MN2201 Kelly / Sewalongs / Sewing Techniques / Tips & Tutorials

Tutorial : Scalloped Hem

Megan has done a few scalloped hem tutorials in the past, but we thought it would be nice for a little update. It’s really not as hard as you would think! So follow along, and you’ll be creating scalloped hems in no time…….

1. Start by folding, pressing, and sewing a single fold hem towards the inside of your garment. It doesn’t necessarily have to be quite as much as mine ( about 1”), but make it at least 1/2″.

2. Now fold again, right sides together, a couple of inches or so.  Your sewn line will be the guideline for the top of your scallop.So how much you fold over will really depend on how deep you want your scallop pattern to be. You’ll see what I mean within the next few steps. Pin in place.

3. To make your scallop stencil – draw a straight line on a piece of paper, and then a parallel line for how deep you want your scallop to be. Using a round object (I used a little votive jar), draw your half circles, so that they start at your first guideline, and then dip and touch your second guideline. Make sure each one connects, too.

Cut out your stencil.

4. Place your stencil on your hem, so that your drawn line/ top of your scallop lines up with your sewn guideline. Trace your scallops. (In the previous posts, Megan used contact paper to make her scallop stencil, therefore eliminating the tracing step. I didn’t have contact paper, so this is another way to do it!)

5. Now very carefully, and very very slowly – sew along your traced scallop lines.

6. Clip in-between each scallop, so that you come as close as you possibly can to the stitches, without actually cutting through it.

7. Trim off the excess fabric around the scallops close to the stitching. You can use pinking shears or regular shears if you would like.

8. Pressing is very important when it comes to getting the perfect rounded shape. It may seem  a little redundant, but take the time go through al the steps of pressing your scallops!

First, while your hem is still right sides together, stick your iron in between each scallop and press.

Then turn your hem right side out, and do the same thing – press in between each scallop. This will really help get the right round shape.


When you’re all done press flat, and finish the inside of your hem with an invisible stitch.

Voila! You have a scalloped hem!

Come back tomorrow to see a completed scalloped hem on the Kelly Skirt!

About Author

Holly writes part time for the Megan Nielsen blog– sewing like crazy, creating tutorials and sewalongs. She has been sewing since she was a little girl, and has her degree in apparel design. Now she’s a stay at home mama, and spends all her free nap times at her sewing machine.

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11 years ago

Cute! I love the idea of using glass jars to get different sizes of scallops! I think that I’ve used a can of soup or something to trace mine before… which worked just fine, but glass jars come in so many more sizes.

Along with sewing really really slowly do you have any tips for stitch length? Do you find that the scallops turn out neater with a shorter or a longer stitch?

11 years ago

ALWAYS wanted to try one of these! now i am kind of eager to try! i just need some TIME IN MY SEWING ROOM!


11 years ago

I always thought you had to use a separate strip of fabric, sew and reverse. The instructions did not highlight pressing or close trimming. This method is so much easier and looks sharp. My scalloped hemmed garment got thrown away, it was so awful and wouldn’t lay flat. I can’t wait to try your method.

Veronica Darling
11 years ago

Oh, great tip! Love that fabric too Meg!

11 years ago

I’ve been wanting to make a scalloped Kelly skirt for such a long time, can’t wait to see it!


[…] promised, here is a finished Kelly Skirt using the Scalloped Hem Tutorial from […]

11 years ago

omg thats soooo cute… im defo trying that out :)


[…] we are on the topic of scallops this week, I thought I would show you another scalloped pattern variation – this time on the […]

Elisa Clark
11 years ago

I have always wondered how to do that. Thank you for this great tutorial!

GScraper Overview
10 years ago

Tutorial : Scalloped Hem – megan nielsen design diary