How to Make a Scalloped Quilt Border
By the time I finish piecing a quilt’s center, I’m ready to be done. In the past, sometimes I’ve attached plain ol’ borders and called it quits. But when I’ve given more thought and effort to a border, it has paid off. Scarlet Spin is a good example.
I’ve learned not to rush to the finish line, but to take time to do the border justice. Bonnie Hunter influenced me with her borders, which can be as involved as the quilt center. I don’t think she has ever slapped on a plain border and called it good.
I finished piecing this row quilt by Lori Holt a long while ago and stuck it away because I didn’t want to deal with the borders. But now I’m in a finishing mode and I especially want more Christmas quilts for my new Jingle Bells trunk show. When I pulled it out, I could see that a scalloped border might finish it off nicely.
I use freezer paper to plan scalloped or curved quilt borders. The first step is to cut a piece of freezer paper long enough to go across the quilt’s width as shown above. First I folded it in half and then in half again to get four equal sections. I cut a curve, snowflake-style, to see how it would look. It was awkward and lumpy. I didn’t care for it so I tried again.
The second (and third and fourth) time, I played around with cutting and folding until I had what you see above. There is some trial and error involved. Fortunately, freezer paper is inexpensive. You can see that I put half-scallops at each end for a much better result.
I did the same thing for the sides, folding and cutting until I had scallops similar in size to those on the top and bottom. I experimented with how wide to make the scalloped border—the fabric is deep red, so I wanted to frame the quilt but not overpower it.
I cut my long piece of red border fabric lengthwise into four pieces about 10″ wide each. This gave me some wiggle room in case I changed my mind about the border width.
I attached all four borders to the quilt with my cheater method so they lie nice and flat. Then I was ready to mark the scallops. I used the freezer paper as a template and marked along its edges with a mechanical chalk pencil.
By extending the lines of the scallops, I created pretty corners with ease.
The last thing I did was to take a black permanent marker and mark about 3/8″ outside the chalk lines on each border. I’m going to send this to a longarm quilter, and I knew the chalk markings would not last. I want her to be able to see clearly where the border’s edges will be, so that she can quilt the borders accordingly.
After quilting, I will cut right through those black Sharpie-drawn lines so none of that ink will remain in the quilt. When this quilt comes home, I’ll do a post on how to bind those inside corners. Challenging, but so worth the effort!