SHELL TUCKS/PICOT EDGING……..JUST THE TECHNIQUE FOR A SUMMER ROBE

During those hot days of summer, I also made a summer robe with “silky” african print fabric  – with a matching strappy nightgown.  This set is probably OK to wear in Vancouver. This fabric is quite soft & drapes well. However, being quite synthetic, it does not “breathe” well and so may have limited use in very hot weather. I had hoped to take it with me on my vacation later this year but I am having second thoughts on the wisdom of this – I think I might have almost forgotten that cool cotton may be much more suitable during an African summer!

This robe was the Mccalls #2022 mentioned in the previous post (7th September: Minkee robe).  I chose to use an alternative edge treatment on this fabric as I felt this soft fabric was suited to a shell tuck or picot edge.

PICOT EDGE TREATMENT using black sewing thread in needle & bobbin

All I did was turn over the fabric edge about 1/2 inch and press. The fabric is very synthetic so the pressing did not hold the fold well. I did not want to have the iron too hot in case I melted the fabric, so I did use pins to hold it in place. Then from the RIGHT side, I did a shell tuck or scallop/picot edge along the folded/pressed edge.  This is done using the blind hem stitch on your ELNA sewing machine. Sew along the folded edge with the “bite” or swing of the blind hem stitch to the right going OFF the folded edge of the fabric into “air”.  This is necessary to form the shell tuck properly.

DIFFERENT SIZE SHELL TUCKS ARE ACHIEVED BY ADJUSTING MACHINE SETTINGS OF THE BLIND HEM STITCH

This edge treatment gave a pretty scalloped or picot edge to the front edges, neck, hemline & sleeve edges of the robe.

Shell tucks are actually quite easy once you know how to set your sewing machine up to get the best results. here’s how to do it.  If your ELNA sewing machine as a blind hem stitch, you can do shell tucks:

  • Select the blind hem stitch on your ELNA sewing machine.
  • You do not need the Elna Blind hem foot G – the regular Elna sewing foot A will be just fine.
  • You will need to increase the needle thread tension way up – probably all the way to 9 but play with this till you get optimum results. This is important: unless the tension is high, the “bite” of the blind hem stitch OFF the folded edge will be real wimpy and not produce a pronounced shell tuck or scallop.
  • You will also need to adjust the SW and SL to get the size of shell tuck you are looking for. See the pic above: smaller tucks had a shorter SL and SW; bigger ones had longer SL & wider SW. This is not a cookie cutter thing: play with the settings as different fabrics and threads will give you different results. That is the fun part for me: I like to see what I can produce just by playing with machine settings.
  • After doing the stitching, I pressed the edges well and then sat with a pair of BLUNT nose heirloom lace scissors and cut away the excess fabric of the folded hem on the back. I cut right up close to the stitching as I realized that this fabric was not going to unravel much.  Just be very careful that you do not cut the stitching or fabric on the right side. You are only cutting what is remaining of what you turned under for the hem.
Do test sew the shell tucking/picot edge on your fabric choice as it may not always yield the same results. This type of edge does work better on thin, silky, sheer fabrics and woven fabrics where the edge is a bias cut. Also works well with knits (bias edge not necessary with knits). But it is probably not going to work as well on thicker fabrics such as denim or twill. So do a test before you commit yourself to the edge finish choice.
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About lizafrica

I am the National Education Manager for Janome & Elna Canada (including Artistic Creative products) and I LOVE to sew! I have been employed full time in the sewing and quilting industry for almost 30 years so I bring a wealth of sewing knowledge & expertise to this blog. I enjoy all forms of sewing from quilting to sewing garments to machine embroidery and software. Pretty much everything in my life is seen through the eyes of a passionate sewer! I am constantly on the look out for fun, innovative and inspiring ideas to share with you all on this blog. I also love to read, knit , travel and spend time with my family and friends.
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