Tag Archives: tutorial

How To Make A Scalloped Hem Tutorial

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!

Kathy

 

How To Change A Neckline Tutorial

Like so many seamstresses, I have a plethora of patterns that I have secured over many years of sewing.  My sewing is primarily for children and mostly for girls.  Styles change, but the basic lines of classic styles don’t change much.  Most changes are seen in the size/style of collars and sleeves.  Dresses in the 50’s sported sweet tiny collars and small sleeves while the 90’s had large collars and huge sleeves.  I’m pretty sure that a beach ball could have been stored in some of those sleeves!  LOL!

One of the more significant changes that I’ve observed  recently has been in the comfort factor of children’s clothing.  Most children are used to the comfort of knit clothing.  The result of that is that children find anything with a true neckline to be uncomfortable and it is perceived as too tight.  This became obvious when I gave dresses that our youngest daughter wore to the granddaughter’s to wear – the classic style would still work, but they said that the neckline was too tight.  Children’s necks have not gotten larger, they have become used to less constrictive clothing.  I believe that this has also resulted in seeing fewer collars on the dresses that the little girls are wearing.

With that in mind, I thought it would be useful to share ways to adjust the neckline of a dress/blouse.  While it is a very simple process, many find alterations of this kind to be intimidating.

The first thing that should be done is to trace the bodice front and back pieces of the garment on paper so that the original is preserved.  Once the bodice is traced, remove the seam allowance and cut the pattern pieces at the finished neck – shown in blue.

Once the seam allowance has been trimmed away, the neckline can be redrawn to whatever shape is desired.  Decide on how much to remove from the neckline.  It doesn’t have to be exactly the same from front to back, though it can be done that way if desired.  The following drawing shows the neckline only slightly lower in the back but gradually increasing at the front (shown in pink).  It is imperative that the amount removed at the shoulder seam is EXACTLY the same on both the front and the back bodices – shown with the green arrows.  Once the neckline looks good to you, remove the excess paper beyond the  newly drawn line (pink).

Double check the new neckline by placing the front and the back bodices together at the shoulder seam (pieces will overlap) and ensuring that they align.  Remember that some patterns allow a little ease in the back shoulder seam while others don’t.  Check the original pattern pieces to see if the shoulder seams on front and back are an exact match – if they are, then they should also be an exact match with the neckline alterations.

Now it is time to decide on how the neckline will be finished.  If a bias band will be applied around the neckline, then the pattern is ready to use just as it is.  The finished neckline will be covered with the bias band.

If a plain neckline, piped neckline, or collar is desired, then a seam allowance needs to be added to the neckline edge on both the front and the back bodice pieces.  A 1/4″ seam allowance is a good choice for a neckline seam allowance.  You can add up to 3/8″ for a seam allowance, but more than that is undesirable.

I have been leaving collars off most dresses I make, however, if a collar is desired, it can be drafted at this point.

Don’t feel limited to limit the neckline change to just lowering the neckline slightly, try some other neckline adjustments and have fun with them.  There’s no limit to what can be done – a lower, scooped neckline, a sweetheart neckline, a square neckline, etc.  If you don’t feel confident in the redrafted neckline, test the newly designed bodices with a muslin or some scrap fabric and try it on the child to ensure that the new neckline is pleasing.  Cutting and stitching up a bodice take much fabric or time.  It is better to test it out and ensure that all was done correctly and the finished results are pleasing rather than to being disappointed with the results of the finished garment.

I hope that this has inspired you to consider pulling out some of the patterns that aren’t being used because of the dated styles and getting creative with some simple pattern redrafting!  Of course, adding your own heirloom touches will make it special!

Easter will be here soon – it’s time to get started!

Keep on stitching!!!!