A Tutorial on Scallops – Part 2

This post is a continuation of my last post – a tutorial on binding scallops.  You might want to read that first, if you are interested in scalloping the edges of a quilt.

In this post, I want to give a few hints on figuring out what size to make your scallops and a few tips on making the process go a little quicker.

This is the first quilt that I scalloped the edges on  (BTW – many of these pictures are of older quilts, so my photography leaves a lot to be desired).

Sweet Dreams, found in the book "Favorite Quilts from Anka's Treasures"

I learned a LOT on this quilt – several of the things I mentioned in my last post – I cut the curves and then tried to sew along the curvy, stretchy edges.  This is also the quilt that I didn’t tack the inside of the miters when I was doing the hand stitching, so many of the miters have pulled out.

The other major thing I learned, was not to use such small scallops.  It practically took me all day to get the binding on this quilt (and that doesn’t include the hand-stitching).  These scallops are so small that there are about 40 curves and miters to make going around this quilt.  It took forever!

This is the second quilt that I scalloped the edges on.  There are a few less miters, and I did a much better job on it.  I guess that practice on the first one helped out a little!

Pattern: Raspberry Jelly from the book "On a Roll"

On my third quilt, you can see I made my scallops even bigger, and I still liked them.  It went much quicker, but still gave me the look I was going for.

Pattern: Meadow Lane from the book "Fat Quarter Cottage"

With that being said, there are still some tricks to figuring out what size to make the scallops.   Sometimes it is based on the size of the quilt.  For example, you can hope that your quilt ends up a nice number like 60″ x 70″, where both sides are divisible by the same number.  In this case, 6 – 10″ scallops on the width and 7 – 10″ scallops on the length (depending on how you want your corners to look).  I will say that this hardly ever happens!  Most often, you end up with something like 7 7/8″ long scallops on one side and 8 3/8″ long scallops on the other.  You can then use a tool like the Easy Scallop Tool by Darlene Zimmerman to mark a scallop just that size.  I have this tool, and it comes in two sizes.  Both are easily adjustable to meet your desired size.

(If you don’t happen to have a scallop tool, you can always bring your quilt into the kitchen and find a plate or cover that is the right size.  You might be surprised by how many size options you find in there!  You can see which plate I used to mark this little runner!)

I also have another option for selecting the size of your scallop.  The nice thing about this method is that you don’t have to do ANY math!  It’s something that I use most of the time now.  I just make my scallop the size of the blocks in the quilt.  For example, see how the scallops below line up with the length of the block from point to point?  That makes the size of the scallops the same for both the length and width of the quilt and eliminates the need to do any math.

This works great for all four sides of the quilt, but you sometimes have to make a few adjustments to get a nice curve on the corner.  It works best if you only have a skinny inner border like the quilt shown above.  Multiple borders can throw this theory off a bit.

However, I sometimes like what happens to the corners when you have a wider inner border or if the width of the combined borders doesn’t work out with the size of the scallop.  The quilt below is a good example.  I think the little pointed corners are cute!  Another thing to notice on this one is that my scallops line up with the red squares, which is equal to the length of TWO blocks put together.  I could easily have made the scallops the length of one block, but in this case, I liked the look of the elongated curve.  It also meant about half as many inside points to miter – making the process much faster!

Pattern: Strawberry Shortcake from the book "The Sweet Life"

To make the process even faster, you can choose to scallop only two of the sides.  I prefer to do just the top and bottom of the quilt, as you saw with the quilt from my last post.

Pattern: based on the pattern Hopscotch from the book "Fat Quarter Five"

I have also used this option on a baby quilt, for a little added interest.  Notice how the stripe really makes the scallops show up!

Pattern: The Baby Collection (single pattern)

This option even looks cute on a tablerunner, as shown below.  It’s a great way to try scallops, without a huge commitment.  If you end up hating it, you only had to do four miters 😉

Pattern: Pickety Sticks from the book "On a Roll Again"

I have two more options for scalloping, if you really don’t want to try miters – The first is to have rounded inside corners, as shown below.

Pattern: Candy Apple Blossoms from the book "Favorite Quilts from Anka's Treasures"

Instead of mitering the inside curves, you have to pull on the fabric slightly to make that inside curve lay flat (again, a thing that takes a bit of practice – just like the outside curve).   I happen to think the mitered scallops are a little bit more dramatic, and therefore, cuter and worth the effort!

