Do you ever feel that you’d like to give your quilt something extra with the binding? Most of my quilts are bound with 2.1/2″fabric folded in half. It’s simple, I know what I am doing and it finishes the quilt neatly. Sometimes, though, it’s fun to try a new method quilt binding and recently I decided to try my hand at scalloped quilt binding. It took longer than normal quilt binding, but I was really pleased with the results.
Design the scallop binding
The first thing to do is to decide on the lengths of scallop that you want to use. My quilt measured 32″ by 40″ so I could use 8″ scallops on all four sides of the quilt. If the quilt width and length had been different I would have used different lengths of scallop on the top and bottom compared with the scallop length on the sides of the quilt.
I marked an 8″ straight line on a piece of paper and used a plate to draw a gentle curve between the ends of the straight line. This will be the profile of the scallop for the quilt binding. I cut it out and used the paper template – I didn’t feel that it needed the extra step of making a cardboard template.
Work your way round the quilt edge marking the curves of the scallop template on to the fabric. This will be the cutting line so it doesn’t matter what you use to mark the curves. Don’t cut the curves. At the quilt corners blend the line from the two scallops that meet at the corner to create a curve round the corner.
Cut the bias binding for scallops
For straight edge quilts I usually use straight grain binding, but for the curves of scallop quilt binding the binding has to cut on the bias so that it will ease round the curves.
Cutting binding on the bias means cutting across the diagonal of a square of fabric rather than across or up and down the fabric. I cut a 42″ length of fabric across the width and then folded one corner across to the diagonally opposite corner to create a triangle. Then line the ruler up with the fold of the fabric and cut lengths of quilt binding. Most quilters seem to recommend a 1.1/4″ widths of binding but I find that a bit fiddly so I use 1.1/2″ strips and that works well for me. Incidentally the 42″ square gave me far more quilt binding than I needed. A square half the size would have been adquate.
Joining two pieces of quilt binding for the scallops is just the same as for straight binding: place the two ends with right sides together at right angles to each other and sew along the seam as shown by the pin in the photo.
Sew the scallop binding to the quilt edge
Beginning half way along one of the scallops, place the binding with right side down and the edge of the binding on the line you marked earlier around the scallop template. Leave a few inches of binding unsewn to join up with the other end of the binding and star sewing 1/4″ from the edge of the quilt, following the marked line.
You should be able to ease the quilt binding around the curve of the scallop as you sew but at the point of the V where two scallops join you will need to stop sewing, lift the presser foot and swivel the quilt so that you can sew in the different direction for the next scallop. I find that it helps to sew one or two stitches in the new direction and then stop and lift the presser foot again to smooth out the quilt binding in the new direction.
When you have sewn the quilt binding all round the quilt, stop sewing a few inches from the start of the binding and join the two trailing ends in the usual way by folding under a small hem and tucking one end inside theother end.
It is at this stage that I trim the excess quilt wadding and fabric around the corners and into the V between the scallops. I find that leaving this until after I have sewn the quilt binding to the quilt means that I have a regular 1/4″ all the way round when I flip the binding to the quilt backing and slipstitch it. When I trimmed the edges before sewing I found that I had not always managed to keep to 1/4″ and it made the binding a bit untidy.
I have also found that the V between the scallops is neater if I don’t cut into the V right up to the stitching. Usually if I see a V in anything I am sewing I almost automatically clip into the stitching of the V.
After trimming the quilt edges, flip the quilt binding to the backing. Turn under a small hem as you slipstitch in place. I’m sure that you will agree that quilt binding with scallops makes a delightfully different quilt.
Here’s the video: