Scalloped edges are soft, easy on the eye, way to finish off hems, edge a sleeve, or trim a skirt or blouse. Scalloped edges can make a difference to soft furnishings and anything needing a special finishing touch. They are a beautiful fabric replica of the sea creatures whose shells have soft scalloped edges.
How to Sew Scalloped Edges
Scalloped edges refer to waved designs that can be placed on the edge or hems of items. The design can be semi-circular or slightly angular.
Preparation is all-important to scallops so go through the steps carefully and plan the project to get the best scalloped edges.
Step 1 - Tools
The most important tool in your box is the item used to design the scallops. Anything round can be used to draw the scallops. It is fine to use a bowl, mug, tin lid, or cut cardboard circles. The size of the scallop will depend on the number of scallops you need to finish the edge you are decorating and your personal preference.
A scallop is a portion of a circle, sometimes half the circle and sometimes less. Shallow scallops are easier to sew than full ones.
Play around with shapes and sizes and remember the number of scallops must fit into the circumference of the hem. If the hem is 40” for example, then 4” scallops will fit in nicely and exactly around the finished edge.
I have a downloadable template for 1,2,3 and 4-inch scallops or you can use anything round to draw around. Look for cups, saucers. lids or tins.
Click here >>>>>>DOWNLOAD TEMPLATE <<<<<<Click here
Step 2 - Marking
Mark the wrong side of the fabric with the original hemline and factor in the finished length of the garment. Mark on the garment or on the facing piece to be made into the scalloped edge.
Take your circle, jar lid, template or whatever ‘tool’ you are using for the scallops and mark the circle with tape or pen on the edges that will be the start and end of the scallop.
Start the first scallop at the center point of the hem and place the center of the scallop on that place.
Work your way around the edge to the center back and then start again at the center front and work your way to the center back. The scallops should match up evenly around the front and back.
Step 3 - Sewing
Place your fabric and the scallop facing right sides together.
Stitch along the edge of the scallops and pivot at each corner as you go. A shorter stitch length ( I used 2.0 stitch length for my samples) and tighter pivot are best giving more control and better turning points.
I have a full article on sewing curves but to summarize -
- Use small stitch lengths.
- For gentle curves try to sew in one motion without stopping.
- For tight curves stop and release the fabric from under the presser foot frequently.
Step 4 - Trimming
Trim fabric away from the edges of the scallop and snip into the curves and the pivot point.
Cut a triangular wedge in the curves to make turning smoother. For more details on clipping curves read clipping sewing.
If you have a pair of pinking shears then this can make short work of this task. Cut around the scallops around ¼ inch (6mm) from the seam.
Step 5 - Pressing
Turn the fabric right sides out and check the edges for a smooth turn.
Press and aim for a smooth edge. If further trimming is required, then turn back to the stitching and clip the edge again to achieve a smooth turned edge.
Neaten the top of the scalloped facing and stitch the edge to the garment to secure the facing and prevent it from gaping. Press again if necessary.
Scalloped Edges with Lace
A quick and easy way to create a scalloped edge is to add lace. Broderie Anglais typically has a scalloped edge and is easy to sew to the bottom of hems.
Scalloped Edges - In Conclusion
The curves should be round and smooth, and your scalloped edge will look as beautiful as the shells in the sea.
- GENERAL HEMS – How to Sew a Hem (This is the best article to read if you are not sure what kind of hem you need. It gives a rundown of all the most common types)
- NARROW HEMS – How to Sew a Narrow Hem
- ROLLED HEM FOOT – How to Use a Rolled Hem Foot
- WIDE HEMS – How to sew wide hems
- CIRCULAR HEMS – How to sew circular hems
- BLIND HEMS – How to sew a blind hem | blind hem foot
- RUFFLED HEMS – Lettuce Hems for stretch fabric
- KNIT FABRIC HEMS – How to hem knit fabric, catch stitch
- KNIT HEMS – Twin Needle
- SQUARE HEMS – How to Sew Mitered Corners
- HAND HEMS – Hemming Stitch
- WOVEN HEMS – Double Fold Hem
- SQUARE HEMS – How to Sew Mitered Corners
- NO-SEW HEMS – How to Use Hemming Tape