Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Pieced Scalloped Fabric Tutorial

Week two means the begininng of our weekly winner's tutorials. ( Hooray! )
Which means that today we have Danielle showing us how she those amazing colored scallops!  (Another Hooray!)
Take it away Danielle!

Well first of all, Thanks for voting! Even if you didn't vote for me, thank you for being here and following along. It's so fun to take part in all of this.

When I first posted about this dress a lot of people commented that they thought the colorful scallops along the bottom were part of the fabric.

I can assure you they were not part of the fabric, but painstakingly appliqued layer by layer, by me. Its actually a simple process. The part that took the longest was just figuring out all the dimensions and proportions so the skirt would look balanced and the colors would work etc. and that took a lot of planning. But it was not a quick and easy kind of project for me. It was a-- put the children to bed, lock myself in a room with a bag of Pirate's Booty, a six pack of Diet Coke, and a good 6 hours worth of Jane Austin movies-- kind of project. But that is mostly because while I knew I wanted to applique these scallops on the bottom of the dress, I had no idea how I was going to make that happen.
Here is how I did it:

First I came up with a basic template in Illustrator. You are welcome to download it
here. It prints on legal sized paper.

Then, place a good quality piece of tracing paper over it. Because I wanted kind of abstract looking scallops, I didn't follow the guidelines exactly-- but rather used them as a general guide, varying each layer a little bit so they'd be irregular, as I traced.

Next cut each arch just above the line you traced.

After determining what order you'd like your fabric for each applique, pin the smallest arch to the fabric for that layer.

Then stitch along the guideline (paper side up) using coordinating thread (I used dark thread for the sake of illustration).

Now, turn it outside in, and using a fingernail or a turning tool, smooth out the seams. The smallest applique will be the trickiest.

Next, trim the seam allowance to between 1/8 and 1/4 inch (really the closer the better...your curve will be much smoother) and cut the paper up the center to within about a half inch of the seam (It's hard to see in the photo).
Once all the edges are smooth, press them flat.

Then pin the arch to the next color of fabric, and pin the next paper arch to fabric as well.

Top-stitch the arch as close to the edge as possible using coordinating thread. Please excuse my sloppy sewing and don't worry if yours isn't perfect. Matching thread will make it look flawless. Just get it as close to the edge as possible so that your scallops will lay flat and look sharp.
Then switch thread color to match the back fabric, and stitch the arch along the guideline as you did in the first one. Trim seam allowance as before.

Turn outside in as before. 

Then follow the same steps as before to create another layer of scallops.

Until you have as many layers of applique as you desire.

Then, tear out each layer's tracing paper (but not the last one until after you have sewn it to the dress). They should come easily as the needle will have made perforations. You can remove them all at the end, or as you go once that layer has been top-stitched to the next one.

And finally pin and stitch the whole thing to your garment. I would suggest changing your bobbin thread to match your garment and leaving your top thread to match your last layer of applique so that the stitches won't be visible from the inside of your skirt if that is where you are applying it. Also, if you are planning on appliqueing several layers, I'd choose a lightweight fabric. I used Kaffe Fassett's shot cottons and found them divine to sew with.

Please visit my blog, for more photos and specifics about this dress. Happy Sewing!

Related Posts


  1. This is great. Seriously... I had thought the scallops were printed on the fabric as well, but this way, everyone can do it by themselves without having to find that exact same fabric. Thanks for showing us.
    Great dress. It looks awesome.
    Greetings from Germany

  2. Great tutorial, Danielle! :)

  3. Thanks so much for sharing the tutorial. I was one of the people who thought it was part of the fabric. You did such an amazing job it was hard to tell!

  4. Thanks for putting this tutorial together. I'm sure you're crazy busy with real life but we sure appreciate it :)

  5. Thanks for the tutorial. I have shared a link for this on my blog Adithis Amma Sews

  6. Very cute! Thanks for the tutorial.

  7. great tutorial! thanks for sharing it with us.

  8. Completely amazing. I LOVE the dress!

  9. There is a copycat version of this skirt in the new Mini Boden collection...


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.