Scalloped Edge – 10 types you can make & use easily

Learn to make scalloped edges easily by hand stitching as well as with your sewing machine for your clothes, accessories and linen

With a scalloped edge, you do not need to add any other embellishment to your fabric. They work as beautiful decorations for garments, accessories and home linen. They add a certain feminine charm to the fabric.

Scallops are great when sewing for kids. Even on adults’ clothes, they have a place on pocket edges, hems, necklines, etc. They can be used on quilts, napkins, aprons, placements, etc., with beautiful effects.

Scalloped edge  – what is it? 

Scallop refers to arch-shaped / dome-shaped stitching usually done along a fabric edge. It is generally drawn and stitched as half a circle or a little smaller, with the dome facing outside the fabric.  

How to determine the number of scallops you need to add to an edge

You decide you want 10 scallops on your tablecloth edge and you decide to add them. But then you invariably end up with a 1/2 scallop at the end. It is annoying. How to avoid this? simple – Measure!

Decide on the depth of the scallop and length of each scallop.

how to calculate the length and depth of the scallops according to the edge of the fabric

If you have a skirt hem edge where you want to add the scallops, measure the total edge of the skirt hem. You would have decided what length you want for each of the scallops. Say the edge of the hem is 36, and you want each scallop to be of 3-inch length; then you need to mark 12 scallops on the skirt edge. Simple maths.

Edge round divided by the length of a single scallop gives you the number of scallops.

But what if you divide the number and you do not get a round figure ( you get a fraction). In this scenario adjust the length of the single scallop till you get a round figure. I will explain how. 

Like if you have a 38-inch edge and you have decided to have a 3-inch long scallop. 38 divided by 3 will give you 12.6 – but you cannot have 12 and .6 scallops. You need to change this to a round figure. so change the 12.6 to a round figure. I change it to 12. So now divide the 38 by 12. you get 3.16 inches which are to be the length of each scallop.

Making templates for the scallops

The advantage of making a template for the scallops is that you do not have to measure and mark again and again. Simply mark the measurements of the scallop on a piece of paper.

If you plan to make more of these scallops, you can cut this out from a thin cardboard sheet. You can make the template for 2 scallops and then use this to mark any number of scallops on edge.

Different methods to make the scalloped edge

  1. Faced scalloped edge

faced scalloped edges

This is my preferred way of adding a scalloped edge to the fabric.

You need to make a facing for the fabric edge to sew this scalloped edge. The depth of the facing should be equal to the depth of the scallop needed plus 1″ extra. Another easy way is to add this much extra to the edge at the cutting stage itself and fold this fabric and use it as a facing.

mark the depth and length of the scallops

Mark the scallops on the back side of the facing fabric. You should also turn under the edges of the facing piece and stitch – serged finish or a zig zag finish  works as well.

mark symmetrical scallops

Keep the facing piece right side down on the main garment right side up. Stitch along the marked scallops.

sew facing to the scalloped edge for fabric

When you reach the inner tips of the scallops, do not remove the needle from the cloth to pivot the fabric for stitching the next scallop. When you reach the v-tip, keep the needle down, pressure foot up, pivot carefully, and continue stitching.

after sewing , trim the extra and clip the corners of the seam allowance

When you have stitched all the scallops like this, trim the seam allowance very close to the stitching ( 1/8″). Clip the seam allowance to the stitching line at the v-tip. This clipping is essential to avoid puckering of fabric there.

Press with an iron to set the stitches.

Turn the scallops right side out. Press again. 

Hand Stitch the top of the facing to the fabric with pick stitches with matching thread. Check out the tutorial for pick stitch here. You can us pick stitches along the scallop edges as well so that they do not roll. 

You can create variations of this scalloped edge by adding piping, or stitching other trims along the seam.

  2. Hand stitched scalloped edge with satin stitch or  buttonhole stitch

satin stitched scalloped edge

You will need a medium-weight fabric for making these scallops ( do not use thin lightweight fabric).

Mark the scallops wide at the center and thin at the ends. Hoop the fabric. 

mark the scallops on the fabric

Outline stitch the scallop with back stitch or overcast stitch.

make back stitches as outline along the marked lines

The inside portion is then filled with chain stitches.

fill the inside of the scallops with back stitches

Then satin stitch or close blanket stitch is used to cover the scallops.

make satin stitches over the back stitch filled scallops

The outline stitches should be fully covered with the blanket stitch or the satin stitch. The advantage of the blanket stitch is that you get a lip at the edge of the scallop.

Make even and regular stitches. Do not use too many strands of thread on the needle. You need very fine stitching at both ends of the scallops.

  3. Machine stitched scalloped edge

To easily make a scalloped edge with your sewing machine, you need a sewing machine with the feature “Decorative Scallop Stitch”.

machine stitched scalloped edge

But do not worry if you do not have this stitch.

