Cutting Scalloped Borders

Do you want to know how to scallop any size quilt without doing math? Read on! Scallop borders add so much to a quilt and are a great way to give a plain quilt look a little more pizzazz. The first time I did a scallop border was to make a huge border look like it was added intentionally and not just slapped on to make a small quilt bigger :) It worked!

I have since done dozens of scallop borders, and I’m always impressed at how they take a quilt over the top. Here is my process for the no Math (nothing against Math, it has its place, just not with scallops, Ha!) way to scallop any quilt. The free printable version of the templates I use (my own creation) is included. Feel free to print as many as you need and share with friends! You’ll notice there are three sizes to choose from. Depending on the look you are going for and the width of your borders, you can choose the appropriate size. I use the large most frequently.

First lay your quilt out on the floor or a table. Make sure it is nicely pressed out flat without folds or creases. I always scallop my quilts after the quilting has been done, but you could do this process before the quilting and just mark the scallops instead of cutting them. I start the process across the top edge of the quilt cutting one edge at a time.

Now take the corner pieces; the half circle shape and fold it in half to crease it down the middle. If your quilt has mitered corners, its placement will be easy. If you have regular corners, just draw a temporary line from the corner of the pieced middle to the outer corner of the border. Place the crease of your corner template along the mitered or drawn line. You will do this to both top corners.

Take your hill/valley template and nestle it into the corner so the curve matches and the rounding of the corner flows nicely into the valley. Repeat this process for both top edge corners.

Fill in between the corners. Take a stack of those hill/valley templates and lay them out between the two corners. You will turn every other one over for a mirror effect. Once you have the space between the corner units filled, you will arrange the spacing of the templates to suit your liking. I spaced mine out about 1” apart at both the “hill” side and the “valley” side-this was the simplest layout. I could have squeezed them all together and maybe got one more scallop in across the top, but sometimes less is more :) Pin everything in place.

Now it’s time to cut! Start at the corner and round it off following the template. Continue along the scallop templates cutting away the excess “valleys” and rounding each “hill”. Remove the middle templates but leave the corners in place.

Fold the quilt in half so the bottom edge comes up under the top edge. This will act as your matching template to cut a perfect match along the bottom. Cut away the excess from the bottom edge.

Now, repeat this whole process with the two side borders, that is why we left the corner units attached after the top and bottom borders were scalloped. Just as before, nestle the hill/valley template into the corner unit and pin in place. Line up the hill/valley templates along the side edge. The spacing on these may be slightly different than the top depending on the actual dimensions of the quilt, mine ended up about 1 ¼” apart on the sides. Cut away the excess; fold the quilt in half lengthwise and cut the mirror image border on the other side.

Now you are ready to bind. You will need to use bias binding on any scallop border, and I have a great tutorial for how to make your own here, enjoy :)

Have you had scallop border disasters or success? I would love to hear all about it! Any questions?

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Seattle, WA USA

© 2020 Krista Moser.