A Tutorial on Binding Scallops

I finished this quilt well over a year ago and have never gotten around to blogging about it.  Isn’t that bad?   I made it for my office – or should I say, my husband’s office.

It’s nice and manly right?  Actually, my poor husband doesn’t have any  of his own “manly” rooms in our house, as I can’t bear to give up any quilt/decorating spaces!  I guess this room will have to do until we finish up a man cave in the garage.

The reason I am bringing up this quilt, is that I have wanted to do a quick tutorial on binding scallops.  I have done tutorials on lots of binding techniques and I have had some requests to cover scallops as well.

I begin by MARKING my curved lines on the quilt, as shown by the yellow line in the bottom of the photo (more hints on marking the curve to come in my next post).  The key here is NOT TO CUT the curve, just mark it.  If you cut the curve, then you have to sew next to a stretchy, bias curved edge.  NOT FUN.

Begin sewing along the curve by lining up the raw edge of the binding with the drawn line.

Sew until you reach the top inside point of the scallop.  This point will be a seam allowance width above the drawn line.   It is easier to show this with a photo of how it looks after it is sewn.  See the red dot on the top inside point of the binding?  That is where you will stop and pivot.

Now, back to that pivot point – be sure to stop with your needle DOWN, as shown, then turn the quilt so you are ready to sew along the next part of the curve.

Next, use your fingers to swing the binding over to meet the drawn line.  The key here is NOT to get a tuck along the left side of the needle, but you will have one along the right side.

I usually use the point of my seam ripper to assist in getting the tuck of the fabric underneath the foot of my machine, like this.

If you have done it correctly, it will look like this:  See – there is no tuck in the fabric above your sewing line, but there is a tuck to the bottom side.

Still with me?

This is how it will look after you fold the binding  fabric over the sewing line.  See that nice little mitered corner?

If your binding looks as shown so far, you can continue sewing along the drawn line, making the swoop along the large outside curve.  The trick to this part, is to work in a little excess fabric along the bottom of the curve as shown.  See the slight excess fabric ripple along the folded edge of the binding?

This part takes a little bit of practice.  You need to get just the right amount of extra fabric for the curve.   With really round curves, you will need to work in more excess fabric than if you have a flatter curve.  I usually sew one curve first, then cut off the excess fabric so I can fold the binding to the back side and see if the curve lays flat.

Repeat until you have bound along all the curves as shown.  Now you can cut along the drawn line, so you are ready to hand-stitch around the curves.

There are several little tricks that I use for to doing the hand sewing on the binding.

First, you can refer to this tutorial for my hand-stitching technique for bindings.

Secondly, you will need to take a few extra steps for making the mitered corners.

Before you get to that inside mitered corner, flip the quilt over so the front side is facing up.   Pin the miter in place from the front side of the quilt as shown.  (this is a different quilt and a different angle, but it is still the same technique)


Turn the quilt over so the back side is facing up and stitch to the miter as shown.  Notice how the pin is still in the front side of the miter, holding everything in place while you are stitching.


Bring the needle up inside the point as shown and do a couple of tacking stitches.  If you don’t do this, the miter will just pull out after the pin is removed and you will never get it back in place!!  I have learned this from personal experience ;-(


This photo shows doing  the tacking stitches  from the front side of the quilt.  After the tacking stitches are done, continue toward the next miter.


This is how the back side looks after the hand stitching is completed.  See how the curves lay nice and flat?

Next, I added a rod pocket to the back side  of the quilt and hand-stitched it in place. (I cut this piece 5″ wide – Fold in half with wrong sides together, sew the long side with a 1/4″ seam and turn right-side out).

Slide a curtain rod through the pocket, hang and enjoy!

This quilt pattern was based on the Hopscotch pattern from my Fat Quarter Five book. The fabric used is Sanae. The chevron runner shown is from our On the Run book.

In my next post I am going to share some hints for figuring out the size of the curves, plus a few ways to make the process go faster.  Faster is good when it comes to scallops, trust me.  I have learned from experience, so I am anxious to share these tips with you also!  (I just didn’t want to overwhelm you with too much info in one post).

Edit:  Click here for the link to Part 2 of Binding Scallops

I am off to finish one of my boy baby quilts.  I hope you have a great weekend!

