Farm Girl Vintage Finished Quilt + BONUS! Scalloped Border Step-by-Step
by April Henry
Farm Girl Vintage Sew Along 2020 - Finished Quilt with Scalloped Border
At the end of February, the borders and sashing were pieced, the quilt top was finally assembled and delivered to the local longarm quilter for a small bit of custom quilting. Two years to the month and here we are... the Farm Girl Vintage Sampler quilt is completely finished! We started in March 2018, and two years later in March 2020, it's all sewn, quilted and bound. Isn't it exciting!? This quilt is probably the most time-laborious project I've ever sewn, and it's certainly the most tedious with all the sampler block piecing. However, I am beyond thrilled with the entire project, including the scalloped border! I have been so anxious for how it would turn out, but with time, patience and a lot of ironing, I am happy to present to you a step-by-step photo tutorial for how it can be achieved.
Psssst! If you're just joining us and want to get in on the fun, you can always start at the beginning of our series at your own pace. Grab some Lori Holt fabric and accessories, as well as the two featured books here!
SCALLOPED QUILT BORDER - Step-by-Step Tutorial
- Measuring Tape
- Long Cutting Ruler
- Sewline Erasable Fabric Pencil
- Quilt-In-A-Day Scalloped Border Ruler
- Washi Tape
- Small Pair of Scissors
- Walking Foot
Enough Bias Binding for your quilt (click here for simple tutorial).
* Bias binding can be cut to the standard width of 2 1/2" or 2 1/4" for traditional double-fold quilt binding, or you can trim it to 1 1/2" for sewing it as single-fold binding, like I used in tutorial below.
Watch this tutorial first about how to use the Scallop Ruler.
Measure quilt side edges plus top & bottom edges and calculate how many scallops you wish to have on each border side. Because my quilt was square, math calculations were pretty simple. With it being 8 blocks by 8 blocks, my quilt measured 75" square, including the border, so I decided to have 10 scallops per side. This means my scallop measurement will be 7 1/2". The video tutorial above will help with calculations.
(It is assumed that the final quilt border is precut to the preferred width and sewn onto the quilt.) Once the quilt top is all sewn and before quilting, begin marking your scallops all the way around. Start, by drawing a 45-degree angled line from each inner corner to outer corner of the outside quilt border. Drawing this before quilting will help the longarm quilter know the boundaries and allow for any custom quilting, if desired.
Note: Before making a final decision on a scalloped border for my quilt, I had left my border extra wide, but this is not necessary. The ruler edge and tutorial above will help you with correct placement along border edge.
Locate the marked lines on the ruler that coordinate with the calculated scallop measurement from Step 1, and affix a piece of washi tape at each marked line associated with the scallop measurement. I affixed a piece of washi tape at both 7 1/2 inch measurement lines.
Begin tracing the scallops by starting at all four corners first, working towards the center of all four sides. Use the 45 degree drawn line as the starting point for marking the first scallop.
Continue tracing the scallops, starting and stopping at the calculated measurement lines as marked with the washi tape. As you approach the center of each side of the quilt, stop, and begin marking again at the opposite corner, working back to meet in the center again. This is where you can erase any drawn lines, making slight adjustments as needed to the center scallop(s) so that all the scallop measurements will be as consistent and even as possible along each side. Two or three of my center scallops on each side were closer to 7". This made all the scallops as even as possible while still maintaining the smooth rounded corners of the quilt.
Make sure your line is good and noticeable for the longarm quilter. Having it pre-drawn allowed my quilter to add a decorative quilting design for just the border and it turned out so cute!
Have your quilt top quilted and begin the fun anticipation of binding! So, if you haven't prepared your bias yet, go back to the beginning list of supplies and use this waiting time to have it made and ready to sew for the next steps.
Notice the chicken wire quilt design pattern for the main portion of the quilt.... Not so condensed that it would detract from the block designs, yet distinct enough to give a subtle, vintage farm touch. Plus, the perfectly-shaped cherries for the border - it turned out so beautifully! I love looking at it!
Once your quilt is all quilted, trim away the excess border, batting and backing fabric, cutting all along your scallops. Be sure to cut very carefully, especially around the corner curves.
Leaving about a 10-12 inch long binding tail at the start of your first seam (so the ends can be joined together once sewn all the way around the quilt), lock your stitch by back-stitching a few stitches, and using a walking foot, begin sewing the binding along the top of the quilt edge. I stitched the binding with about a 3/8 inch seam allowance. The walking foot will prevent puckering, feeding all the layers of your quilt evenly. This one I am using is designed for the Singer Featherweight and works fantastically!
