Shell Stitch Edging Tute

I am on the last leg of Miss Lily's outfit. All bullion roses are done. The jacket is hemmed. The dress got its Biz soak and is drying as we speak. Now we needed to make a slip. I don't always make a slip to go with my outfits but this hankerchief linen is quite fine and sheer. I still have loads on hand so cut out a small slip for under Miss Lily's dress. I do this very simply. I drafted a slip bodice using a tried and true dress pattern some time back and I find I get so much use out of this little sloper. Sometimes I make the slip with a gathered skirt as I did on Rhianon's Christening gown, but in this case, I chose to do an A line, simply extending out from the bottom of the armscye. I then true up the skirt giving it a slight curve on the sides. This up curve is usually seen on heirloom garments for babies as the baby is usually seen in the garment seated or held and a straight across hem would actually dip at the side seams. The rise in curve is about 3/4s of an inch. I make this slip by extending one side of the front shoulder about 2 1/2 inches. Velcro is then used on that shoulder as a closure. I use a very soft iron on velcro recommended for doll clothes. It is very soft. All edges of the slip are shell stitched for finishing and I thought I would share my technique. There are a couple of ways of going about this, but this is my preferred. I choose not to use the rolled hem foot. I am working with such short lengths and v. ravelly fabric that I find this technique works best :

  • Fold and press the edge to the wrong side a little over an eight of an inch. Press well. I use a clapper to get it as flat as I can.
  • Fold the edge again a little over an eighth of an inch and press well again.
  • Go to the machine and baste down the center of the fold with a stitch length of 4.5 or hand baste. Press again. I use fine size 60 100% cotton for all of this sewing as well as a size 10 sharp neeedle.
  • I then set the machine with a high tension setting. I used a 6 1/2. My machine is set for a blind hem stitch and on my machine I reverse it to get it stitching correctly. (Pfaff) The stitch width if 5.0 and the stitch length is 1.0. The right swing of the needle goes into "air" on the right side of the edge. The left swing goes to the other side of the fold. If the tension is set high enough, this should cause the fabric to pull in and make the "shell". This is s l o w sewing.
  • If you have to cross heavy seams, french seams here, clip them at an angle for the 1/4 inch of the folded area to eliminate bulk.
  • Remove the basting carefully.
  • Press well, but don't kill it. I put the right side against a fluffy towel.


My 12 year old Rowenta died this afternoon. We are going out first thing tomorrow morning to get another one. I am crippled until then.


My next project is a really neat belt I saw over the holidays. I did get the pattern made up for this and will share as soon as I get a little further along in the process. An iron would help!.....Bunny


  1. Everything is so lovely, dainty, and pretty! On the slip, I'm not sure I'm following, but if I am, I'm thinking one would want that "curve" on any garment, heirloom, or not, baby or child, and probably adult too?

  2. Just love it, thanks for the tutorial! Always wondered how that is done... The only problem I have, is that my machine does not let you reverse stitches. I hope it won't be to awkward to do it the wrong way... I love the look it gives, could be used for so many things. Would be real nice for scarfs and such things too, I guess it would be nice on all things you normally would use a rolled hem or narrow hem on...


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