Detail Inspiration: Scalloped Edges


Scallop edges on clothing have experienced a resurgence of popularity in recent years, but did you know that it’s been a detail used on garments for hundreds of years? Certainly the techniques and usage may have varied a bit over the centuries, but there is no doubt that dressmakers and designers still love to add this shaped edge detail to liven up garments. (For a piece that already includes scalloped edges, but sure to check out the Meringue skirt in The Colette Sewing Handbook!)

This beautiful 1940s dress is a great example of more subtle scallops: softly undulating edges form the collar and cap sleeves. The light and airy fabric helps give the scallops a bit more drape as well–and is always a good idea to take into consideration when adding shaped edges to elements that have a tendency to stick out (like this sleeve style).

Do scallops always have to be rounded? I think not! Another gorgeous dress from the 1940s showcases pointed edges well. The solid, crisp fabric is the key here–making the shaped edge stand out and have a bit of form to it. Notice how the pointed bands are applied separately to the dress edges–this makes it a lot easier than figuring in scallops to an unsewn garment edge! I love how the pocket also sports the pointed scallops!

A bolder use of scallops from the 1960s! This mini dress uses high contrast bands of scallops on the skirt well. It gives incredible visual interest, and would be a fun way to play with both color relationships and patterns.

Images: blue 1940s dress, brown 1940s dress, 1960s mini dress.

Casey Cartwright   —  

Comments 21


Wow, I love all 3 of these–very feminine. I especially like the blue and white dress.

Caffy Bundy

This seems like a lovely idea! When I first started sewing I thought about the print of the fabric endlessly. Now I look into the details so much more!

Love it!

Caff :-) aka bundana


Very interesting dress with pointed edges! I bet it takes lots of patience to achieve a neat finish!

Maddie Flanigan

scallops are a great detail to any garment – it adds a touch of femininity and quirkiness


Beautiful timing! About to embark on a project with a scalloped overlay today.


They are so beautiful, all of them in different ways. I was thinking about brown recently. It’s often used as a skirt or a top but never a dress really. People shy away from brown, I think. One of my best friends from college you to always tell me: Brown in a down. I wore it a lot. Am I the only one who misses brown?


Maybe it depends on your coloring. I don’t wear much brown because my hair is brown and my eyes are brown, so it doesn’t provide any contrast. It’s got to be a different shade (like a light mocha) for me to feel right in it.


I love the pointed scallops! It’s a sharper approach and I’m all for it.


That brown suit is amazing…couture rickrack!

nothy lane

I love scallops. The pointed ones are quite interesting. Great post!


Great post. I have always loved adding little details to make something more interesting. It’s the little things that make life good!


these dresses are really inspiring. I made a shirt dress a couple of months ago and I could totally make a new one and add some of these details.


wow i am in love with that 1960’s scalloped dress, just gorgeous!
I am not surprised that scallops have been used for so long, always a beautiful detail


Ooh, that lovely coat! Just perfect.


Beautiful! I love scallops but hated sewing them until Meringue :)


I’m not that into scallops (not sure why, I guess it’s jut not my thing), but oh my, would I wear that last dress.


That blue dress is STUNNING! I must try and make something similar….thanks for the inspiration!

Mrs M

I love the 1940s style dress. Practical but with a hint of dainty playfulness.

Any chances of adding this style of 1940s frock to your range – with the just below the knee length…?


I just bought a vintage magenta shift with a scalloped neckline and scalloped pockets. I am definitely planning on copying the design and doing more scalloped trims!


I love how the all of these selections have the scalloped edges blend into the whole garment! It drives me crazy when they are made to look like fish scales (unless it’s a Halloween costume)! Being pear shaped, it just accentuates my bum. One interesting use of the pointed scallops I’ve seen was in Mika’s music video (Pardon the language) “Kick @$$”. I love his whole ensemble in that video, and the scallops are just that bit of fun to his coattails! :^D


You know–I love that light blue dress, and I wonder if it was made for a slender woman who was pregnant? It seems like the front waist is slightly higher and the front hem is lower. It’s what I would expect in summer wear for someone who was pregnant, but that may just be me!

We’re sorry, comments for this post have been closed.