Quilt ADD in therapy

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Colorado, United States
Other than my family, the passion of my life is quilting. An eclectic, I love a wide variety of styles and techniques encompassing both machine and hand work. I am a longarm quilter who can work for you. I enjoy any style, from pantographs to all-over to full custom, ranging from traditional to modern. I love bringing vintage tops to life and am willing to work with a challenging quilt top. Instagram: lyncc_quilts

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Tutorial for Scalloped Bindings and Comments on Piecing Batting.

Hand Work Station

Yes! Marissa's Moment of Caprice is finally at this station. That makes me super happy even though my Hawaiian mini is sooo close to being finished that it was a shame to have to set it aside once more. I love the back on this (seen here) as much as the front.

Let me say: Scalloped binding is gorgeous and I know I'll do it again for sure, but WHAT A JOB! Luckily I picked up a few tips from around Blogworld, and let me pass those along. 

  • You absolutely must use a bias-cut binding. You cannot go around those curves and inward corners with on-the-grain strips. 
  • The tip I picked up a couple years ago to starch binding shut on itself as you press the fold (this lightly "glues" the layers together so you don't get slippage puckers) was immensely beneficial for scalloped attachment.
  • Don't cut the scallops until you've attached all the binding. You lose a ton of stability on your sewing base if you turn that into bias as well. In a couple of the pics below you can see the blue-line edge I had traced onto the quilt top before quilting.
  • Another thing that really helped with putting on this binding is that I'd basted just inside that line (about 2 mm) when I was going to start my FMQ. 
  • You're going to need a lot of time for this task. It normally takes me 30-35 minutes to attach a twin-sized binding. This took several sessions (it's VERY intense work), and added up to just under 3 hours! So plan for that if you've got a deadline on a project. 
  • While sewing, you'll need a tool to hold the edge in place around those curves and to swing the seam allowance out of the way on the inner angles. Did your trusty Purple Thang get lost during a recent move? Grab a seam ripper. Worked great.

You don't need to fuss and worry about easing in fabric on the curves, but I found it extremely helpful as I approached those angles to lay in a pin parallel to the next curve's beginning, and 1/4" in from the edge line. 

Then I knew to stop the end of the curve I just made and pivot on my down-needle when I arrived at that pin. Just be careful to get your binding bent around that needle-down without stretching it. Be meticulous about getting the little folds that will form out of the way of the needle. You gotta get the next couple of stitches without going through any of those. If the needle does go through a fold, you really need to pull it all out from under the foot and pop out that stitch. Leaving it in will steal way too much of your binding from you for turning over the edge later. Trust me, it's worth the extra effort to fix that.

And you go along, doing the Dory thing - "Just keep swimming, Just keep swimming" - nice and slow, until you finally arrive back where you started and you do some funky Twister struggle to get a bumpless binding connecting seam in one tiny scallop space. That was an adventure, but happily successful.  :)

Even the quilt was happy that this part was accomplished! Look at it grinning away at me from where I set it down to await TV time and the scallop-trimming: 

Again, with that task - go slow! You don't want to slice through your stitches when you're cutting those inner angles!  Yeah, I was holding my breath a lot for those. It took 50 minutes to cut this twin quilt's scallops - Just so you know. You also want a nice, smooth edge.  You do NOT need to snip the angles into the point of the stitching to achieve pretty inner corners later. Let it stay stronger by keeping its seam allowance intact.

Also - I would stick to scissors for this task. A rotary cutter, even the tiny one, would be too risky at those inner angles.

All sources and quilters stressed to me that scalloped bindings really, REALLY need to be hand-stitched down. This was fine for me, as I only machine-finish bindings on baby quilts and quilts with super-thick backings like corduroy and minky.  This is another point you need to allow extra time for, though.  I had comforted myself during the attachment time that at least the hand-stitching part would be more regular in time demands. However! Judging by the distance I got while watching movies with my very sick 15yo - - - it will take a total of 9 2-hour movies to stitch this baby all down, compared to a usual 3 or 4 for this size. So..... all together, at every stage, you need to factor in much, MUCH more time to put on a scalloped binding. But they're worth it!

I was happy to find that the bias binding eases around the curved edges quite nicely after you practice a few. For me and my tastes, the 2 1/4 inch strips I sewed on were a perfect match for the 1/4" seam allowance I cut. I usually use 3/8" allowance on bindings, but with the curves I went a little shallower.

I found it easiest to stop pinning at the middle of a scallop and jump ahead to the next  angle. 

