Hand Embroidery: Make a Scallop Stitch

Updated on June 7, 2017
A row of scallop stitches.
A row of scallop stitches. | Source

Scallop stitches are a fun addition to any project. This embroidery stitch is popularly used as a border, but is also useful in making flowers, leaves, or even just for a small embellishment, making it a very versatile stitch.

The scallop stitch isn't as easy to learn as a number of other stitches, but once you learn it, whipping up this stitch will be quick and easy.

If you've done a lazy daisy stitch or a fly stitch before, you'll find that this stitch is very similar. This is because the technique for each of these stitches is actually very much the same. Once you learn any of these three stitches (lazy daisy, fly, and scallop) you've got the skills down to learn the other two.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Figure 1: Create a loop on the top side of your fabric by making a straight stitch and not pulling the stitch all the way through.Figure 2: Pulling out from inside the loop before we tie the loop down with a tiny straight stitch.
Figure 1: Create a loop on the top side of your fabric by making a straight stitch and not pulling the stitch all the way through.
Figure 1: Create a loop on the top side of your fabric by making a straight stitch and not pulling the stitch all the way through. | Source
Figure 2: Pulling out from inside the loop before we tie the loop down with a tiny straight stitch.
Figure 2: Pulling out from inside the loop before we tie the loop down with a tiny straight stitch. | Source

Your First Scallop Stitch

In order to make a scallop stitch, you must first know how to make a straight stitch.

Step 1: Create a straight stitch going from left to right, except do not pull the stitch taut. Instead leave a loop of floss out (figure 1.) The loop can be as large or as small as you would like your scallop to be.

Step 2: Using your fingers, flatten the loop in the desired shape. Then, push the needle up through the inside of the loop (figure 2.) To tie the loop down, make a very small straight stitch from the inside of the loop to the outside.

You've made your very first scallop stitch! Congratulations!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Figure 3: Start out on your next scallop stitch by creating a new loop (running stitch) just to the right of your last scallop.Figure 4: A row of out of control scallop stitches! (My fabric pen went missing, oh noes!)
Figure 3: Start out on your next scallop stitch by creating a new loop (running stitch) just to the right of your last scallop.
Figure 3: Start out on your next scallop stitch by creating a new loop (running stitch) just to the right of your last scallop. | Source
Figure 4: A row of out of control scallop stitches! (My fabric pen went missing, oh noes!)
Figure 4: A row of out of control scallop stitches! (My fabric pen went missing, oh noes!) | Source

Making More Stitches

This stitch looks great in a row, so it's important to learn how to continue on down the line. To make the next stitch in the row, pull the needle up just to the right of where you closed that first straight stitch (the one that made your loop, figure 3.) Continue on by making another loop and creating a scallop stitch.

This stitch is one you'll really want to practice. Making loops of varying sizes and putting that tie-down straight stitch in the wrong spot can make for a line of messy looking scallop stitches (figure 4.)

If you mark out your line ahead of time with a fabric marker, you'll find yourself making cleaner stitches. With scallop stitches, you'll also want to mark out where you will be making the "point" for each stitch. That way you won't close the loop in the wrong spot.

These stitches make for very beautiful borders (this is the main reason I use this stitch) but can also be used solo in an independent stitch for a unique embellishment. Where are you using this stitch?

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