When Art Quilts first burst upon the scene in the 1970’s, most artists followed the convention used in traditional quilts of using a border for their work.  See Michael James, Blue Nebula, 1979.

Soon however they were interrupting the border, using it as a design element, or otherwise changing its function as a “frame” for the quilt.

Most recently, the style is to dispense with it altogether, or keep a ¼” binding only. The edges may be bound to the back, stitched, or even left raw.  Any of these methods allow the image to go all the way to the edges.

What I usually do is either bind to the back, or use a hand embroidery stitch called “Blanket Stitch” all the way around the piece.

Here are some examples of various treatments, some from the 2015 Quilt National show, a major style setter.


Deidre Adams, disruption, 55 x 98″, detail. Note the irregular bottom edge. Quilt National, 2015.

In the Morning I am So Tall detail of corner


Jane Dunnewold, Grandmother’s Flower Garden 1, 40 x 62″ Note the irregular edge on the left. Quilt National, 2015.


Theresa May, For All the World to See, 85 x 89 inches. Note the simple 1/4″ binding that does not create a visual stopping point for the image.

Dawn Nebula Michael James 1979_Page_8

Michael James, Dawn Nebula, 1979. Note the border. This was one of the conventions that quilters picked up from traditional quilts. 1979 was very early in the Art Quilting universe.


Barbara Schneider, Line Dance, Tree Ring Patterns, var. 11, 30 x 80″ Note the irregular edges everywhere! Quilt National, 2015.

  1. Espirational says:

    I don’t really like binding my quilts so I have tried a number of different edge finishes. I even burned the edges of one.


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