Fold the first edge flat like this, keeping a good tension at the stitches on the right.

Fold the second edge flat like this, again making sure you don't have gapping at the stitches on that side. (Don't pull it all super-tight, just get it to the stitching.) You'll have a nice pleat running up the center of the angle.

Now you can bend the whole she-bang up at the edge.  You want to pinch the fold in place at the edge of the quilt while allowing it to spread back out on the edge of the binding that will meet the corner when you finish laying it down. My thumb is hiding the folded part that I'm pinching here:

Now lay it down flat on the point of stitching. You can see how the fold slid open so that it disappears right at the edge of the point, but remained in place at the inner angle. All this prep work is the part that gets much faster and neater for you after you've fumbled through a few. 

These want to be pinned vertically. I can't get clips to hold the fold nice enough for me, so I just be careful of the porcupine effect as I'm working.

Now you can go back and pin the gap just behind the angle. Don't worry about the fullness at the sewing edge. . .

. . . It will lay itself down very nicely because of the bias cut if you use an invisible ladder-type stitching that you can see Nadine show at her tutorial.

I tried to get a shot for you to see how I treat the angles. As the quilt is used, I don't want those folds to get pulled out and then be all ugly-popped. So I stitch each one invisibly shut - front and back. *However* - I was also concerned that pulling stress on twisting scallops might pop stitches at those corners, so I left the outer 1/3 or so unstitched, to allow for a wee bit of give without giving the fold room to pop out. Hopefully you can see here what I'm talking about. I'm sure this is where all the extra stitching time is coming from, but I'm also sure from playing around with an un-secured angle that I will not at all regret this extra care in the stitching. It just gets all messy without it when you manipulate the quilt edge.

So! If you're considering a scalloped edge, leave yourself plenty of time, understand that it's an adventure, and go for it! They're beautiful edgings for the designs that want them, and well worth the time and effort.  Feel free to share with me your own experiences, tips, or ask questions.

FMQ Station:

It's time to get the next party started!!  This is getting pin-basted today. I have chemical sensitivity and some systemic health issues that I protect from carcinogenics like the propellant in spray cans, so I pass up all the basting sprays. 

Hounds' Blues is 60 x 60 inches. I succeeded once again at keeping everything limited to what was already in my stash! I was even able to Frankenstein some Hobbs Heirloom batting pieces together for it. 

I splice them using this overlapped and curvy cutting approach shown by Anne.  I call it "Frankensteining" because I don't buy the iron-on tape - it's easy and quick enough to just whipstitch the joins. I use big stitches, approaching an inch apart and spanning a 1/4 inch either side of the gap. They look like Frankenstein stitches! Or big football stitches. And they go very, very quickly. You just snug it enough to make the gap disappear but not enough to make a ridge. See how hard it is to find that join?  

It likes to pull a little loose when you lift the batting, but just smooth it all snug again when you layer your quilt sandwich. If you baste sufficiently (whatever your favorite method), you will have no pull-away or bunching. Works like a charm.

[I need to add this qualifier: if the quilt is going to have fairly wide-spaced quilting (like 4" apart or so), you'd need to use much closer stitches to keep it more stable. At that point, I'd probably opt for the ease of the iron-on tapes.  ;D]

For myself, I have not had good results zigzagging batting seams in the machine - They like to bunch or stretch, and I find the resulting depression still detectable after the quilt is finished. (Although I'm sure it would disappear completely in something that is hyper-quilted.)  

Piecing Station:

Just started going through my scrap bin, cutting blues and whites into log cabin pieces for the next gift needed. They'll grow up into Run, Kitty, Run, but right now this station does not get priority.


Linking up at


  1. Great tips for the scalloped binding! It looks lovely.

  2. I appreciate your diligence in putting this post together...great info. Haven't tackled a scalloped binding but hope to someday and I definitely learned some great tips.

  3. GREAT tutorial! Thanks so much... I've pinned so that when I attempt a scalloped binding I'll have it ready to use. Also good info on piecing batting. I've got wonky leftovers that need this.

  4. Thanks for such an AWESOME tutorial! This will come in handy when I add the binding to my Dear Jane!

  5. GREAT tips Lynn!!! I will definitely be pinning this for the future! I have a few scallops in my future plans!!!

  6. Thanks for all the info and tutorial! I am going to add this to my Pinterest board so I don't lose it!

  7. A very helpful tutorial should I ever be that brave!

  8. What a great review of how to attach scalloped binding. If you're like me, you'll do it just this ONCE. That's plenty, given how much extra time is needed to get it right. You've done a marvelous job. Thanks too for the reminder about piecing battings. I've done it before, but forget about it as a good option. Ya know. No one blogs much about battings. They're always inside the quilts, and once they're no longer visible, no one mentions them. Do you have a favorite brand/loft/type?

