Nellie"s Needles

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Scalloped Piping

Leona's scalloped binding insert at the outside edge of her quilt, "Serengeti at Twilight", has gotten a lot of attention.  She sent a detail photo and a statement to share with you.

Dear Nellie, 
I've attached a photo of the binding for you, since you mentioned it.  As I was taking questions at the show, people asked about it and thought it was rick-rack; they weren't sure if they believed me that I had made it myself.   I learned the technique from a Ricky Tims CD. 

 I surfed the web to find more specific info about Ricky Tim's process and found an interview he gave Barbara Beck for The Alliance for American Quilts in the year 2000 at International Quilt Festival.

This is a scalloped binding and it looks like the scallop is a fold that's put on the quilt and then the binding is put on.   In actuality the scallop is put onto the binding and the binding is put onto the quilt and I quilt in the ditch between the scallop and the binding. There's a line of stitching you can barely see running right along the edge of that quilt so there's not a single hand stitch anywhere on this.

I did a bit of experimenting with the help of Leona's and Ricky's information and recognized this scallop as a technique that I've previously used in heirloom sewing ... both by hand and by machine.  The "blind hem stitch" on the sewing machine does the trick.  It's a matter of playing around to find the right thread, stitch width, and tension to achieve a good scallop for the fabric used.  I located the stitch information for a scallop on a doll's dress I had made of batiste.  The tension on the machine was set at 8.5 ... it would need to be higher for a heavier fabric.  Of course, that scallop could be stitched by hand on a narrow binding already inserted into a quilt.  I cannot imagine how long it would take, but it's the kind of thing Linda Roy wouldn't think twice about doing ... if she hasn't already.

PS:  Here's a bit more information in response to the questions in the comment section.

The scallops are made on the binding by machine sewing the blind-hem stitch on the folded edge.  Then the binding is attached to the  desired place on the quilt by sewing over the row of machine machine stitching on the binding.  A regular binding for the raw outside edge would then be added.  At least that is how I would do it.  I don't know if that's the procedure followed by Ricky Tim.

And yes, Kay, that is the same machine stitch used to make a lettuce edging on knits.  The trick is to get the tension for that one stitch that swings out over the edge of the fold tight enough to draw the fold into the stitching line.

If this scalloped piping were being done by hand the procedure is quite different.  It would be done after a plain fold piping is already sewn into the quilt.  Click here to go to a link to show how that would be done.

Leona posted a tutorial here on how she made the scallops and applied  them to the binding of the quilt.


Joyce said...

That is a very interesting binding treatment. Anything that is all machine interests me.

Kay said...

Not sure I get this entirely, but it seems to be something like the lettuce edge that is used for hemming knits. What I don't get is how it's put on the quilt. Don't bother explaining...I'd never do it anyway :)

Heather said...

What a generous lot you quilters are to share your special techniques with us all. That binding gives a really interesting finish to a quilt. I'd never get it as neat as that!

Plays with Needles said...

I'm not sure I get it the "scallop" straight until the blind hem stitch makes all the tucks that turn it into a scallop??

Plays with Needles said...

P.S. The binding of that quilt is awesome...I love the movement of it..

Barbara Strobel Lardon said...

Details like these are what make these quilts winners!

I am confused too but that in nothing new! :)

Mermaid's Purse said...

It's a beautiful embellishment - hope I remember this post when I've a little time to play around!

arlee said...