There are easy methods to make a beautiful scalloped edge for your special quilts. I will explain the paper folding method and the Easy Scallop tools available for purchase.
Paper folding method
Cut a piece of freezer paper or shelf paper the length of your quilt then cut it in half lengthwise. Most freezer paper comes eighteen inches wide and most quilt borders are narrower than nine inches so that you could use the same strip of freezer paper and simply cut it lengthwise to have two lengths. Cut the second strip of freezer paper the length of the width of your quilt. For rectangular quilts the border for the width of the quilt is usually shorter than the border for the length of the quilt. If your border is very narrow, a strip of adding machine tape would be great for making your pattern.
Take the strip of paper the length of the quilt. Fold the paper strip in half and half again -- continuing until you have a nice size for a scallop. Now take the strip of paper the length of the width measurement and fold it in half and half again until it is a nice size for a scallop. Hopefully the two have a similar measurement. The scallop for the length of the quilt can be slightly different than the width but you don't want a noticeable difference in the length of scallops. So refold the paper to a size that is very close for both borders.
When you are satisfied with the folded lengths, draw a curved edge on the paper using a compass, a large mixing bowl, plate, or other round object for a pattern. Pin the layers of paper together and cut the scallop from the paper pattern.
Lay the paper pattern on the quilt border and draw the scalloped line with a removable marking tool. Do not cut the scallop shape on the fabric. Leave the border straight for stability. Quilt the quilt. Hand or machine baste the scalloped edge. After quilting stitch the binding using the marked lines as a guideline for stitching binding. After the binding is stitched, then trim the scallop and finish binding as usual.
When scalloping edges of a quilt you must use bias binding so it will curve around the curved part of the scallop. While the strip of paper method works it is not as easy as having a correct tool for the process.
Easy Scallop Tool
There is a tool called the EASY SCALLOP designed by Darlene Zimmerman and marketed by EZ International. The Easy Scallop is available at your local quilt store, online, or at some super discount stores. This tool is made from heavy gauge template plastic and will last a long time. Each package contains two Easy Scallop tools. One is for scallop sizes 4" to 7" and the other is for scallops 7" to 12". The two tools come with complete instructions and are very easy to use.
The math is almost done for you. You simply measure your quilt and divide by the number of scallops you wish to have on each side of the quilt. The Easy Scallop locks into place at the size you specify so it is very simple to mark an accurate scallop on the border of your quilt. Simply draw around the scallop tool with your washable marking pen.
The scallop tools allow you to choose between a round corner or a pointed corner. Each style can be marked with ease with the complete instructions included.
Mark scallops before or after quilting
The scallops can be marked either before or after quilting. So it can be a last minute decision to scallop the edge of your quilt or you can mark it before quilting and plan your quilting motif to fit nicely into the curved shapes.
When you are finished quilting, hand baste or machine baste the curved scalloped edges of the quilt through all layers before applying the binding. The quilt will lay flat and you will have less trouble with layers shifting if it is basted before applying the binding.
Use bias binding and bind the quilt. Bias binding is essential to binding a curved edge such as a scallop. Bias has a natural stretch built in to accommodate the bias edges. Straight binding will pucker whereas bias binding will curve around the edges and lay flat.
Stitching bias binding to a scalloped quilt
Begin stitching in a curved area. As you come to a "V", stop with the needle down, lift the pressure foot and pivot the quilt and binding around the needle. Push fullness behind the needle with a stiletto or seam ripper. Lower the pressure foot and stitch away from the "V" continuing until you come to the next "V".
Trim batting and backing to 1/4" -- do not clip the "V". If the "V's" are clipped the scallops will be floppy. The binding fabric will make a small pleat or fold at the "V". You can use a stiletto to help fold this pleat and tuck it in nicely as you hand stitch the bias binding to the back of the quilt.
I would like to suggest that when you come to the V of the scallop, that after you do the needle down, take just one stitch straight across, ending with needle down. Continue on as you have stated. This allows one stitch width for clipping and turning without puckers.
Enjoy your lovely quilt with a scalloped edge.
Tea Dye Fabric For An Antique Look
Tea dyeing is a traditional way to make fabric a cream or ecru color. This can be done easily in your own kitchen with a minimum of equipment. You will find it very simple to do and well worth the effort.
Sometimes a white fabric, lace, or rick rack is not available in a cream or ecru color. In fact cream or ecru rick rack is not available so if you wish to use some on a quilt you will need to dye it yourself. This is a good time to use the tea dye methods available.
You also may have a printed fabric that is simply too bright and you wish to "tone it down" a little for a specific project. If you tea dye this fabric it will mute the background and over dye the bright prints and help them blend with other muted fabrics.
Some very interesting textured fabric can be made using a white on white fabric and then tea dying it. The white pigmented area stays white and the background fabric becomes a mellow tea color and can make a very beautiful fabric addition to your quilts.
Or if you have vintage napkins or tablecloths that are stained or dingy they can be tea dyed to give them a new life. Be cautious until you are familiar with how certain fabrics will take the tea. Check the tea dye bath with a small swatch of fabric before committing your entire garment, yardage, lace trim, or quilt.
Making the tea dye bath
The easiest way to tea dye is with regular tea bags. Purchase a large package of inexpensive tea bags and keep it on hand in a tin or airtight plastic container. Tea bags will also keep well in the freezer.
Some tea dyers recommend you purchase an additional large soup pot to tea dye but I find simply using my stainless steel sauce pans that I use for food. Tea is a food and certainly won't harm your cookware or cause any toxic activities in food that is cooked in the same pots after you are finished tea dying. If you used chemical dye you would wish to use separate utensils from food preparation for safety.
If I am only tea dying a few yards of lace or a package of rick rack I use three or four tea bags in a quart of water. Bring tea bags to boil in a small sauce pan and boil it for several minutes up to an hour. The tea will get stronger the more it is boiled and as a result the items you are tea dying will be darker. Some recommend using a teaspoon of vinegar in the tea dye bath. It certainly can't hurt and might help the fabric accept the tea more readily.
Completely wet the items to be dyed. Place them in the dye bath and leave it there as long as necessary to make the color you wish. Some fabrics can be steeped in the tea for several hours or overnight. Stir occasionally to make sure that the fabric is evenly distributed in the tea bath.
Remember the color will be darker when the fabric is wet. When your fabric is the color you wish, wring it out and rinse in several changes or cold water until the water runs clear. Some tea dyers recommend using a half cup of vinegar in a gallon of water for a final soak. Then rinse.
Another tea dyer recommends simply wringing out the items and blotting the fabric with a paper toweling. After the fabric is almost dry, press with a medium hot iron to dry the fabric and heat set the tea dye. As for any type of dyeing, heat setting would be recommended, so press the fabric with a medium hot iron.
Tea dying in a washing machine
If you need to tea dye a large item or large amount of fabric you will need to use a very large soup pot. Or set your washing machine on low or medium load. Steep an entire box of tea bags in about a quart of water. Pour that into the washing machine and agitate for several minutes, then stop machine to soak, and agitate again. Continue until the fabric is as dark as you wish. Remember that fabric is darker when wet. Spin out the tea and rinse in cold water until the water runs clear.
Obviously if the fabric or lace is 100% cotton it will accept the color in the tea dye bath more readily than polyesters or other synthetic fabrics. I did find that rick rack that is 100% polyester did not tea dye as dark as items that are 100% cotton or cotton blend.
Some quilters don't recommend using tea to dye because of the tannic acid in the tea and prefer to use a tan colored RIT dye that is available for purchase in variety stores and quilt shops. What ever method you prefer to use you will find the antique look of your fabrics will be fun to use in your quilts.