After posting pics of a recent quilt that I made with scalloped borders, several members asked if I would create a tutorial on how I did them. So here it is. :)
First off, here's a pic of the entire quilt. As you can see, the scallops are a gentle wave around the edge of the quilt will rolling peaks and valleys. Also, note that each corner has a peak that rolls around it.
Also, note that each of my blocks are 6" square, and that there is an even number of them each way (10 blocks x 12 blocks). This is VERY important in getting the scallop pattern to work out correctly.
Here's a closer look at the scalloped border. Notice that there is a peak or valley in the border above the seam between each block. So, the height of the peak and the bottom of the valley are 6" apart (the width of a finished block).
Before even contemplating the scalloped border, I first sewed on my border, which was 4" wide. I did all of the quilting (stitch in the ditch), just as you would with a normal square quilt. I now turned to creating a template for the scalloped edge. Since my raw border was 4" wide, I knew that the curve around the corners would need to have a radius slightly less than 4". So I went to the kitchen and found a Tupperware lid that was 7.5" across. This worked out to a radius of 3.75", which was just right.
In the picture below, you can see the template laying on top of the quilt in the correct position for drawing the outline on the border, and also the Tupperware lid where it was positioned for drawing on the border around the corner. For creating the template, I simply laid the Tupperware lid on the cardboard so that it's center was over the seam between the border and blocks and then drew around the upper edge of it to do the right peak. I then did the same on the left side of the template to create the left peak of the template. And finally, I move it to the center and drew along the lower edge of the lid to create the valley of the template. After this. I took a ruler and drew in connecting lines between the peak curves and the valley curves.
After I had the curves of the peaks and valley drawn on the template, I cut the template out. I then aligned the peak and valley horizontal and vertical lines with the block/border seams and using a pen I drew around the curves of the template. I then picked the template up and moved to the next position, realigned it and drew the next curves, and so on. When I got to the corners, I used the Tupperware lid to draw the curve around the corner.
Now that my wavy line was drawn all around the border, I took the quilt to the sewing machine and stiched about 1/8" inside the drawn line. It's important, too, to not cut the wavy line of the border until after stitching on the binding, as the extra material helps to stabalize the quilt while stitching.
I created my binding strips by cutting 2.75" strips on the bias (45 degrees to the selvedge) so that the strips would have move give when working around the curved edges. This is very important as strips cut on the straight grain won't give as much and will be more difficult to work with.
After I had my binding strips cut and sewed together, I folded them over and ironed them into 1 3/8" strips. I sewed the raw edge of the strips on the drawn template lines of the quilt. Be careful to not stretch or pull on the strips as you work them into the peak and valleys - just let them follow the curve so that when you wrap them to the back you will have enough workability in them.
After the binding is stitched all around the edge, I used a rotary cutter to follow the binding edge and cut the wavy edge of the border.
I then wrapped the binding over the edge and did stitch-in-the-ditch between the border and binding edge so that needle just catches the edge of the binding on the back by about 1/8" inch. It's important to work slowly when doing this since you are sewing a constantly undulating curve. As I'm doing this, I'm constantly lifting the quilt and looking underneath to check that my binding on the back looks like it will be caught by the needle (i.e., a 1/2" on the back, since I'm sewing 3/8" on the front.
Here's a view of the back of the quilt. You can see that the thread on the binding on the back is about 1/8" in from the edge of it.
Although I strived to be careful and have that 1/8" between the sewn line and the binding edge, sometimes it was a little more which left me with a little bit of a lip of fabric beyond the sewn line. For areas of the binding when it may have gotten up to about a 1/4" lip, I used some of this wonderful stuff called Fabri-tac, which is permanent fabric glue. It goes on clear, dries clear and fast, and can be washed. I love this stuff. I just laid a small bead into the crevice between the binding and backing on the back of the quilt where that fabric lip got a little bigger than I wanted. That lip lays perfectly flat now.
Of course, you could hand-stitch the binding on the back, but I simply don't have the patience or dexterity for such intricate work. My eyesight is bad enough as is, and I have to use reading glasses when working on quilts. But we each do what works for us. :)
Hope this was helpful.