How To Sew Scallops By Hand – Quick & Easy Hand Shell Edge

A vintage sewing hack how to sew perfect scallops quick and easy by hand! Embellish your dresses and blouses with a perfect scalloped hem.

How To Sew Scalloped Edge By Hand

Scalloped edges were very popular in the Victorian and Edwardian era: dresses, blouses, petticoats, chemises and nightgowns – all were trimmed with hand-stitched scallops. Besides eyelets, hand-stitched scalloped edges are the typical feature of broderie anglaise lace.

Related: How To Make Broderie Anglaise Lace By Hand

Broderie anglaise scallops were finished with buttonhole stitches before the fabric was cut away. This, however, took a long time!

This hand-stitched shell edge is different: Here you only need two stitches to finish one scallop! You guess right if you think that this hand-stitched scalloped edge is much faster to sew than broderie anglaise scallops! Here I’m making a scalloped edge to trim the neck and armholes of an Edwardian chemise. But you can also make a scalloped hem for skirts, petticoats or dresses.

Related: Edwardian Chemise With Lace Scallops

This vintage sewing hack was published in Garments For Girls in 1919. So this handmade scalloped edge is a historically accurate embellishment. But, of course, you can also use the pretty hand embroidered scalloped edge for your everyday clothes today! 😉

How To Sew Scallops By Hand - Quick & Easy


How To Sew Scallops By Hand

Cut Bias Strips

Cut strips of fabric on the true bias, 2″ (5cm) wide and as long as you need the trim. Join the bias strips if necessary.

‘Put the cut edges together and fold the strips through the center. Crease these well or press them with a hot iron. Take a very coarse needle and prick through the material every 3/8″ or 1/2″ according to the width you desire the scallops to be.’ (Garments For Girls, 1919)

Sew Scallops

Cut a length of thread, about an arm’s length, and thread the needle. Secure the thread with a knot or two or three back stitches at the beginning. Now you can start sewing the shell edge:

‘At each pricked point make two overhand stitches over the folded edge. Draw the thread very firmly to form the scallop. Put the needle between the two layers of the material to the prick. Pull out the needle and repeat the overhand stitch.’ (Garments For Girls, 1919)

How To Sew Scallops By Hand

How To Sew On Scalloped Edge

Here I’m sewing the scalloped edge to the neck and armholes of a chemise but the same applies if you want to attach it to the hem of a skirt.

‘When the scallops are finished, turn under the edge of the neck 1/8″; turn in an even line. Turn an edge of the same width on the sleeve.’ (Garments For Girls, 1919) Pin the shell edge to the wrong side of the garment. ‘Stitch the turned edge of the neck and the sleeves closely to the trimming.

On the wrong side of the garment turn under the rough edge of the scallops to make a 1/4″ hem. […] Crease this turn well. Cut away any surplus material under the turn. […] Stitch by machine close to the turned edge.’ (Garments For Girls, 1919)

Now give the scallops a good press and the hand-stitched scalloped edge is finished!


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How To Sew Scallops By Hand Tutorial

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