customizing with oliver + s: scalloped school photo dress

If you keep an eye on the Oliver + S Flickr group, you may have seen this dress show up a while ago. I think a lot of us sort of freaked out when we saw it. The idea to add a scalloped yoke to a School Photo Dress is such a wonderful detail.


Oliver + S School Photo Dress with scalloped yoke


After I saw it, I contacted Nele (who made the dress) to see if she might be interested in telling us more about how she customized the pattern. And Nele was so generous, she even sewed up another version of the dress so she could take photos to show us! So here she is with a really nice tutorial for you. Our first Customizing with Oliver + S post for 2013. Thanks so much, Nele!


Hello there! I’m Nele from Ghent, Belgium. I blog at Spiegelstiksels about my sewing, mostly for my four children, sometimes for my husband (and little for myself, too). I’m honored to be invited here to show you how to customize the school photo dress into this scalloped version.


scalloped school photo dress 8


Let’s start by getting a better look at the pattern. The only piece we’ll be adapting is the front yoke piece.


scalloped school photo dress 1


As you can see on the picture, I copied the pattern, adding a little length (+/- 1 inch) for the scallops. I also find it useful to work with a double pattern (opened out instead of cut on the fold), which makes it easier to get an idea of the result in advance.

On the picture you see three lines on the new pattern piece. The blue line is the original edge, the pink line is the original sewing line and the yellow line is where the front panels will match when attaching.

You will also need a little facing for the scallops. This is a copy of the bottom of the yoke pattern piece: it matches the yellow line.

The last piece is a template for taking over the scallops onto the fabric. To draw these you measure the pink line, minus the 1/2″ seam allowances and divide by 5.


scalloped school photo dress 2


Now let’s get sewing. Pin the facing to the yoke, and mark the stitch line for the scallops with tailor’s chalk.


scalloped school photo dress 3


Stitch along this line. Of course, you could also pin your template to the fabric and leave it there while sewing. When you get to the point  between two scallops, pivot the needle and take one horizontal stitch (something I forgot). Then trim the seam.


scalloped school photo dress 4


Turn, and give it a nice press.


scalloped school photo dress 5


Pin the yoke to the front panels. On the back side, the edges of the yoke facing and the front panels will match.


scalloped school photo dress 6


Edgestitch through the three layers of fabric and you are done with the front side of the dress. Finish the dress following the rest of the pattern. For this version I skipped the collar.


scalloped school photo dress 7


That’s it. I hope it inspires you to get customizing. Have fun!

Thanks a lot, Liesl, for inviting me over. It was a great honor!


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  1. Sharon K

    Thank you!! I bought the this p[attern just because of this dress! I will be making on this next week. 🙂

  2. Thanks so much for sharing this tutorial! I’ve admired the dresses and wondered how to get the effect! Really cute!

  3. Maggie

    Beautiful! I want to add scallops to everything now.

  4. I too got this pattern based on this dress. Thank you so much for the tutorial!

  5. This is darling.. and would be so cute sleeveless too!

  6. Yes, I did see that on flickr! Nicely done, Nele! I can imagine all sorts of ways to use a scallop like this now. Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. I adore this,thank you Nele!

  8. Karen

    So clever! Thanks for the great tutorial.

  9. Thank you all for your nice comments 🙂

  10. That’s so cute! Thank you for a great tutorial

  11. Thanks for sharing! I can’t wait to try this.:)

  12. Beautiful! What a fun little changeup!

  13. Elizabeth Vancura

    Gorgeous! Can I also ask where the amazing owl fabric is from?

  14. I bought it at last test. It’s from kokka

  15. test? Year! Sorry Dutch autocorrrect.

  16. Chrissie

    It would also look very nice if one repeats the scallops on the sleeves..

  17. Sarah

    So cute Nele! I like it better than the original! For the owl one, is the front just one piece of owlfabric? It doesn’t look like lots of panels so maybe just clever cutting!

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