How to sew clamshell quilts with animal details

Stop everything! We've found your next patchwork project and it is a LOT of fun! Paper piecing scallops is our new favourite thing to do and we think you should join us for some super soothing fun with paper piecing and appliqué.

bulldog scallop patchwork quilt design

We’ve made you this tutorial for how to sew and baste scalloped shapes to make a marvellous mini quilt.

We’ve made a bulldog mini with our shapes but grab a copy of issue 53 to find the designs for adjusting this to make a menagarie of bears, lions, owls, racoons or bunnies too!

We've made a bulldog mini with our shapes but grab a copy of issue 53 to find the designs for adjusting this to make a menagarie of bears, lions, owls, racoons or bunnies too!

Download our Free animal quilt templates  to convert this quilt pattern into a cockatoo or frog quilt!

Part 1: How to sew appliqué scalloped animals

You will need:

  • Fabric scraps
  • Scallop paper pieces (or download our free clamshell template here)
  • Thread and basic sewing kit
  • Animal appliqué templates (find these in our Easy Curves book in issue 53)

How to cover and baste the scallop templates

Step 1

Take a paper scallop shape template and trim a piece of fabric to 14in larger than than the template around every edge.

Step 2

Attach the paper template to the centre of a small piece of fabric and pin to hold in place. You can also use a binding clip for this too.

Step 3

With a knotted length of thread in your needle, take a large running stitch along the top curve within the seam allowance (Fig 1). Draw up the thread to gather the fabric around the top of the template (Fig 2).

mini scalloped animals quilt figure 1 and 2

Step 4

Backstitch within the seam allowance to secure the thread, and knot off.

Step 5

Press the curve well with a hot iron. Leave to cool slightly, then remove the paper before pressing the curve again.

Making the animal appliqué features

Step 1

Now it’s time to have fun making the applique animal features. Trace the animal shape templates onto the paper side of fusible webbing and cut out. Fuse the shapes to the wrong side of your fabric, following the manufacturer’s instructions, then cut out each shape neatly on the marked lines.

TIP: when cutting the appliqué features and ears, mark half of the pieces required and then turn your template over to mark out the remaining half – so that the pieces are cut as mirror images of each other.

Step 2

To make the ears, prepare the fabric shapes as above, then place two pieces right sides together (note if you’re making the Owl design from issue 53, you fold each ear, instead of cutting multiples). Sew along the top of the ear – leaving the bottom open for turning. Clip V-shaped notches in the seam allowance at regular intervals, taking care to avoid cutting the stitching. Turn right side out and press. Repeat for the other ear.

Step 3

Now remove the backing paper from your animal’s features and position the features onto one basted fabric scallop, referring to the animal pictures in our Sewing Curves book as a placement guide. Now fuse them in place and repeat for any remaining features.

Step 4

Use embroidery thread to add details such as eyes and mouths to your animals.

Attaching the ears

Step 1

Arrange all of your scallops onto a background fabric, taking care to cover raw seam allowances with the basted curved pieces. Pin all of the scallops in place.

Step 2

To add the ears, tuck the raw fabric edges of the prepared shapes behind the scallop face using a seam allowance of 38in. Adjust the position as desired and pin into place.

Step 3

Appliqué the scallops in place, by hand or machine, stitching around the upper curve of each scallop. Once all of the scallops have been sewn in place, sew around each of the facial features to fully secure them.


bulldog scallop patchwork quilt design

Part 2: How to sew a bulldog mini quilt

You will need:

  • Background fabric 1012in x 14in
  • Fabric to cover twenty-one (21) scallops + scraps for bulldog features
  • Fusible web for applique features
  • Embroidery thread for eyes
  • Batting 12in x 16in
  • Backing fabric 12in x 16in
  • Binding 21/2in x 70in
  • Twenty-one (21) 312in scallop templates

Finished size

10in x 14in approx

Part 2: How to make a mini scalloped EPP animals quilt

Step one

Follow steps 1–5 above to cover eighteen 312in scallops with print fabrics.

Step two

Make three Bulldog scallops, following steps 1–9 above.

Step three

Arrange your scallops over the background fabric, leaving approximately 3in at the top, and referring to the photo. Follow steps 10–12 to complete the quilt top.

Step four

Make a quilt sandwich with your batting and backing fabric. Quilt as desired. Trim away any excess batting and backing and bind the edges to complete.

panda scalloped quilt

Oh hello pandas!

You can also this technique to make Jo Avery’s Panda Pop mini quilt from issue 41. To give it a go, Love Patchwork and Quilting templates issue 41, which include clamshell and panda shapes.