Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Two or three things I know about sculpting scallops...



The best feature of The Betty Draper Suit is, of course, the scallops. Altogether now - swoon...! It took me a while to work out how to make them, using a combination of the (very vague) instructions in the original 1967 pattern, a sprinkling of tips from Threads magazine, plus a large dash of trial and error. But now I know what worked for me, I thought I'd share what I learnt. You should be able to add scallops to your own sewing projects - jackets, skirts, collars... - pretty easily following these instructions...


Scallops are formed by stitching curved seam lines when you attach a facing (or back piece of a collar). In the image above you'll see the two facing options that came with my pattern - the one on the left is if you want a straight jacket front and the one on the right is if you want a scalloped jacket front. So it's pretty simple to convert your pattern piece a scalloped one - just draw the curved lines onto it (or straight onto the fabric if you're feeling confident). You could use a tin lid or something else with a curve as a template. Don't forget to leave a seam allowance around the curve. You may need to create extra seam allowances to accommodate your scalloped edges, as the inner corners of the scallops are going to be further in than the outer edge - for example, if you don't want to make your skirt too short!


Pin the facing and garment piece right sides together.


To sew them together, set your machine to a very small stitch, sewing slowwwly and smoooothly along the curved lines. I'd recommend practising on a scrap first. It helps if you use fabric that isn't going to slide around on your machine. Once you've sewn all along the line, stitch back over the inner corners of the scallops to reinforce them.


Next, trim your seam allowance down to about 1/4", then clip the curves, being careful to cut as close as you can to the stitching without cutting through the thread (as I did - oops!).


Now comes the ironing stage, which took me the best part of an afternoon (I'm not kidding). With right sides still together, press between the layers, running the point of your iron right up and along the stitching line. Then turn the layers right sides out, and do the same thing with the point of the iron, running along the inside of the scallops.


Then press from the top through both layers to smooth down the line. I discovered that a good way of making the curve more defined is to run a butter knife along the inside of the curve while pressing. It's fiddly, but worth the effort to make your curves more curvy. It helps to work on one scallop at a time, coaxing the curve using a triple-pronged attack while the fabric is malleable, using the point of the iron inside, then pressing from the outside while running the knife along the inside of the curve.


Et voilà! Curvaceous scallops. Excuse the unfinished-ness of the rest of the jacket - sleeves up next.

Hope you found this useful. This was of course just what worked for me. If you've tried making scallops and have your own tips, do share!

[Soundtrack: 'Heartbreaker' by The Crystals]

20 comments:

  1. oh wow! this is amazing! the scallops are divine!! It's looking so good--it's going to be a fabulous suit!!

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  2. Awesome scallops! I admire your patience with all that pressing!

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  3. Wow Tilly, the jacket looks amazing, you've done a fab job! And thanks for the tutorial, if I'm ever brave enough to use scallops I'll definitely be referring back!

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  4. It looks amazing already, can't WAIT to see it finished. Well done with your patience, I'd have thrown the iron out of the window by now. x

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  5. Looking so, so fabulous. Can't wait to see petite you in your smart little suit. Gorgeous! And thanks for those top tips.

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  6. Fantastic tips! I have been dreaming of making a little skirt with a scalloped hem for ages, and these will prove helpful whenever (if ever--it's one of those ideas that keeps rotating from one sketchbook/to-sew list to another!) I get to it. I especially love the idea of the butter knife--genius!

    ♥ Casey | blog

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  7. I love scallops and add them to hems, etc..... whenever possible in my grands' dresses. Great job, and great tips! Thanks

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  8. Mmm scallops... Oh wait, NOT the shellfish? Yours are nice, too.

    (just kidding - they look fantastic! And great tip about using the knife, I"ll have to remember that!)

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  9. beautiful explanations..I think I will consider them for my new coat. The jacket looks lovely, great work

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  10. Ooo... great progress and explanation! They're soo pretty!

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  11. I see. I see. Thanks for sharing

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  12. A butter knife - what a great suggestion! I have a vintage dress pattern that calls for scallops so when I get to it, these tips will come in handy! This suit is going to be absolutely stunning all finished. I can't wait to see !

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  13. Amazing, this is just stunning. I can't sew very well myself, but I sure can appreciate someone else who can do such stunning work!

    http://pennydreadfulvintage.blogspot.com/

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  14. Oooh lovely jacket and love the collar too! Thank you for the walk through as well, scallops seem to be so popular on 40s patterns too, great to have seen them being made.

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  15. Oh Tilly what perfect timing - I am making a scalloped placket and collar for a sleeveless shell top and I spent the evening drafting a pattern and wondering how it was going to turn out!!! So far so good - and your tips on pressing are just what I am about to go do! thanks!!!

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  16. The jacket looks fabulous! Great tips for creating the scallops. They look wonderful. I may need to work a project with scallops into my schedule.

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  17. Thank you so much for this tutorial -- scallops have been a nightmare for me. You make it seem easy!

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  18. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE TUTOTRIAL !
    I recently sewed shorts with scalloped hems and I am not satisfied at all with the result, I think I will try it again using your method. It is so helpful !!!

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  19. i hate it when we accidentally clip the stitching!!! You did a fantastic job drafting the edges.

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  20. Love!!! I want everything I own to have them! I have the colette skirt ready to sew so this will help alot :)

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