Monday, July 4, 2011

the shell hem

I hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July weekend. I enjoyed some relaxing and fun time wake boarding and swimming at the lake, and even got in a bit of sewing over the weekend! Life just doesn't get much better than that for me! :)
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!


Cynthia Gilbreth said...

Love the tiger tape trick! You can do a shell hem on the machine, but I have found it difficult to get right, especially around the small curved baby armholes and necklines. It may take a bit longer by hand, but it's so less stressful!

Sara said...

beautiful!!! This is my favorite finish to little baby slips!!!

santafebites said...

Hi, The tip about the tiger tape is just what I needed to read, I make headbands and embroider around the edge of some of them, I have been wanting a fast way to keep the stitches even without marking the fabric. This will be sew helpful.

Ellie Inspired said...

Great tip!! I don't care for the way my machine does a shell stitch. I will have to try this method next time! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing! I came across this post through my pinterest feed. So thankful for it. Great photos and instruction. I know I'll use this often and for many applications in clothing and even art work.

Blanca ST said...

Beautiful finish, love it!


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