Bias Binding Grandmother's Flower Garden (and other scalloped quilts)

Binding a quilt with scallops such as wedding ring or flower garden requires the binding to stretch around curves without bunching or cupping.

Here is the quilt after it came off the quilting frame. Notice that only the quilted  top is scalloped. The batting & backing do NOT get cut away until later.

I do a test piece at this point to determine how wide I want the binding cut & how wide it turns out sewn. But read the rest through first so you know how to bind your spare unit for testing, as well as the actual quilt.


Here is the binding fabric. washed & pressed. I fold it down 44" (since that's how wide it is), and make a crease along the fold. Next I open the fabric up again and cut along the crease line.. I've measured around the quilt.Each strip on bias yiealds 58", so I needed 7 cuts, but made 8 to be safe.Each strip is 2 3/4 " wide, but you may wish to do yours narrower, depending on your test piece.(my binding will be 3/8" finished)

I cut, then move the ruler up & continue, being careful that the width stays uniform. I found that cutting 1 at a time like this the best instead of trying multiples.




I trimmed the selvedges off as I went, so I wouldn't distort the fabric while it was on the cutting table.Here I'm sewing the pieces together,(right sides together if using a print, of course).I used 3/8" seam al.


Next, I take it all to the ironing board. I place the seams facing up & press them  open. Then a good spray of starch (I've covered my ironing board cover with a clean cloth).

I fold the stip so that the seams are inside. I'm careful to lift/press, not iron like a shirt. We don't want to stretch the binding in any way.


As you can see, I'm generous with the starch.  


 You can see I've left 6" of binding loose for when I need to join. My quilt has a flat top, but you can start anywhere. My seam allowance is 3/8"for 3/8" binding. You may prefer 1/4"( for 1/4" binding).Sew with the raw edge of the binding even with the edge of the quilted top. 


I arranged my ironingboard to help keep the work from pulling away from me while sewing.

As I sew, I make sure that on all outer curves , keep the binding very relaxed (ie. no pulling).

Then on the inside curves  DO keep the binding quite taut (but not stretching too hard).

These steps are necessary to keep binding from cupping on outer curves, and bunching on inner curves when turned.

Here I've gone all around , and I stopped 5" before the loose end of my binding beginning.I've pinned the starting piece open over the tail of the end. With pencil & ruler I mark the slanted line along that cut edge. Then I leave a 3/4"(2 x 3/8) seam allowance BEYOND that and cut on the same slant. Careful now don't cut on the wrong side of that line!

Now I "scrunch up" the quilt in order to sew the binding end & start together.



Here I  finish the stitching on of the binding where I left off. The binding is now all attached ...yay!



NOW we get to trim off all that excess bat & backing.Cut even with the raw edges of the quilt top & binding.( in my case 3/8").

You can now see it starting to take shape.




Here the quilt is all trimmed up. I've turned it over, and I'm pressing the binding so that the fold JUST covers the stiching line.  No steam is used because your fingers are very close to iron tip. Also note that the iron is on the binding area only,(we don't want to squash the edges of the quilt.) 

I hand sew with only 3 pins, the pressing has done it's job.  Using thread the exact shade of the binding, blindstitch or ladder stitch the binding to the back.







Voila! It's done.






By the way, here's that test piece I did on a spare circle. I'd already played around with it while deciding how to quilt this(this was my discarded machine quilting idea).When I made the binding finish at 1/4 ", I decided it was too narrow to "frame" the edges , so I decided to make the quilt's binding 3/8". (Which makes it slightly deeper on the back).

ALWAYS do a test piece. I have found that, depending on the bat used, you will need to check how wide to cut those bias strips. Always treat the test piece exactly the same  way as the quilt's ,(starch, pressing etc,)Hope this helps you. Happy stitching!  Riana.

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Comment by Pam Parkinson on October 29, 2012 at 2:05pm

I was trying to find your blog about un-uniform blocks and found this instead! This is very helpful. I've printed it out to put in my reference binder. I have a wedding ring quilt top my mother-in-law made. I've been wanting to quilt it but I was intimidated by the binding. Thank you for taking the time to prepare this!

Comment by Sue-Anne Walker on October 4, 2012 at 1:53pm

I put it with my quilt. Someday I may actualy use it lol... I have a grandmothers flower garden quilt I have been putting to gether by hand for years. Its my traveling quilt.

Comment by Susie Constant on October 4, 2012 at 1:12pm

Sue-Anne Walker,

Thank you so much for that info! got it printed out! Don't know why I didn't think of that?! :/ ....

Comment by Sue-Anne Walker on October 4, 2012 at 12:00pm

I printed it out so I could find it when I get to this point on my quilt. It has been a WIP for years...LOL

Comment by Susie Constant on October 4, 2012 at 11:33am
This was what I have been wanting to know how to do for ever! I have a old quilt like this one that is all hand peiced that I have been hand quilting on! Now I know how to finish it! Thanks so much for all this info. I just joined this site and this is my first time ever doing any thing on th PC like this, never been on a blog or a forum, so I hope I can figure this out, lol I'm hoping with liking this I will be able to find it again so I can do this to my quilt when I am done. We will see! Thanks again..

Comment by Sue-Anne Walker on September 26, 2012 at 10:26am

Great tutorial! Thanks! Now may be I will get mine done! lol

Comment by carla j walton on September 25, 2012 at 7:21pm


Comment by Kathy Clark on September 25, 2012 at 11:35am

Thanks for the great tutorial!  I am still in the process of hand quilting the top.  Taking my time to do a good job.  I really am enjoying the hand quilting process.  Can't wait to get it finished so I can bind it.  Will post pictures when it is done.


Houston, Texas

Comment by Shannon Ownby on September 25, 2012 at 11:00am

Awesome!  I have an antique scalloped edge quilt to rebind this week.  I won't have the excess to keep me steady, but these tips are great!

Comment by Karen Lightman on September 25, 2012 at 10:36am

awesome show me how to do a wedding ring quilt..hehe

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