Tutorial: Make an easy scalloped hem
With our scallop inspiration post in mind, we created this tutorial on creating your own scallops. For this project we took the Sorbetto sans pleat and added a fun scalloped hem. You can use this tutorial to add scallops to almost any hem if you like. Highly customizable, you can make the tiniest scallops, deep scallops, you name it, you got it!
- French curve or rounded object like a can
- Straight ruler
- Point turner
- Sorbetto without pleat, or anything with a straight hem
- Marking tool such as tailor’s chalk, fabric marker or fabric pencil
1. Lengthen your pattern’s hem. For this project we used the Sorbetto top and followed this tutorial to remove the center pleat. Once you’ve removed the pleat, you need to extend the hem by taping paper to the pattern. For this hem, I added 1 1/4″.
- Fold the added paper up at hem. Mark along the pattern line.
- Fold back down and cut along the line. You’ll see that the new hem is a light V shape on the side. Do this to the sides of the front and back. Because the side seam is sloped and not straight this will keep the hem from buckling. It will now lie nice and flat on the inside.
- Cut out the fabric and sew the shirt following the directions given. Stop when you reach the hem. Use pinking shears to pink the edge of the hem or serge it as I’ve done here.
- Fold the hem. The hem plus the seam allowance is 1 7/8″ (remember we added 1 1/4″ to the hem, and the existing seam allowance was 5/8″… 1 1/4 + 5/8 = 1 7/8). Fold the fabric this width all the way around the garment, right sides together. You’re folding it to the outside. Lightly press the fold to keep it in place.
Calculate the width of each scallop. Start by measuring the total length of the hem. For this shirt there will be 11 scallops. So divide the total length of the hem by the number of scallops. In this case it is 42″ divided by 11 equals approximately 3 7/8″. Each scallop will be about 3 7/8″ wide.
- Time to make a paper template. Draw a line 3/8 from the edge of the paper. This will be the distance from the top of the hem’s finished edge. Mark along the line every 3 7/8″ (or the width of your scallops).
- Draw a line for the bottom of the scallop. This must be smaller than the hem width (in our case, 1 7/8″). In this case I drew a line 1 3/8″ from the top line.
- Using a French curve or a can, draw your scallops. Cut out the template and put it on the fabric.
- Trace the outline of the scallops onto the hem with marking tool. If the scallops are a little off, go ahead and sketch them to fit. It’s okay if it’s not perfect!
- Stitch on the lines. Shorten the stitch length to around 1.8. This makes it so much easier to sew those curves. Start and end at each point. Lift the presser foot and adjust the fabric at each point. Repeat until all scallops are finished.
- Trim the seam allowance. Trim close to the edge, about 1/8″.
- Carefully snip to the point between each scallop. Get as close to the stitching line as you can without cutting the thread.
- Flip hem to the inside. The scallops should look a bit disheveled like so.
- Push the scallops out. Using the smooth, curved side of your point turner, push along the inside of each scallop. This has to be done a couple of times to really get the scallop in shape. Press each scallop as you go.
- Hand stitch the hem for a clean finish.
Some related posts you might be interested in:
- Detail Inspiration: How to use scallops: Some vintage garments and patterns that use scallops in a variety of lovely ways.
- Sorbetto top pattern: Our free downloadable pattern for the Sorbetto top!
- Tutorial: Make Sorbetto without a pleat: Here is the tutorial that shows you how to modify Sorbetto to eliminate the front pleat.