How to Make a Scalloped Front Skirt

comments (5) August 26th, 2009     

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Christopher Kanes spring 2009 collection featured scalloped edges combined in a number of ways
This skirt is adapted from Neue Mode J21390. The pattern requires the addition of seam allowances.
Use any shallow, straight-sided lid to guide your curves.
Christopher Kanes spring 2009 collection featured scalloped edges combined in a number of ways

Christopher Kane's spring 2009 collection featured scalloped edges combined in a number of ways

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Watching fashion trends is a great way to get ideas to incorporate into your sewing projects. This season serpentine edges were found in garments from many designers, but none were as dramatic as that from Christopher Kane. Here is an adaptation of the serpentine edge that you can use to create a dramatic edge that can be adapted for day or nighttime looks.

The placket could be used in a variety of ways. You could, for example, incorporate a similar version into any pattern. Make it your own by positioning the serpentine edge on a new or existing seam or using it otherwise as a functioning design element. The process involves a series of steps that is described below, which even a beginning sewer can follow. 

Master class made easy

The original Yves Saint Laurent inspiration was a center-front opening on a straight skirt. You can use a favorite skirt pattern and alter it by drafting a new front opening. But I think it's easier to sew the placket first and attach 
it to two lengths of fabric, then cut out the pattern 
with the placket already in place. That way, you're certain that all of the pieces fit perfectly together. All you have to draft is the serpentine line. 

The trick is in the planning

Sewing curves, especially ones smaller than an armhole or jewel neckline, can get tedious. This project requires sewing two long rows of curves and keeping them perfectly matched. It can be done, but there's a trick to making it fun. This edge
contains two alternating curves. To simplify your planning first and your sewing later, find a 3-inch-diameter jar lid with straight sides. 
We'll show you how to use it to establish your pattern-and even to sew your curves.

skirt Find more skirt projects:

• Make a Skirt Out of Scraps
• Make a Two-Color Skirt from T-shirts
How to Draft a one-seam Skirt in 30 Minutes


Use any basic straight-skirt pattern. Prepare the front pattern piece by copying the pattern and taping a mirror image along the center-front line to make a full-front pattern piece. For the serpentine edge, use a straight-sided, 3-inch-diameter jar lid to guide your sewing. Choose a lid with a flat top. Cut a 200-grit sandpaper disk to fit the top of the lid, and affix the paper, grit side out, to the lid with double-sided tape. You're now ready to turn your lid into a cam as described below.

1. Start drawing your pattern. Draw a line in the center of a piece of paper. Position the lid edge, top down, 1 inch outside the line, and trace around the short side. Mark two lines on the side of the lid to correspond with the position of the line on the paper. These will later be used as registration marks. Mark three parallel lines below the finished length line--two 1 1/2 inch apart and the third 3/4 inch below. Cut the excess tracing paper off at the third line.



2. Sew a test run without thread. Remove the thread from your sewing machine. Align the lid on the paper over the curved tracing. Use the lid to position the paper until the needle is aligned with the line under the lid and the lid touches the left side of the presser foot as shown. 

Lower the presser foot. Apply a slight amount of pressure with your fingers, pushing down and gently into the presser foot. Begin sewing, and stop stitching when the needle meets the registration mark on the other side of the lid. Without otherwise guiding the paper, the lid directs the stitching to create a consistent curve.



3. Use the sewn curve as your template. Notice that the sewn curve is larger than the traced one. The difference is the distance between the left side of your presser foot and the needle. The stitched curve is the size and shape of the largest curve on your serpentine edge. You can change the size of the curve by adjusting your needle position, an option you might want to consider later. 

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Comments (5)

SewingNella writes: @Lauraflo:

Don`t be prudent, if you are not comfy with yourself, don`t blame the clothes. There is nothing wrong with showing of a bit of skin and be sexy

I made this skirt short while ago and it`s amazing
Posted: 9:30 am on March 19th
SabrinaStyle writes: That's a great idea for using pinking shears to reduce bulk on curves! Thanks.
Posted: 4:24 pm on September 29th
lauraflo writes: I like the way this skirt looks, and the explanation of the scallops is excellent.
But my concern with the design is that, when the wearer sits down, there will be gaps between the scallops that will show their slip underneath. There should be a placket below that would prevent this - or perhaps make the skirt front non- opening and use a side or back zipper, with the scallop plackets stitched into seams on a solid front.

A design has to be wearable, not just good looking.
Posted: 10:45 am on September 11th
Paws2 writes: I love this design!!! I will without a doubt make this skirt enjoying every moment.The interesting thing is that I have made a band with a scalloped edge for a plain blanket to add a little pazzaz. I was not able to give the edge a nice smooth finish. I will follow the method to finish the edge described above which I'm sure will do the trick. Thank you for sharing this design and method for this wonderful skirt!!!!
Posted: 8:35 am on September 11th
Ktquilt writes: I like using a pair of pinking sheers to clip the curves. This takes out excess fabric and provides the space for the curve to adjust.
Posted: 5:09 pm on September 6th
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