I am just about finished with the BIG project I have been working on. If you have been following me on facebook, you have been able to see the progress I have been making. A few days ago I started showing my little trick for making a hand-stitched shell hem. I decided that I would add in a new tutorial in my sewing journal and do a little step-by-step guide for you.
First of all, some of you might wonder just what a shell hem is. Here is a picture of the baby slip to the dress I have been working on, showing what a shell hem is. Oh, and please excuse the quality of all my pics - I used my iPhone in not the best lighting.
Isn't it precious?
I just love a shell hem - it's so dainty and sweet!
When I first started working on this shell hem, I think I started and re-started the shell hem several times before I got the bright idea to make use of something from my sewing room that would aid in keeping the shells evenly spaced.
I am using what is called "Tiger Tape" to guide me in perfectly spaced shells! Tiger tape is well-known to quilters who use it for evenly spaced stitches, however, heirloom stitchers have found it very beneficial to heirloom stitching techniques too!
I was getting a little frustrated with my shells until I pulled out my tiger tape, then the project became so much quicker and easier, and fun! I just pulled off several inches of it and taped it to my fabric and instantly got perfectly spaced shells! By the way, you can purchase Tiger Tape from Martha Pullen Company.
One of my tips is to clip the tape between
the bars so that you can work around curves!
Creating the shell hem
Before you start stitching your shells, you must first turn under the raw edge twice. What I did first was to take my project to the ironing board and I turned under the raw edge and pressed it - approx. 1/8". I then turned it under again about 1/4" and finger pressed it as I worked my shells. (see previous picture above)
Take two stitches and pull the thread thru
Bring the needle up and over the folded edge
and to the other side - you will now bring your
needle thru the same hole
Pull thread taut to create the shell
loop the thread over the top again
and back thru the same hole
Pull thread taut to create the shell.
You are now ready to take two stitches
and move to the next shell.
Continue working that same sequence along the entire hem edge.
and there you have it, a beautiful shell hem!
I hope you enjoy my little trick and try your hand at the shell hem - try it, it's really alot easier than it looks!