Scalloped hemlines are all the rage and it’s no surprise – they are so cute!!! This tutorial will focus on how to adapt a regular shorts pattern for a scalloped hemline. It is best to use a pattern with no side seam if possible. This eliminates bulk and creates a seamless line for the scalloped hem. However, shorts (or dresses) with a seam can be used, the directions will be similar. The side seam will need to be stitched first and then follow the directions for creating the scallops.
If the pattern chosen has a side seam, eliminate the side seam by placing the front pattern piece and the back pattern piece together at the side seam and pin or tape together. If there is a curve to the side seams, match up the seams at the widest part of the shorts, as shown (not drawn to scale).
It is important to keep the grainlines accurate on both the front and back of the shorts. Draw a line (shown in red) across the upper edge as well as the lower edge creating a single pattern piece. Note that the shorts front and/or back could have a curve, which will be eliminated when the line is drawn. Cut shorts from fashion fabric and mark front and back.
Decide on the number of scallops desired for the shorts. Measure across the hem of the shorts, from seam line to seam line and divide that measurement by the number of scallops desired (ie. 22.5” across hem divided by 15 scallops = 1.5” wide scallops). The shorts pictured in aqua have a scallop that is approximately 2″ across.
Scallop depth is mostly personal preference. However, using approximately the bottom 1/2 of a circle creates a pretty scallop (my opinion!) that is much like what is seen on most Lilly Pulitzer style hems. Using more of the circle shape is less appealing (my opinion).
To create the scallop (sample shows a 1-1/2” scallop, individual scallop widths will vary), find a small circle object (small can, glass, etc.) or use a circle template and draw a scallop using only approximately the bottom 1/3 of the circle. Create a template of the scallop shape from cardboard or plastic.
On the wrong side of the shorts, draw the scallops across the bottom of the shorts, starting at one seam allowance and stopping at the opposite seam allowance. Do not cut the scallop shapes. This will be done after sewing.
Always mark Front and Back.
To make unlined shorts, use the shorts pattern and make a facing by drawing a line up from the hem, 2-1/2” above the bottom line of the pattern (a different depth can be used if desired).
Cut out 2 facings and mark the front and back on the facings. Sew the inseam. Press seam allowance open.
Sew the shorts inseam and finish seam allowance. Press.
Pin facings to the shorts, right sides together and stitch along the drawn line for the scallops, pivoting at the peaks. Stitch carefully as this will be the finished shape of the scallops.
Trim the seam allowance to ¼”, trimming slightly smaller in the peak area. Clip into the points. There is no need to clip the curves. The scallops will look smoother without clipping the curves. Turn right sides out and press.
Press under ¼” at the top edge of the facings. Stitch the hem with a straight stitch. This is more durable for play clothes. A ribbon trim can be added over the straight stitching if desired.
Finish crotch seam and upper edge of shorts following the directions in the shorts pattern that is being used.
The same technique can be used for creating scallops at the hemline of dresses – shift style or full dresses.
I hope that this tutorial will help you as you move forward and create your own beautiful scalloped hemlines!