. Depending on the design, stitch narrow borders around the center panel to define the edges. Stitching plan, #1 right gray, #2 top dark gold, #3 dark gray bottom #4 left light gold. Cut strips approximately two inches wide and trip to fit after stitching to center panel edge. Add the burgundy borders, #5 right, # 6 bottom, #7 right, #8 top, #9 magenta bottom, #10 black and white check, #11 burgundy texture.

6. Go back and add elements to the right border. Select a summer lily flower. Add a stem, and three leaves. Add five circles near the crocus flower and five circles at the bottom right. Add two lime circles below the river on the left edge and other circles if needed on the top or elsewhere.

This Round Robin quilt top measures approximately 35" x 36".

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