If you do not have that need not stop you from making scallops with the machine.

You will have to stitch carefully and adjust the stitch length as you sew.

Place a tear-away stabilizer under the fabric edge. You need some stability and structure for the edge to work.

Start the stitch along the edge some 1/4  or 1/2 inch inside the edge.

Use  very sharp scissors to trim the edges of the scallops you have made.

You will need to apply some fray check or some fabric glue along the edges to make sure that the edge doesn’t fray more.

  3. Scalloped edge – rolled edge

scalloped edges made with simple rolled hem stitch

For making very simple and easy scalloped edges, especially on mesh fabrics on which the faced scallops or embroidery do not work – you can simply mark the scallops, cut out the scallops and do a rolled edge on the edge. Check out the tutorial to make  rolled edge properly with the hemmer foot.

  4. Scalloped edges with trims

scalloped lace trims

Laces are available which has scalloped edges; this can be added to your fabric edges for an easy scalloped edge.

Another way is to stitch a straight-edged lace trim in such a way that it has the look of scallops. You just have to manipulate the lace trim and baste the trim high and low. Then finally, stitch to the edge.

how to sew a chemise - lace trims with scalloped edges

Ric-rac is a rim which can give a scalloped edge look to the fabric, as it is.

scalloped edge with trims

You can learn how to sew trims to your fabric edges here.

  5. Crochet scalloped edges

scalloped edges with crotchet

If you know how to crochet you can easily add scallops to your fabric edges.

  6. Shell edge stitch

You can make a shell edge stitch ( by hand or by machine) along the fabric edge. This stitch makes very small scallops just right for necklines etc. For more details, check out the post on shell edge stitch.

shell edge stitch

With a sewing machine, use the stitch as below and stitch so that the outer edge of the stitch falls just off the edge – this will create a scalloped effect on the edges.

the stitch to be used with shell stitch

7. Bias tube scallops

This is made by cutting thin fabric tubes and arranging them in the shape of scallops along the fabric edge. You will have to hand baste each scallop before final stitching, that too at uniform intervals.This makes a very cute scalloped edge on kids’ dresses. Check out the post on making very thin fabric tubes here.

8. Beaded scalloped edge

Seed Beads and bugle beads can be used to make very beautiful scalloped edges. They can be arranged vertically or horizontally along the scallops. Check out the Bead Embroidery Basics – 12 stitches you can use.

scalloped edges

9. Use fabric with scalloped trim

scalloped edge fabric

If you have a synthetic fabric which would not fray when cut the edges can be can in the shape of scallops like this.

10. Hand embroidered scalloped edges 

hand embroidered scallops with thread loops

Make simple loops on the edge of the fabric or add cast on stitches to these. loops to further embellish the scalloped edges You can learn more about this in the post on making decorative edge stitches.

decorative edges made with embroidery stitches

Make simple loops on the edge of the fabric or add cast-on stitches to these. loops to further embellish the scalloped edges. You can learn more about this in the post on making decorative edge stitches.

Why go through all this trouble of making scalloped edges when you get fabric with ready-made scallops? Different types of Lace fabrics with scalloped edges, like Chantilly lace, are exquisitely beautiful. 

Lace is expensive, but I would use this in a beat if I can afford it – I have the perfect lazy man’s solution for my love of scalloped edges.

Related posts : How to make fringes; How to make tassels.

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Author: Sarina Tariq

Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.

13 thoughts on “Scalloped Edge – 10 types you can make & use easily”

  1. I wanted to ask about number 2.
    How do you cut the fabric after you have embroidered, without leaving too much of it and without damaging the embroidery ?

  2. Hello – I am a novice sewer and I need information on how to hem scalloped edges. Meaning the fabric has already been cut out in a scallop formation and now I need to hem those raw scalloped edges. Any information regarding this is very much appreciated.

  3. I am looking for information about sewing a small scallop or shell-shaped satin stitch with an older Husqvarna Viking Rose sewing machine.

  4. Thank you so much for the info on how to make the satin stitched scalloped design… I used to watch my Grandmother stitch this design on pillowcases… and have some of her beautiful work she did… Now I want to ” teach myself” how to make these beautiful scallops … then teach my Grandaughter how to stitch them too. Thank you so much.. you have brought back to me some wonderful memories of my Grandmother & all her talents!

  5. I just found your website and find it very informative with very easy to understand instructions and photos. I will be coming back frequently. Thank you for sharing your talent. I am also a member of the American Sewing Guild.

  6. I have just discovered SEWGUIDE and look forward to using and learning. I have taught sewing and am a member of ASG (American Sewing Guild–strongly recommend). Thank you for this clearly detailed informative ‘lesson’.

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