How to Add Scallops to a Hem

Created By:

Lillia Whittington

Skill Level: Advanced

Hey there and welcome back! I’m Lillia, and today I am going to share how you can add this summer’s hottest trend to any hemline! It’s such an easy afternoon upcycle project. Plus, it adds the perfect pop of something special to any hem! Scallops may seem scary, but today’s post is going to share how to’s so you can add your own scallop finish to any hem!

Fabric and Notions Required

●      1-2 Fat Quarters

●      Flexible Measuring Tape

●      Clear Ruler

●      Paper Scissors

●      Fabric Scissors

●      Pen and Printer Paper

●      Pins

●      Iron

And finally, whatever you are adding your scallop hem to! If you are making pants into shorts, go ahead and cut the pants before you add the hem!


Sewing Level: Advanced

Sewing Time: 3-5 hours

Machines Used: Janome Skyline S9



Design your scallops

To make your scallops, you will need to do a bit of math to find out how many scallops you’ll need based on the circumference of your hemline! To start, you’ll measure the hemline of your project, then add 1 in (2.5 cm) to that measurement. Your equation will look like below:


Length of Hem Opening + Seam Allowance (Doubled) = Total length of Scallop Pattern


Now to find the number of scallops you want, you’ll divide the original leg length by the width of your desired scallops. For example, my hemline was 28in (71.1 cm), and I wanted 2 in (5 cm) wide scallops. So, after plugging my scallop width into my equation, I knew I needed 14 scallops. Your equation will look like this:


Length of Hem Opening / Width of Scallops = Number of Scallops Needed


The next bit of the equation is the depth and curve extension of your scallops. To find the depth, you’ll need to know the radius of your scallop. This is easy to find! Just divide your width in half, and boom! Done! Go over and down this number, and that will be the bottom of your scallop. Draw a straight line from point to point to point to create a small triangle. Find the center of the lines you just drew, and extend ¼ in out from the line and mark. This is your curve extension. Gently curve a line from the top point, through the dot with the curve extension, and to the bottom. Repeat for 4-5 scallops to make a small row. Add ½” in (1.25 cm) seam allowance to one side, then add ¼” in (.6 cm) to the edge of the scallops. Be sure to snip ¼” in in between the scallops at the seam allowance for the perfect curve!

Fold your printer paper in half to make the two ends of your scallop piece. Determine the remaining number of scallops needed and trace your pattern, minus the 1/2 “ seam allowance on the side, on a second sheet of paper. Tape your patterns together, and you’ve got scallops!


Prepping your fat quarter

Snip and rip both edges of your fat quarter to find the straight grain of your fabric. Fold your fat quarter in half, and cut so you now have two strips of fabric. Sew with right sides together along the short edge of your fabric strips at 1/2 “ in seam allowance, then zig zag stitch down the center of the seam to prevent fraying. Press the seam to one side and get ready to cut your scallops!


Cutting and prepping your scallops

Now that you have one long strip, place the scallop pattern on the top raw edge of the fabric. This will ensure a perfectly straight and on grain scallop, which helps achieve the perfect circle! Pin the scallops to the fabric and cut the scallops out, one for each hem you are sewing. (Pants = two, skirts = 1)

Fold the top edge of the scallop over and press at ¼” in to finish off this edge. Set your machine to a smaller zig zag stitch, and stitch across the top edge to secure the edge and prevent fraying. Sew a jog seam starting at ½” in seam allowance that will extend into your ¼ in seam

allowance by ¼ in. See example below. Press the seam open.


Add the scallops to the hem

Now you’ll place the right sides together on your hemline and your scallops, with the scallops touching the hemline. Pin the scallop seam at the inseam to hide the seam.

Start sewing from the inseam, and stitch the scallops at a ¼” in seam allowance. You’ll want to go slow to ensure a clean curve! To help get the curve, gently push the fabric towards the left, and pull from the back to the right. Do not pull hard, as this can break the needle. When you get to the top of the scallop, about ⅛” in over the slit you cut between each scallop, stop with the needle down, and pivot your garment to go down the next scallop. Remove pins along the way. Repeat on the other side for pants.


Finishing the scallops

After you’ve completed both sides of the hem, trim your fabric to the shape of the scallop hemline. I find trimming after helps prevent the scallops from slipping and potentially missing sewing the edge. Once this is trimmed, trim the seam allowance down to ⅛” in on the scallops. Gently clip the curves to release tension on the curves, so they form a smooth finish.

Once trimmed and clipped, turn the scallops towards the inside, putting the wrong sides together of the scallops and pants. Gently push out the scallops so the new hemline starts to form along the edge. Head to your iron and press the scallops with steam, if fabric allows, for the final finish. If any curves need to be released more, use your snips to snip the seam allowance to just before the stitch to release the tension.

Viola! Thats it! The hardest part of conquering scallops is the math. Have questions on how to make your perfect scallop? Feel free to reach out to me over on Tik Tok or Instagram on @just.lilliaa! Enjoy your new upcycled shorts for summer! I love mine with an oversized button down or a t-shirt. The scallops add the perfect feminine touch to any look!


Happy Sewing!

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