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A DIY Scalloped Hem & A Tumor Named Clyde

Cancer in the Time of COVID
'80s Vested Romper Refashion

Wow…I really took you on a journey with the title of this one, didn’t I? “Yay! I’m going to learn how to sew a scalloped hem…wait…WHAT?!?!”

I am currently giving 2020 ZERO stars, friends.

DIY scalloped hem before
*Shakes an angry fist at 2020*

So far, the Refashionista household has been through a pandemic, me being laid off, a cancelled honeymoon, and a hurt dachshund.

May as well add something new to the mix.

I’ve been feeling not so great for a while friends.

I thought it was just stress from the pandemic. Some odd weight gain in my stomach. Nausea. Needing to pee more than usual.

When my symptoms worsened, I went to my doctor, expecting to be diagnosed with a bladder infection. I figured I’d be prescribed antibiotics and sent on my way.

After many tests and a CT scan, I now know I have a tumor on one of my ovaries “the size of a small watermelon”.

I have named him Clyde.

I won’t know whether the tumor is benign or cancerous until Monday, when it’s scheduled to be removed and tested, but my current tests don’t indicate spread, which is promising.

While waiting to pick up my pain meds from the pharmacy at my grocery store I saw this.

bin of small watermelons
A bin of things that are the size of the thing inside of me.

It’s a really scary time friends.

I know I haven’t posted in a while, and this is why.

Mr. Refashionista has been incredibly sweet and supportive. It breaks my heart to see him so worried. And the thought of not getting many many more years to share with him breaks mine.

There’s just so much I want to do. I have so many plans and ideas. And now it looks like they might not matter anymore.

But what about that scalloped hem?

After getting my bad news, I decided I would do as much as I can as long as I feel well enough to do anything.

My original dress wasn’t bad. I liked the loose flowy-ness (also perfect for helping hide Clyde).

But I didn’t care that much for the color. So, I reached for a bottle of dye!

tangerine orange dye
A bright & cheery hue!

I wasn’t sure what the fabric content of this dress was, but decided to give it a go!

ripped tag from dress
At least it was made in the USA?

I let it sit in its bath for thirty minutes.

orange dye bath
This should perk you up a little.

I rinsed it in my washing machine (just once through the hand wash cycle) and dried it.

Now, let’s make a scalloped hem (for real)!

A lot of you guys ooohed and ahhhhed over the hem on this vintage nightgown I wore a while back.

Well guess what? It’s incredibly easy to make a scalloped hem of your own!

First, I cut some length off of my dress, allowing for an extra 2″ below where I would want it to fall.

cut off hem of dress

Then, (while loopy on pain meds and feeling distracted), I COMPLETELY SCREWED UP by sewing my scalloped hem backwards. I won’t waste your time by showing you that part.


So, I made another chop, thinking this would look better as a top anyways.

cutting hem for top
This is your last chance, loser!

Step 1: Overlock that bottom raw edge.

My machine has an overlock stitch that I used, but a simple zigzag stitch near the edge would suffice.

overlock settings screen on machine
My machine even tells me which presser foot to use!

I overlocked the edge, using that red thingy as the marker for where the edge lines up.

overlocking raw edge

Step 2: Fold over & press

Then, I pressed a hem (about 2″), making sure the right sides were facing each other to avoid my earlier mistake!

pressing new hem
Yay to learning from past mistakes!

Step 3: Make a template

cardboard, scissors, soup can
All you need to make your template!

Sure, you can use pattern paper and a french curve to do this as well, but I know a lot of folks might not have that on hand.

To make your template, first decide how many scallops you want your garment to have. Then measure the hem and divide the width of the hem by the number of scallops.

Then, mark that measurement on your template.

measuring template
I wanted several small scallops, so yours might be larger!

Trace your scallops with your soup can.

tracing scallops

Then, cut out your swell new template!

Step 4: Use your template to mark your scallops!

tracing scallops from template onto top

I used piece of tailor’s chalk for this, but a fabric marker or even plain chalk would work as well.

You can see my template isn’t as long as the full hem, so I just scooched it over when I was done with one section.

traced scallops on top

Step 5: Stitch your scallops!

Now it’s time to stitch your scallops down! Before doing this, you’ll want to shorten your stitch length. It’ll help you get around those curves.

shortened stitch selected
I went with 1.5

I stitched slowly and carefully.

sewing scallops on hem
Here they come!

And here’s what they’ll look like when you’re done!

stitched scallops on bottom hem
Coming along nicely!

Step 6: Trim scallop edges.

Carefully trim the fabric from around the edges of your scallops, like so…

cutting fabric from edge of scallops
Snip snip!

Step 7: Push Scallops Out & Press

Right now your scallops are inside-out. Using a point turner, or a wooden kitchen spoon, turn them right-side out, pushing along the seams.

turning scallops out
I did order a proper point turner after this.
pushing scallops out
Come on out little buddy!

Since my fabric was so thin and there was a good bit of it above the scallops (since the scallops weren’t very deep, some of that hem kept flopping over from the inside. :/

So, I put orange thread in my machine, and used a straight stitch to secure it.

sewing hem
Just a simple straight stitch!

Check out my DIY Scalloped Hem top now!

DIY scalloped hem top after
Comfy & Flowy!

Here’s a closer look!

DIY scalloped hem top after close up
Come closer!

Here it is from the back!

Diy scalloped hem top from back
I like how the zipper stayed green!

I really like how the bottom hem turned out. The next time I do this technique, I’m going to try it on a dress or a skirt and try it with deeper/wider scallops.

DIY scalloped hem top after close up
But this works just fine too!

Mr. Refashionista seemed to think my new top looked quite alright.

Jillian and Brian
I love him so much.

So there you go! Now you know how to add a scalloped hem to pretty much anything you’d care to add a scalloped hem to!

refashionista closeup
Knowledge is power.

You probably won’t be hearing from me for a little while friends. 🙁 As I said above, my surgery is scheduled for Monday, and there will be at least a couple of weeks of recovery ahead. But I promise to update you guys as soon as I’m able.

Thanks for being understanding as we try to navigate through a really difficult time.

refashionista diy scalloped hem before and after
Cancer in the Time of COVID
'80s Vested Romper Refashion