About Heather Peterson

Quilt pattern designer
This entry was posted in Binding Tips, Decorating, Quilting and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to A Tutorial on Binding Scallops

  1. marsha nelson says:

    Your lesson is just in time. I have a quilt that needs a scallop binding and have been a little nervous about it. Thank you so much. I can’t wait for your next post. When will it be?

  2. Karen says:

    Thank you Heather — this is very helpful — sending prayers and energy to you and that Little Boy to Be !!


  3. Diana P says:

    So happy for you & your hubby! Congrats, congrats & congrats!! I really love when you show us peeks at your house with your quilted decor. Such a beautiful home! I have been following your blog for well over a year and that’s it, I buying some of your books! Your quilts have a fresh & fun attitude about them that I must try to re-create! Please keep us informed as to when your next fabric line is out & where to purchase! Thanks so much & many blessings to you.
    : )

  4. jane says:

    I’m about to start my first scalloped border, so this great. I had no idea how to go about it and would probably have cut the scallops before binding had I not seen your post. Can’t wait for the next post! I’m so happy for you and your hubby, and that you get to make all those baby boy quilts! I bet you’ll be just the best parents!

  5. versana says:

    Oh wow! I have a quilt I designed about 5 years ago and the edges are all 90 degree angles. It isn’t finished because I spent many hours trying to miter each and every edge and inset. I don’t know why I didn’t think to use this method. Where have you been? Lol…maybe I will finish that quilt now! Thank you very much!!!!

  6. Julie Cefalu says:

    Thank you for the great tutorial, Heather. Your pictures are very detailed and makes it easier to grasp the written part. I have been quilting for 13 years and still haven’t done a scalloped border! When I do, I’ll be sure to go back to your tutorial.

  7. Susan says:

    I LOVE your quilt! It looks lovely in your office. (I also like your home!)

  8. Marcia says:

    So helpful! Thanks! Heather, did you make the shade on the pole lamp in the picture???

  9. Martha says:

    Hello Friend.
    Nice Quilt


  10. Dorian says:

    Thanks Heather, a great tute on scallop binding. I haven’t done a scallop edge, but this will be of great help when I do!

  11. Linda P. says:

    Love scallops, but have always fought with them because I got anxious I guess and cut them first – great tip!! BE PATIENT and cut later!! I also like that you only scalloped two sides – it looks great. Looking forward to the next step. I have a couple of devises for figuring the scallops and still can’t figure them out – thanks!!

  12. Nancy says:

    Great tutorial on scalloped bindings! What did you use to hang the curtain rod on the wall?

  13. Pat Hersl says:

    Very good. Full of questions. I think I would be tempted to cut into the miter point, just almost to the stitching, to release it. What would happen?
    Just a help, maybe, for your rod pocket. Sew the long side, wrong sides together and just press the seam open. Position the seam in the center and place that on your quilt back. No need to turn it inside out and the seam is enclosed and can’t interfere with your rod.

  14. Pam Peterson says:

    Thanks for these tutorials on scallops, Heather! I have stayed away from them as they looked so intimidating. As I looked at your helpful pictures, I realized that this isn’t much different from easing a sleeve into a blouse’s armhole! I’m sharing your pictures with a group that I’m meeting with tonight. This will explain the process much better than I can!

  15. Shirley says:

    Hi Heather. I am relatively new to your blog. What lovely quilts. Thanks for sharing them and your knowledge of quilting. I have pieced several tops together, and have quilted at least four. I love hand stitching, but so far I have machine pieced the tops together and hand quilted the layers together and binding.

  16. julietwood191 says:

    This is a wonderful tutorial, I am going to use your method after spending a lot of time researching and nearly going blind staring at a YouTube tutorial! I so appreciate your clear precise instructions and that you use a binding that is colourful and easy to see, I understand all your instructions perfectly now to see if I can do it!!

  17. cheryl warner says:

    very nicely presented, Heather….thank you

  18. Mary Ellen says:

    Thank you so much for your very clear chatty, friendly tutorial. Like so many others said, ‘It’s just in time for my latest project’. Thanks!

  19. Stacey says:

    So pretty! I found this fabric line in a charm pack at a thrift store and wish I could more!

  20. Pingback: Introducing the new Kaleidoscope Quilt Pattern - PDF download - Piccolo Studio

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