Vintage-dresses-elegant_large

Scalloped hems, necklines, front edges and peplums abound in vintage clothing and making them is a cinch! Though scallops peaked in popularity in the 20s and again in the 50s, you can find them throughout fashion and design history. Want scallops on your next project? Of course you do! Here’s how to do it.

First, choose your fabric wisely. Firmly woven fabrics – think cotton, linen, wool crepe, silk shantung and silk duponi – are your friend here. Loosely woven fabrics won’t support that firm, crisp apex you’re shooting for.

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To plan out your scallops, I recommended starting by first drawing them freehand onto a muslin of your project. In a pinch, you could draw them straight onto a copy of your pattern but I like to see the whole garment in perspective to get a feel for the depth, size and number of scallops I want. Once you have a pretty good rough outline of how many scallops you want, measure along the edge in question and divide the total length by the number of scallops you’ve planned. This should give you the exact distance between scallop apexes. Mark out that distance and use an appropriately sized curved object (a teacup, a jar, a lid) to trace out the curve between marks. Great – now you have a pattern!

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To finish your scallops, you are going to want to plan a partial facing for your edge using the same pattern you planned in the previous step – just make sure the facing rises at least an inch above the apexes of the scallops. Finish the non-scallop edge of your facing with a zig-zag stitch or any other finishing method appropriate to your project.

With right sides facing, sew your scalloped edge to your facing, pivoting around your needle at the apexes. Use short stitches. Clip all along the curve and into the apex just a few threads away from the stitching line. Turn right side out, press with a hot iron and voila – you have a perfectly scalloped edge!

45 Comments

  • Skull_large

    Feb 15, 2011, 07.07 PMby leonx

    i loooooooove those dresses and scallop hems is soo me!

  • Scarlet_large

    Jan 3, 2011, 06.49 PMby scarletohara

    those dresses are incredible beautiful!!! the third dress took my breath away is fary tale dreamy!!! :D

  • Mzl_ljixuoxi_320x480-75_large

    Jan 3, 2011, 02.28 PMby FabricUiPhoneApp

    For those you in Chicago today…swing by Vogue Fabrics in Evanston this afternoon or tonight…for a sewing demo on …..yes, scallops! Completely FREE and not by Fabric U and Yarn U app-writer me but ace seamstress Mac Berg.

    1 Reply
    • 35323_1550195117626_1317563306_1450393_3860676_n_large

      Jan 3, 2011, 03.53 PMby eringilday

      This is all kinds of awesome, thanks for posting this!!

  • Missing

    Jan 3, 2011, 01.17 AMby CarolK4

    I remember making a sleek dress in the late 60s with scallops around the hem and around the neckline. I think it was princess style.

    1 Reply
    • 35323_1550195117626_1317563306_1450393_3860676_n_large

      Jan 3, 2011, 03.53 PMby eringilday

      Ooo that sounds sexy! Do you still have it?

  • Mlonghs_large

    Jan 1, 2011, 02.17 AMby mlssfshn

    I love scallops and they’ve been trying to make their way back into fashion since 2006. I’m glad they finally made it,they are such a nice touch.

    1 Reply
    • 35323_1550195117626_1317563306_1450393_3860676_n_large

      Jan 1, 2011, 03.01 AMby eringilday

      Me too! Thanks for reading!!

  • Missing

    Dec 31, 2010, 06.42 PMby Lindsay Schoures

    hello, do you have a pattern for sale for the vintage and oh so beautiful dress at the very top in the middle? I would love to have the idea for a wedding dress! thanks,

    2 Replies
    • Mlonghs_large

      Jan 1, 2011, 02.19 AMby mlssfshn

      you would need to find a lace with a scalloped edge and buy yardage accordingly. Be ready to pay at least $50 per yard and usually both selvages have the edge.

    • 35323_1550195117626_1317563306_1450393_3860676_n_large

      Jan 1, 2011, 03.00 AMby eringilday

      Sorry Lindsay, no pattern for that one! I imagine you could alter a pre-existing basic dress pattern into that one fairly easily – adding the tiers doesn’t seem too complicated to my eye.

      Ditto on what missfshn said – you would need the scalloped edged lace for it. Expensive. But, hey…that’s wedding dresses for ya! Good luck!

  • Silver_strand_feb_2005_large

    Dec 31, 2010, 10.09 AMby neama

    Adorable, and so adaptable!

  • Me_pecks_large

    Dec 31, 2010, 12.11 AMby nessys

    How gorgeous is that wedding photo from the 20s? So sweet!

  • 10th_aug_on_holiday_large

    Dec 30, 2010, 08.43 PMby katensew

    I have just made a 50’s style dress where I used the scalloped edge of the lace for the hem line, soon I hope to make a bolero jacket – again using the scalloped fabric for effect.

    1 Reply
    • 35323_1550195117626_1317563306_1450393_3860676_n_large

      Dec 30, 2010, 11.31 PMby eringilday

      Scalloped edged lace that’s ready to go is awesome. I can totally see that in a cute little bolero jacket. Exciting!

  • Dsc_0895icelowres_-_copy_large

    Dec 30, 2010, 08.21 PMby melonhead

    I’ve been wanting to make these scalloped shorts for the longest time, but I wasn’t exactly sure the correct way to do them. But now I know! :D Thanks!

    1 Reply
    • 35323_1550195117626_1317563306_1450393_3860676_n_large

      Dec 30, 2010, 11.30 PMby eringilday

      Scalloped shorts! Gasp! I have to see what they look like when you’re done.

  • Naburdaprofil_large

    Dec 30, 2010, 07.12 PMby janul

    I love the wedding photo! And the hats… but I´ve tried on a similar hat in a shop and I looked horrible :)

    1 Reply
    • 35323_1550195117626_1317563306_1450393_3860676_n_large

      Dec 30, 2010, 11.29 PMby eringilday

      LOL, they’re definitely not for everyone.

  • Dsci0410_large

    Dec 30, 2010, 06.37 PMby momsgotanewhobby

    Can you share any info on the top center dress (ivory lace formal) and the bottom right dress with black scallop neckline? They are both beautiful. Thanks for the info on scallops!

    1 Reply
    • 35323_1550195117626_1317563306_1450393_3860676_n_large

      Dec 30, 2010, 11.31 PMby eringilday

      Good question! I’m going to dig into my notes to see if I can find the answer for you. =)

  • Minoru-jacket3_large

    Dec 30, 2010, 12.48 PMby suzeb

    Great timing. I was just thinking of making a scalloped skirt for my daughter. Scallops are so sweet on little girls

    1 Reply
    • This is a question
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