For the Love of Scallops

Posted by on Mar 9, 2013 in Quilting | Comments

For the Love of Scallops

According to Webster, a scallop is a continuous series of circular segments that form a border. I adore all things scalloped, especially on a quilt! Quilts of all sizes in both traditional and modern fabrics can really shine with this kind of border treatment. If you are looking to add a touch of whimsy or a bit of a surprise to your quilt, you should give scalloped borders a try.


The first step in creating a scalloped border is to figure out how big to make your scallops. One way is to decide how many you’d like per side and then divide the length and width of the quilt by that number to determine the width of each scallop. Another quick and easy method is to make the scallops the same width as the individual blocks within the quilt. Other quilters prefer to not rely on their math skills at all and choose to use freezer paper, which can be a quilter’s best friend. How does this work? Cut two pieces of freezer paper (one to match the length of the quilt and one to match the width), and then fold each of the pieces in half continually until the width of the paper becomes a nice size for a scallop. After pinning the stack of folded paper together, draw a curved line onto the paper using a compass or a plate, and cut along the line through all of the layers. Unfold the paper and voila! You have a scalloped stencil. But be sure to find detailed tutorials on these methods before you cut into your precious quilt! Photo Credit: Simply This and That


After the scallop size is sorted, it is time to create your border. If you enjoy plastic templates, you can purchase a tool like the Easy Scallop Template by Darlene Zimmerman to do this. This template is easy to use because it has detailed instructions and requires very little math. This versatile set is made of two durable plastic pieces that allow you to make scallops measuring anywhere from 4”-12” wide. If you don’t want to buy an extra template, you can always draft your own using paper and pencil. Use a compass or a rounded object (like a plate) to draw a perfect scalloped curve. Photo Credit: Crazy Mom Quilts


Once the scallop templates are prepped and ready to go, trace them onto the quilt with a fabric marking tool, either before or after quilting. At this point, some people like to cut along the traced line and sew their bias binding onto the curved edges. Others argue that it is easier to sew the bias binding to the quilt before cutting off the excess border fabric. This is done by lining the raw edges up to the marked scalloped line. The excess fabric is cut away after the binding is sewn completely onto the quilt.

Photo Credit: Gone Aussie Quilting
Regardless of the methods used, scalloped borders are a fun way to brighten up your quilts. Try them out on something small like a baby quilt or a table runner. Experiment with both the plastic and paper templates and decide which method you like the best! What projects have you used scalloped quilt borders on recently?


  1. Got to try this, it looks so pretty. I have a quilt in pink i am just finishing so perfect timing to make a lovely border.

  2. Rosalee says:

    I love the look of scallops but haven’t tried them yet–always thought they would be too complicated, but you make it sound easier! Can hardly wait to try these methods. Thanks “sew” much! Love all the tips, techniques, classes, etc.

  3. Brenda Hare says:

    I *LOVE* your scalloped borders! I am going to try that on my next quilt.

  4. Brenda Hare says:

    I *LOVE* your scalloped borders!! I am going to try that on my next quilt.

  5. ROBIN says:

    Please teach a scallop class. I would sign up in a heart beat. I’ve done a Sunbonnet Sue quilt like this one time, but I would like to perfect the method.

  6. Nancy says:

    I am working on a Double Wedding Ring quilt that calls for Scalloped edges. I was affraid to do it until I read this blog. I think I will go ahead and try the Scallops, I know they will make it more special. Thank you.

  7. Dolores Bonsal says:

    Scalloped borders add such a special touch to a quilt . I am going to try one. Thanks For the Information.

  8. Evelyn Byrne says:

    I love the idea of using freezer paper to make the scallops
    I’ll have to try that,thanks

  9. Annie K says:

    I’m liking the idea of sewing one side on before trimming, at least for a first attempt. I’d much rather rip some seams out and start over, than have my edges already trimmed and then discover I’d done it off-kilter. Going to try it on a owl-themed baby quilt very soon. Thanks for the tip!

  10. Pamela says:

    I love the look of a scalloped border. After reading this great information I will have to give them a try. Thank you Craftsy for always explainging new techniques in an easy way and inspiring me to try something new in quilting.

  11. Sandy Streifel says:

    I’m piecing a queen-size quilt right now that I want to put a scalloped outer border on, and I’ve ordered the Darlene Zimmerman ruler. Hope it’s easier than yardstick, math, and chinaware/templates. I wish I’d known about the freezer paper method! What a great idea, it sounds so slick. I definitely sew before cutting out the scallops.

  12. Terry P. says:

    I always wanted to try a scalloped edge. I was a little nervous about it. The freezer paper method sounds great. I’ll try it soon. Thanks for getting me to try something new. Always fun!