TIP: Begin sewing towards the end of a scallop curve, not a scallop point. Sew slowly and carefully, easing the binding around the curves. Do not pull or stretch the bias, but work gently. Bias is designed to work around curvatures and it will naturally lay around the curve as it stitched in place.
As the scallop corners are approached, don't panic, but be prepared with a pencil. This makes all the difference! Marking the pivot point indicates where the needle should be down when to turn to sew the next curve.
TIP: The bias will seem a bit fiddly when pivoting and starting to sew the next curve, but don't worry, just tuck any ripples behind the needle and walking foot, and manipulate the bias so it conforms as it is sewn in each consecutive curve. Again, avoid pulling and stretching the bias as much as possible. Remember, bias likes to stretch (because it likes curves), but stretching it changes the bias width, which will affect how it is folded over the quilt edge and hand-stitched in place at the final step.
Joining the ends together just means a couple more times of stopping and starting, but it is not difficult. Because I started sewing the bias at the end of a curve, I had just enough room to stop sewing it at the beginning of that same curve when I stitched all the way around the quilt. Backstitch the end of the seam and pull the quilt out from the sewing machine.
Remember, there is a 10" to 12" tail from the beginnnig seam. Leave the same amount of length for the end of the seam for the bias joining process.
- Lay the quilt edge along a flat surface and fold the bias ends perpendicular to one another as shown in the photo above. One is folded up and one is folded down, both folded at 45 degree angles.
- Conform as much of the bias as possible to the curved edge and then finger press the angled folds as if were they matched and sewn together.
- Unfold the top bias tail and mark the crease with a pencil line.
- Unfold the bottom bias tail and mark the crease with a pencil. With right sides together, match the drawn lines and pin.
- Keeping the drawn lines matched, pin tail ends carefully together.
- Pulling it out of the way of the quilt, stitch along the drawn line of one side using the standard presser foot. (A walking foot will not work as well for this step.)
- Before trimming away the excess tails, make sure the bias aligns well to the quilt (right sides together, etc.).
- Trim the tails, press bias sewn seams open and switch back to the walking foot again. Stitch the remaining bias along the last curve, back-stitching at the beginning and end.
Now, it's ready to be folded over to the backside of the quilt and hand-stitched in place!
For each and every curve, fold the binding to the backside of the quilt, one curve at a time. Fold and tuck, fold and tuck so that the binding is as even on the back as it is to the front.
TIP: You will only be working on one curve at a time - folding, tucking, ironing, sewing. As you work around the quilt, start ironing at the end of each curve first then press back towards the beginning of the curve. Keep pressing the binding in place all along the one curve so that it conforms beautifully. Again, bias likes curves and it loves to be ironed in the process!
Finally, hand sew the curve just pressed. Again, this process is one curve at a time.
Before starting another curve, clip the scallop corner a little bit, so that a small tuck will naturally form in the bias as the quilt is finished.
Stop stitching after hand-sewing the corner. Then, begin the folding, tucking, pressing and sewing of the next curve as described at the beginning of Step 11!
Continue around the entire quilt this way, one curve at a time. Yes, it will take longer than traditional binding, but I set up my iron on my TV tray ironing board next to the sofa and worked as often as I desired in the evenings.
Notice the little tucks at each scallop corner? Those naturally formed as the binding was sewn in place.
OPTIONAL STEP - QUILT LABEL:
I had sewn this tractor block together a bit hastily a few months back and so it was slightly smaller than I could use in the quilt. This made for a perfect quilt label! I added a little border, embroidered my name, year and quilt details and hand-stitched it to the back corner edge of the quilt. Orphan blocks make perfect quilt labels!
TIP: Baste a half inch stitching line all the way around the label border. This becomes the perfect folding line for the finished edge.
All the scallops!
Ruthie was all dressed up like a 1940's farm girl so I had her pose with the quilt. It was a cool, brisk morning!
What about you!? Do you have a finished Farm Girl Vintage quilt? We would absolutely love to see it! It will be wonderful inspiration for others as they continue to sew and even for those visiting this page in the future -- seeing finished quilts is such an encouragement to keep sewing! Don't forget to join us on the Facebook group to share and enjoy more Featherweight Fellowship online!
Watch our blog at the Featherweight Shop Review for the next sew along and future articles. Stay tuned!