CALICO ROSE QUILTALONG: Top Assembly And Borders

Wow!  This has gone so quickly!  If you have been with us from the beginning, I hope you are pleased with your progress so far.  If you are new, welcome.  You can find all past posts and information HERE.

Remember that this quiltalong is offered in three sizes. SMALL–a throw that uses 5 stars and four alternating blocks. Finished size about 48″ square; MEDIUM–This is the size I am making this time. It uses 13 stars and 12 alternating blocks. Finished size about 72″ square; LARGE: This is the size of the original Calico Rose. It uses 25 star and 24 alternating blocks. Finished size 96″ square.

This month we are assembling the top and adding all those beautiful pieced borders.  If this is your first experience with pieced borders, never fear.  They are not any harder than blocks and give a great look to a quilt.

Ready?  Let’s put this thing together!

NOTE:  All dimensions have been added for all three sizes.  Please let me know how it works out for you.  Particularly if there are errors! 🙂


1. Lay out the star and alternating blocks in a five-by-five arrangement for a MEDIUM.  There should be 13 star and 12 alternating blocks.  If you are building a SMALL the layout will be three-by-three with 5 star and four alternating blocks.  If a LARGE (seven-by-seven) you will have 25 star blocks and 24 alternating blocks.  NOTE:  There is a star block in each corner regardless of size.


2. Assemble rows first then stitch the rows to one another.  The finished 5×5 center should be 60-1/2″ square.  If you are making a SMALL the 3 x 3 layout will be 36-1/2″ square.  If a LARGE, the 7 x 7 layout will be 84-1/2″ square.  Whew!


1. From the background fabric cut 14 WOF strips 2″ wide for a MEDIUM quilt.  For a SMALL you will need 9 strips.  For a LARGE 19 WOF strips.

2. From the background fabric cut 178 2″ squares for a medium quilt.  For a SMALL you will need 112 and for a LARGE 240.

3. From the colored scraps cut at least 178 2″ squares for a MEDIUM quilt.  If a SMALL you need to cut at least 112.  For a LARGE, more like 240.  I usually cut a few extra for careful color distribution and as seed for the next project.


1. We will first attach a narrow background border all the way around.  Sew all of your WOF strips together end to end (after removing selvages, of course). For a MEDIUM size cut two strips 60-1/2″ long.  Attach to the sides of your center.  If a SMALL  you will need strips 36-1/2″ and for a LARGE two strips 84-1/2″.


2. For a MEDIUM cut two strips 63-1/2″  long.  Attach to the top and bottom of your center. For a SMALL cut them 39-1/2″ and for a LARGE  87-1/2″.


3. Now for the tricky part.  You are going to create the middle border with pairs of alternating clored and background squares.  For a MEDIUM size quilt, you will need to make 178 pairs.  Once made, stitch these into four strips.  One should be 42 pairs long, two should be 44 pairs long and one should be 46 pairs long.

For a SMALL size quilt, you will need to make 112 pairs.  Once made, stitch these into four strips.  One should be 26 pairs long, two should be 28 pairs long and one should be 30 pairs long.

For a LARGE size quilt, you will need to make 240 pairs.  Once made, stitch these into four strips.  One should be 58 pairs long, two should be 60 pairs long and one should be 62 pairs long.

4. To be sure your alternating pieces will alternate ALL the way around, I suggest attaching one strip at a time and rotating rather than the usual method of 2 side and two sides that we used on the inner border.  So, choose a side (they are all the same length at this point) at attach the strip that has 42  pairs first (if you are making a MEDIUM quilt) .  Then rotate 90 degrees and, making sure you are alternating in the corner to give a smooth appearance, attach strip number 2 with 44 pairs.  Turn again and attach number 3 with 44  pairs.  One more turn and your final strip (46 pairs) should attach with all pieces alternating.



For the SMALL quilt, start with your 26 pair strip, then the two 28’s and finally the 30.

