How to make scallop hem shorts from old shorts

May 19th, 2011

So you ready to learn how to create a scallop hem on any old pair of shorts? Lets do it!

1) Start with your shorts

2) Now fold the hem up a couple of inches with right sides together

3) Make your scallop stencil. As with my previous scallop hem project, I used contact plastic – that way you can stick it to your fabric, and have an easy guide! Lay out your contact plastic with the paper side upwards. I used a glass with a 3.5” diameter.  Place your glass so that the edge of the glass lines up with the edge of the paper, and trace half way round. Do this all the way along the edge, overlapping each half circle evenly, and making sure you’re always lined up with the edge of the paper. Last time I chose to make deep scallops by butting up the glass to the edge of each half circle, but this time I wanted them more shallow, so I overlapped them so that they were only 1” high.

4) Cut your stencil out and remove the paper backing. Stick it to your shorts, so that the edge of the scallops is where you would like your finished hem to be. For me this was ½” from the folded edge.

5) Sew around the stencil as close as you can to the edge without actually sewing on it. But if you do, don’t freak out!! It’ll still come off, it just means that you’ll probably rip your stencil a bit and it might not be as re-usable.

6) Keep in mind where your stencil join is, i made sure mine would be inbetween the legs so that if i ended up with a funky shaped scallop it would be hidden

7) Peel off your stencil carefully, and stick it back on the backing paper so that you can use it again

8) Cut inbetween the scallops, as close as you dare to the stitches, without actually cutting them.

9) Trim the excess fabric around the scallops. I used pinking shears, because they’re basically like cutting neat little notches around the edge – but you could just as easily just trim very close to the stitches and achieve the same result

10) Now turn your hem the right way round, so that the right sides of fabric is facing outwards. Using your hand, “push” out the scallops and shape them with your hands.

11) Move over to the iron, and press them nice and crisply. Spend some time doing this properly, because the neater and more evenly you do it, the better your scallops will look.

12) Now to finish up that hem on the inside. In an ideal world I would not have been feeling lazy, and would have handstitched the hem so that it would be invisible from the outside – but I was tired, so I just topstitched right over the top. It’s not bad, but if I did it again I’d do it by hand.

And there you have it! Enjoy your shorts!!

38 Responses

  1. Wanett says:

    This is AWESOME!! And much easier than I would have expected!

    • Meg says:

      hehe I know!!! Once I figured out a good trick it was soooo incredibly easy!! I hope you try it too!

  2. Casey says:

    More scallops! I seem to have been on a scallop binge lately (two scallop-collar shirts, skirt hem finished with scallops and just whipped up a scallop-waistband skirt yesterday evening… Addicted much?), and think I’ll add this to my list of things to make! ;) I love the contact paper idea for a template–brilliant!

    • Meg says:

      umm yes I am obsessed too – actually i am absolutely planning to make your scalloped collar – it is by far the prettiest collar I have ever seen!! XOXO

  3. kelsey says:

    i LOVE it. i totally want a skirt like this!

  4. [...] the original post here: megan nielsen design diary – How to make scallop hem shorts from … Filed Under: Singer Sewing Machines Tagged With: how to sew a hem, Singer Sewing [...]

  5. Yen says:

    So wonderful! Thanks for sharing! I can’t wait to try this out squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee :D

    • Meg says:

      hehe I hope you do try it out! (ps i’m glad i’m not hte only one who squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeels! xoxo)

  6. Birgit says:

    this is soooo nice!!! Thank you so much for sharing!!
    I have been looking for ages for a tutorial on how to make a pair of these :D

  7. hattie says:

    Hattitude Artistic Style Blog

    it looks GREAT! wow. kudos to you for being so creative and managing a sewing machine!

    talk soon wild child
    -Hattie
    Hattitude Artistic Style Blog

  8. chie says:

    this is so cool meg! i have to try this tutorial for the summer:)

  9. gill says:

    Please tell me where you found those clogs! I love them and have been searching everywhere for a low heeled pair.

    • Meg says:

      Hi Gill!! I’m so sorry but I actually got them in Australia over Christmas! The brand is Rubi and they were only available in store (please don’t hate me!)

      Buttttt I just saw a really really similar pair in Urban Outfitters today for $20. Unfortunately I can’t seem to find a link in their online store (i think it’s because they’re on sale?) – but they did have some in store!

      • gill says:

        I’ll have to check out Urban Outfitters. I bought a pair at Rubi and they didn’t last very well, but so they were so cute so I’ve been searching for replacements. The search continues…

  10. Laura says:

    Hi megan! Just to let you know I used this to great success on a pair of my shorts and have linked back to your blog for the tutorial credit. Thank you for this, it is really great
    xxx

    • Meg says:

      Your shorts look sooooo cute Laura!!! I love the baby blue colour – and it looks like you did a really excellent sewing job!! I hope you get lots of use out of them! XOXO

  11. kay says:

    awesome tutorial! the shorts look adorable :) also, where did you get your sandals? i’ve been trying to find something similar forever~

    • Meg says:

      You’re going to hate me… but I actually got them in Australia when I was there over Christmas. The brand is called Rubi and you can only get them in store.

      Buttttt I just saw a really really similar pair in Urban Outfitters today for $20. Unfortunately I can’t seem to find a link in their online store (i think it’s because they’re on sale?) – but they did have some in store!

  12. kay says:

    thanks for the reply :) oh i wish they had an UO nearby…

  13. [...] Nielsen did a tute on how to make scallop-hem shorts from a pair of old shorts.  Check it here and try it on something you already have in your [...]

  14. [...] tried on no less than 5. None looked cute. It was rather upsetting. In the end I settled on my scalloped shorts and a simple top – and you know what I [...]

  15. [...] I used the same method as when I made mine. [...]

  16. [...] also thanks to some inspiration from The Other Emily‘s scallop shorts. I desperately want to make a pair, but wasn’t able to in time for my and Mandi‘s 30 day challenge–and who knows how [...]

  17. Anna says:

    That’s some clever sewing. Love it.

  18. So simply and easy to follow, adding this to my pile of DIY to do list!

  19. [...] were hand-me-downs from my cousin and were originally 3/4 length and flared :-S I ‘d seen this tutorial so I thought I’d try it and I’m really pleased with the results :) ew double chin. oh [...]

  20. biddie says:

    I have a few long skirts that are too long. I plan on jazzing them up with this tutorial. TYVM biddie

  21. Anna says:

    I only wear skirts and dresses, but these shorts are super cute with the scallops! Most shorts make a girl look like a boy, but this is nice and feminine

  22. seanini says:

    Nice one,what can one use if you dont av a stencil?

  23. Zoe says:

    I love this tutorial, and your shorts are so adorable!

    I finally got around to posting my attempt, if you would like to see :)
    Thanks for being so inspiring!

  24. [...] has done a few scalloped hem tutorials in the past (here and here), but we thought it would be nice for a little update, and to give the technique [...]

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