  9. I was thinking about working a scalloped edge quilt with not a clue on how to tackle one....Your tutorial has answered so many of my questions. Lol if I ever sort out a username for Pinterest I'll pin this post too.

  10. First of all I adore your header!! Secondly that is the best tutorial on scallops I've seen!! Amazing!
    Did you use the Ez Scallop ruler by any chance?
    And seeing those fabrics on this quilt, did you know that the Paris Flea Market line by Mods has been reprinted for a special 10 year anniversary collection?

  11. Great info on the scalloped edge. Your quilt turned out beautifully!

  12. This was very useful information. I made a double wedding ring quilt years and years ago and have not made another quilt with curved edges as I got so frustrated binding it. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge.
    Cath @ Bits 'n Bobs

  13. Love scallop binding too. Good job.

  14. Love the binding and the tutorial. I have not tried one before but I think they are beautiful.

  15. Wow! I really love the scalloped quilt! I would love to see the front side ... you used my colors (Moda fabric)! Thanks for the tut on how to do these scallop borders ... I have book-marked this page for the next one I do. I have done a couple, but none with scallops this deep. Simply beautiful!

  16. What a fun tutorial!!! Thank you for sharing on my blog's Show and Tell Link party today!

  17. Thank you for the tutorial. And I just might try the spray starch hint on my next binding even without the scallops. the finished binding was extremely impressive.

  18. Can I pin this scalloped edge tut? Awesome look. Just had an ahah moment. I have some scalloped ice cream cone borders to work on and this makes total sense to cut the curves after. Thanks!

  19. This is a brilliant tute! I might try it out on a cushion or something very small first though. Thank you for giving such a thorough explanation of how you did that :)

  20. Have never tried scalloped edges but they look fantastic and thanks to you I now have a brilliant tutorial to follow!

  21. Great tips for scalloped edges, they do always look so beautiful!

  22. Thanks for all of these wonderful tips!!! I've been planning to do a scalloped quilt very soon, so the timing of your post is perfect for me. I've got the top done, I just need to start the rest and I'm a little intimidated by the process. Thanks so much for all the helpful information :-)

  23. Beautiful. I must try a scalloped edge quilt some time! Yours is lovely :-) Avis x

  24. I'll be showing your scallop tips to my MIL - she's got a beautiful quilt top that's been languishing for 8 years because she is afraid to scallop the border. Hopefully this will help her gain the confidence to get it done!

  25. The binding looks beautiful. I'm pinning it for the great tips :) Thanks!

  26. Thank you for the tutorial on scalloped binding!!! Ironically, I found you thru Pinterest on the VERY day I'm starting the binding on a scalloped edged quilt!! And it's the first time I've tried this!!!! Thanks again! Great tutorial!

  27. Hands down, the very BEST scalloped binding tutorial I've ever read! Thank you SEW much for sharing every detail of your meticulous work!


  28. Thanks so much for posting this. Very clear directions and great photos, too!

  29. Nicely done! Very easy to understand. Thanks!

  30. Great tutorial, thank you! I'll have to go through it slowly when I do my scallops because some things I'm still a bit confused on but I think this will help me inmensely. Thank You!

  31. I would love to join your site, but it won't let me anyway you can add me in to yahoo as AngelKruiser1@yahoo.com TY

  32. I am very late to the party, but great tips and explanations are always useful. Thank you for sharing. I found you on pinterest, courtesy of another pinne. Hope I can join your group.

  33. I understand and agree re:spam.Where and how do I join your group/blog, please?

  34. Do I need to use complete "name" is that the problem? I am very new to all this tech.and procedures.Excuse me please.

  35. Do I need to use complete "name" is that the problem? I am very new to all this tech.and procedures.Excuse me please.

  36. Thanks for the tutorial.

    Hey... about those basting sprays.
    I saw that you avoid them, and I was reminded of the basing powder. It is sprinkled on and ironed... Missouri Star Quilting Company has it on demo via Youtube and in their online shop.
    I plan to make a scallop quilt for myself one day but a softer scallop without the sharp inner cut. I’d love to figure out the math of dividing and such.
    Again, thanks


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