Serpentine edge quilts....easy with Leaves Galore!

Dear Sue, I am interested in trying the ruler on the outside borders of a quilt for a scalloped look, or should I say a more serpentine edge...have you tried using the rulers for a serpentine edges? Any helpful hints would be great...

8" serpentine edge

Dear Linda, I have used the 8" curve for a serpentine edge and it came out beautifully! Above is a photo of the finished quilt. Isn't it smashing!! Not only did I use the 8" curve for the serpentine edge, but I mirrored this curve as my vine for the vine and leaf border. So here is how I did it.... I made a pattern out of cheap fabric (I used 99c muslin fabric from Joann's).   You could also use exam roll paper, or other roll paper, but I like using fabric! I cut out the width of each border of the quilt (just two, not all four). Don't worry about the length, as long as it is longer than the quilt. Most of the time the borders are different sizes and you need to figure each one individually. I lay the fabric over the actual borders, folding ONE end of the border on a 45 degree angle to miter the corner. Once I have ONE end of each border mitered, I can remove the fabric from the quilt to work on the curves. Doing this on fabric allows you to visualize what the quilt edge will look like, without any math! Now measure the quilt to find the center. Measure away from the miter on the faux border to mark the center point. This center mark will help you to adjust the curves. I like to end my borders with a graceful, large round curve. This is the easiest type of corner to bind. You can accomplish this using any of the large curves, 5", 6" or 8" on the three templates! I'm sure you mathematicians could figure this out for each size border and each size curve, but hands on work for me! I have always just done it by eye. Starting at the mitered end of each border, Mark a curve so that the end of the curve ends on the miter line.

Faux border cut with the 8" curve

Does this give the corner that you want? If not, you can move the template away from the miter as much as you want, then connect the lines with another curve segment. This gives an even more rounded corner. Now stack the two faux borders together matching up the miter, and cut through both borders with the curved template. Keep moving the template along the border to make an 8" ( 6" or 5") serpentine edge. Lay the faux borders over the actual quilt to see how the other end works. How much are you off to make your second end look exactly like your first mitered ends? How do you end so that the corners look exactly the same? This depends on the length of your border. Some are easy, some are not. You may be slightly off or really off! You have to judge whether you need more or fewer curves to get them to end symmetrically. Either take pleats in the fabric to reduce the size of some of the curves, or cut through some of the curves and increase the length of the curves. Whichever you need to do, do it evenly across the border. For example, if you need to reduce the curves by 4" overall, and you have 8, 8" curves making up your border, you can take a 1/4" pleat out of the center of each 8" curve. If you need to expand by the same 4", you can cut the center of each curve and separate them by 1/2". Adjust the faux borders as needed to fit the quilt exactly. You will never notice this in the final cut if you adjust them a little here and a little there. Now you can mark your quilt. Use a chalk wheel with iron erase chalk inside (or another marking tool for a white border). Trace the adjusted curves on the quilt top. Mark all four borders. I stitched around this line with a stay stitching, then put my binding on without cutting the edges first. This gives the quilt stability, and reduces stretching. Your binding needs to be cut on the true bias to go around these curves smoothly. Your binding will lay nice and flat. After putting on your binding, cut the excess border fabric with your template. You can still cut these borders with the template, even though you have adjusted some of the curves. Lay your quilt over your cutting mat ( it is great if you have a mat the size of your table!) Lay the template over the marked border. Cut each curve slowly and adjust the template as needed to follow your marked line. Remember, your marked line is correct, not your template, so you will have to constantly shift your template during cutting. You could also cut with scissors, but I am much more accurate and cut a much smoother curve with the template in hand. In the brown quilt photos, you will notice that I used a piping along the binding edge. This is made using Susan Cleveland's PIPING HOT BINDING tool and method. I LOVE THIS METHOD!! The piping gives the quilt a really tailored, custom look. I hope this tutorial helps you make beautiful serpentine edges with your Leaves Galore Templates!! Please post pictures on my website when you are done, I would love to see your quilts! Thanks, Sue


thanks so much Sue for the quick reponse...And all the helpful hints..I know I will love these rulers and all the possibilities. We should have lots of fun..Did I mention that I am a ruler fanatic!Any ruler that makes the job much easier is worth having...I love it
By Lesley Pearcy (not verified) on
Is there a pattern for this quilt? It is beautiful!!!
Susan E. Pelland's picture
The pattern for this quilt is the Melissa's Quilt Pattern available on my website. This border variation is not in the pattern, but it is simply made with the 8" (grande) template for the vine and the serpentine edge, and the 2.5" leaf from the petite template.

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