Your quilt is nearly done, and you're looking for just the right way to finish it off. A scallop edge creates a beautiful frame for your quilting. This procedure requires a binding cut on the bias of the fabric to allow for more give and flexibility. Finish with a beautiful work of art, and the perfect end to your masterpiece.
Experiment on scraps before attempting this process on your quilt. Leave the edge of the quilt straight while you are quilting. Scallops are cut at the very last moment.
Hold plates, bowls or other circular shaped objects up to the quilt to find the right shape. Measure the length of one side and divide it by the shape you like -- to figure out how many scallops you'll have. Do the same with the width side. Corners will be treated differently. Experiment with different sizes of plates and bowls to find the shape you like best, and which will work with your measurements. Plan on the scallop being no deeper than 1 3/4 inches.
Make a template out of several layers of masking tape. Mark the shape on top of the tape, adding a 1/4-inch seam allowance. Cut out the template shape. Place the template on the quilt top and press in place. Mark the scallop with a pencil, then remove the template and move it to the next position until you have scallops on all four sides. Count the scallops so you have same number on each long side and the same on both short sides.
Use the same shape for your scallops on a corner treatment -- for a curved corner. Curve it to mimic the scallop shape on the sides, or make it form a 90-degree angle, or another other shape. Make a template of the shape and mark all four corners the same.
Machine-stitch along the markings you've just made on the quilt top, using contrasting thread. Join all three layers of the quilt together. Extend the batting all the way to the edge of the quilt.
Cut the bias binding strips 1 1/2 inches wide. Fold in half lengthwise and press so that the raw edges are together. Mark a 3/16-inch seam on the strip ends, but don't sew the binding strips together yet.
Cut the edges of the quilt to within 1/4 inch of the line you stitched. Begin stitching the binding in place. Leave 6 to 8 inches of the binding hanging loose. Start the stitching part way up a curve. Mark the exact midpoint of the inner point of the scallop with a pin. Stitch to that point, then pivot the fabric and binding, and head back down the next curve. Ease the bias on the outside curve and pull it gently as you stitch into and out of the pivots to assure an even and smooth finish. Sew slowly and carefully.
Join bias strips as you go to avoid having a seam where you need to pivot the fabric. Adjust the length of the strips so the seams of the binding appear on the curve rather than in the pivot. To end the binding, overlap the ends of the binding and sew together.
Trim the scalloped edge one final time, cutting to 1/4 inch of the binding. Clip the inside points if necessary, but keep the clips to a minimum.
Tack the binding to the back of the quilt with a slip stitch, folding the binding into a tuck at the pivots.
- Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images