For the LARGE quilt, start with the 58 pair strip, then the two 60’s and finally the 62.

5.  To finish attach a  final narrow background border to the outside.  For a MEDIUM, you will cut two strips 69-1/2″  long.  Attach to the sides of your center.  Now two more strips each 72-1/2″  long for the top and bottom of your center.

For a SMALL, you will cut two strips 45-1/2″  long.  Attach to the sides of your center.  Now two more strips each 48-1/2″  long for the top and bottom of your center.

For a LARGE, you will cut two strips 93-1/2″  long.  Attach to the sides of your center.  Now two more strips each 96-1/2″  long for the top and bottom of your center.

6. Ta-dah!  You have a finished top.  Now, that may have been a lot of pieces, but it really wasn’t that hard, was it?!  Well done!


7. Thank you so much for quilting along. As you finish your tops, please send along pictures with links to a blog post if you have one, or just the story of your quilt if you don’t.  Either is OK.  I’ll see you here on August 10 for a tremendous Show and Tell.

13 thoughts on “CALICO ROSE QUILTALONG: Top Assembly And Borders

  1. Thanks so much for new edition. Will be starting soon. I would not be behind but, silly me, must have done wrong thing. All 25-16 patch blocks were 1/4 short on all sides. Will redo and check 1/4 seam. Thought I had, but maybe not. The new ones are perfect. Will try to salvage old ones for use in last months blocks. I am working on the large quilt and loving it. Good day.

  2. Ha, ha, ha, I’m *almost finished with the setting blocks. I need to cut more colored squares for the border, and buy more WOW – This quilt has used all my scraps and FQs of that! Plus some yards. =) Thanks for your clear instructions and tips.

  3. So very pretty! I like this one even better then the original. Beautiful work; I can’t wait to see pictures of everyones finished quilts. I can’t follow along this time, but I sure am impressed!

  4. Thank you! This has been lots of fun. I will send some pictures soon. If I used 21/2 inch squares do I just substitute 21/2 for the 2 inch strips?

  5. Today I´ve finished sewing the blocks together! It´s all on my blog,
    Now I´ll start sewing the border 🙂

  6. I finished this a few weeks ago, and I did not make a dent in my scrap bin. Thanks you for giving this pattern, I just love it. Now will be the quilting mad dash. Lise Borgnis

  7. Are you going to show how to lay out the small calico rose quilt a long?And how to do the borders for it? Thanks so much have enjoyed making it and want to finish it. Lucille

  8. Hi! Just wanted to tell you what a pretty quilt this is. One of the ladies brought one to scrap quilting club today that they had been working on in the quilt along. I think several of us are now going to make one!

  9. Hello again,
    Thank you so very much for a really fun and beautiful scrap buster project! I am actually impressing myself with how well I have done! I am loving that feeling…it is a good one! I have all the blocks done and sewn together now and this weekend I am working on the border…I ran out of little squares and have had to stop to find more tiny scraps to cut up…this really is a great ‘Green’ project, The scraps I have been processing were going to be used to stuff a dog bed for the shelter…the cloth started out by being donated to a quilt ministry where the girls make prayer quilts for the ill…then the larger left overs are made into 4″ prayer squares to be handed out at hospital visits…I would take anything left over and sew up pillow case like shapes- with heavier fabric and use the scraps as stuffing. That was my sewing experience until 2 years ago when I felt like spreading my wings and taking on a new challenge…The dog shelter and our pet rescue are amply supplied with dog beds now so I decided to try this with my scraps and boy is it fun! Looking forward to the 10th! Happiness and smiles!!!

  10. I waa wondering about how much gabric to buy for the back. I am doing the medium and. I am at that point. I didn’t see it mentioned in your instructions about amt needed for backs on diff sizes. Aa far aa I can figure and I am horrible with math, i will need about 4-1/2 yd of fabric gor the back of the medium size quilt???

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