Scalloped Borders

Do you want to know how to scallop any size quilt without doing tedious Math? Read on!

Scallop borders add so much to a quilt and they are a great way to give a plain quilt 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. I have 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 method way to scallop any quilt. 

Step 1

First lay the quilt out on the floor or on 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 processbefore the quilting and just mark the scallops instead of cutting them. 

A printable version of the templates I use are available free here.

Step 2

I start at the top edge of the quilt, cutting one edge at a time.

Next take the corner pieces; the half circle shape and fold it in half to crease it down the middle. 

Step 3

If your quilt has mitered corners, placement will be easy. If you have regular corners, 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. Do this with both top corners. 

Step 4

Take the 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.

Step 5

Fill in between the corners. Take a stack of the hill/valley templates and lay them out between the two corners. Turn every other one over for a mirror effect. Once you have the space between the corner units filled, arrange the spacing of the templates to suit your quilt. 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 scallops in across the top, but sometimes less is more. Pin everything in place.

Step 6

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.

Step 7

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

Step 8

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 1¼” 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. See my Bias Binding tutorial.