Lastly, I have one quilt that I appliqued a scallop to the border, kind of giving the look of scallops, but requiring no curved edges on your quilt.  Again, not quite as dramatic, but still a fun option.

That’s all I can think of to add on scallops right now.  I hope you found the information helpful and feel inspired to give scallops a try!

About Heather Peterson

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

21 Responses to A Tutorial on Scallops – Part 2

  1. versana says:

    Your scalloped edges quilts are really gorgeous. Not only is the finishing “touch” beautiful, so are the interiors…great designs.

  2. Sandy M says:

    Thanks for sharing this info. It removes the mystery!

  3. Dorian says:

    Lots of great ideas here Heather. Thanks for the information 🙂

  4. Wow, you have made some really cute quilts with some great scallops. I’ve never thought of the curvy idea (with no miters). Great idea. Sometimes I forget about using scallops as a finish. I have done it once and loved it.

  5. Joan says:

    Thank you for sharing and your quilts are so beautiful.

  6. Barb Colvin says:

    I love Sweet Dreams! Sunshine with a touch of blue sky, green grass and pink flowers–the perfect recipe for a great daydream! Thanks for the insights, and the reminder to tack those miters.

  7. Suzanne says:

    Thank you for so much inspiration and scallop tips. I have many of the quilt patterns shown and look forward to trying these ideas. I especially liked the tip on lining up the scallops with the blocks and also the non-mitered technique. You are one of my favorite designers.


  8. marsha nelson says:

    Thank you so much for all of the help. I have just finished a quilt that need a scalloped border and have been a little afraid of it. Now I think I can do it.

  9. Karen says:

    Heather — this is awesome !!

    I have a whole cloth table topper fabric that I wanted to have scalloped borders on but I have been hesitant to do it. Your tutorials have inspired me to give it a try ! Also thanks for showing your beautiful quilts (and their pattern names) — I especially LOVE “Candy Apple Blossoms” ! It is just beautiful — and so unique !! I have made “Pickety Sticks” for my table, and given it to my daughter and daughter in laws already — and it was my first attempt at making the scalloped border !! Thanks again for sharing this tutorial — I continue to send peace, energy and hugs your way for you and that little gem you carry !


  10. AnnieO says:

    Love the scallops! It adds such charm and homey feeling to the quilts. I recognize the fabric line in the second quilt you ever scalloped==Sanctuary by 3 Sisters. I loved that line and made a strippie quilt for a cousin using the yellow print as my border too. So pretty. Thanks for all the lessons and advice!

  11. Nancy says:

    I have several of your books, but just never thought about the two scalloped borders. Love the effect of just two scalloped borders. Thanks for the tutorials they are GREAT! And, thanks for answering my question in your previous post.

  12. Sue Monsey says:

    Now that I have read/looked at both of your tutorials, I am going to have to do some scalloped edges on some quilts that are coming up. Always looking to learn a new technique. Thank you for your great tutorials and for sharing your beautiful quilts!

  13. Reena Kaplowitz says:

    thanks for the info- great quilts!

  14. Suzanne says:

    Thank you for the pictures on sewing the inside curve of the scallops. I tried on my own and just didn’t feel it. Now that I’ve seen your pictures I get it. Thank you very much.

  15. Juliet Wood says:

    Simply wonderful! So clear and makes me brave enough to try scallops on the quilt I am making for my sister. It needs them as the look is a bit square and softening the outside edge will be cool. I have seen both tutorials and they are so good, I love your quilts too. Thank You!

  16. Lin V says:

    Is there a way to calculate how much extra binding you’ll need to do scallops? And is there a special trick for joining the binding ends?

  17. Kendra says:

    Thank you for the great tips! I so am going to try these tips!!

  18. Emma Somero says:

    After reading both tutorials, I still have one question. Does your binding need to be cut on the bias? Lovely quilts, lovely quilting and color choices. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge.

  19. Kathleen Arnstrom says:

    love your work…..you should be very pleased and proud of yourself……

  20. Blessd2be says:

    I love your tips and thanks for the wonderful visual photos for us. Thankful that cyber space keeps things around. I want to do scallops on my Dear Jane one day, but this has made me want to do it more often. I love the difference it adds to all of the work put into our quilt tops.

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