Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Quilt Binding with Scallops


Do you ever feel that you want to do something different with your quilt binding?  I tend to be very boring and use the same method of binding - 2.1/2" folded double binding - again and again.  Recently I was asked for instructions for binding quilts with scallops and I am so pleased that I tried it out:  it gave something really different to my quilt.  It took longer than my normal quilt binding, but I felt it was well worth it.

The first thing to do is decide on the length of the scallop that your quilt needs.  My quilt was 32" by 40" which was lucky because it meant that I could have 8" scallops across all 4 edges.  If my quilt had been 32" by 45", for example, I would have used 8" scallops along the 32" edges and 9" scallops along the 45" edges. 
To make the template for the binding scallops, I drew an 8" line and then used a plate to mark a curve between the ends of the line.  The resulting shape was cut out to be used as a template.

Beginning in a corner, lay the template on the quilt top with the curved part towards the edge of the quilt.  Mark the curves of the scallop on the fabric.  This will be the cutting line, so it doesn't matter what you use to mark the fabric.  Move the template along and mark round the next scallop and continue until you have marked the scallops all along the quilt edges.  For the corners, blend the lines from the scallops either side of the corner to give a rounded corner.

For quilt binding with scallops the binding has to be cut on the bias so that it can be eased around all the curves.  The easiest way to do this is to cut a square of fabric and fold one corner across to the diagonally opposite corner to create a triangle.  Then any cuts made along the line of the fold will be on the bias.  I've seen 1.1/4" strips recommended for binding with scallops, but I find that a bit too small and I prefer to use 1.1/2" strips.

Lengths of binding can be joined in the same way as normal binding, by putting two strips with right sides together and at right angles to each other and then sewing along the seam as marked by the pin.

Place the binding strip along the edge of the quilt somewhere about half way along one of the scallops.  Leave a few inches trailing to be joined to the other end of the binding.  Using a 1/4" seam, begin sewing the binding to the quilt, following the line marked around the scallop template earlier.
Sewing along the curve of the scallop just means easing the binding strip as you sew, but the V formed between two scallops takes more care.  When you reach the tip of the V, stop sewing and lift the presser foot.  Swivel the quilt so that the line of sewing is now in the direction of the next scallop.  Check that the binding strip will not get puckered up under the presser foot and sew a few stitches.  I find it best then to lift the presser foot again and smooth the binding strip, then continue sewing around the curved edge of the scallop.

Continue sewing around the edge of the quilt and when you get back to the beginning, leave a few inches trailing as you would with any quilt binding.  Fold under a small hem in one end and tuck the other end inside before sewing across the gap to complete the binding.

Now it is safe to trim the excess quilt and wadding outside the binding.  I find that trimming after sewing the quilt binding on gives a better finish.  I've also found that I get a neater finish if I don't clip right up to the stitching in the V between scallops.  My first instinct is always to clip to the stitching wherever I see a V, but this gave a floppier finish when I tried it - sorry, I couldn't think of a better word to describe it!

Flip the binding over to the quilt back and turn under a small hem as you slipstitch the quilt binding in place.

I'm really pleased with the way the quilt binding with scallops turned out.  Do you know, I only used green for the binding so that it would show up well in the photos, but I quite like it on that quilt now.

Sometimes it's easier to see it on video:

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