How To Create A Scalloped Edge

Scalloped hems can look so pretty on a bodice shape. But you can add them to almost any hem or finished edge. You can decide how large or small, shallow or deep you want your scallops to be depending on the look you want to create.

What you’ll need:

  • Pattern paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue or tape
  • French curve or round object like a tin or glass
  • Sharp pencil
  • Point tuner
  • Marking tool like a fabric pen, tailor’s chalk or chalk pen

You will need to make the hem of your top longer or create a facing pattern piece for the hem of your garment.

Adding length to the hem

Draw on the seam allowance at the hem. Attach an extra piece of paper to the hem of your bodice. Make sure it is deeper than you want the scallops to be, we used a 5cm hem which includes the existing seam allowance.

Fold up the hem extension along the hemline and note the shaping at the side seam as it will be angled. Follow the side seam of the bodice on to the hem extension.

Do this for both the front and back bodice pattern pieces and also the sleeve hem.

How to create a scalloped edge

  1. Make up the top

Follow the instructions you have for the top or bodice, but stop before you need to finish the hem.

2. Create the hem

Neaten the hem edge and fold up the hem to the right side of the fabric and lightly press in place.

Calculate the size of each scallop

The size of scallops is really dictated by the number you want to have and the circumference of the hem of the bodice. So measure the whole circumference of the bodice at the hem without seam allowance (measure the garment or pattern pieces).

On our size 14 Celia it is 112cm (without seam allowance) which means that we can fit in 14 scallops each measuring about 8cm. You don’t have to be millimetre perfect as we can adjust things slightly as we go along.

3. Make a card template

Draw a line 1cm from the top edge of the paper. This will be the distance the scallops start from the top edge of the hem. Mark along the line every 8cm – or the width of your scallops.

Draw a line for the bottom of the scallops approx 2.5cm below the line. It must be smaller than the depth of the hem.

Use a French curve or other round shape to draw your scallops, make sure your scallops are shallow so that once sewn the scallops will turn through. Our scallops measure 8cm wide by 2.5cm deep. Cut out the paper template.

4. Place the template onto your fabric

Keep it level with or just below the top edge of the hem. Draw around the template to create the shape of the scallops on your fabric. If the scallops go a little off you can just draw them in freehand so they fit. It’s fine for them not to be perfect.

5. Sew the scalloped lines

Shortening your stitch will help to get smoother curves, we used around a 2.2. Start and stop at a point and remember to drop the needle down into the fabric, lift the presser foot and pivot at each corner. Please do take your time with this there is no rush! Sew all the way around the scalloped line.

We sewed a second row of stitching 3 or 4mm away from the first to help prevent the fabric fraying.

6. Carefully trim around the scallops

Stay close to the stitching line, literally 3mm. If you have sewed a second row of stitching cut as close as you can to this line. You won’t have to clip the curves this way but you will need to snip into the points between scallops, be careful not to cut through the stitches.

7. Flip the hem back to the wrong side

Push through each scallop and roll the fabric between your fingers at the stitching line to help push the scallop out and for it to sit correctly at the bottom hem (damp fingers work even better!) Or use a point turner a bit like a windscreen wiper to smooth out the curves (be careful of your fabric) . Press each scallop as you go.

You can machine stitch the hem in place to give the scallop a sort of border or hand sew for a completely clean finish.
We’ve done exactly the same for the sleeve hem.

A scalloped hem is easy to achieve once you have planned it out properly. I really like the way it can make a garment more feminine without looking too girly.
It’s also another way you can hack a pattern to make more from the patterns you have.