For the Love of Scallops

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?

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