May Quick Tip!

May 16, 2018By Joanne BankoProjects, Sewing, Tips & Tricks 5 Comments Opinion by Paid Consultant

Time for another Brother Sews Quick Tip!

May Quick Tip

Note: Stitch shown above is from THE Dream Machine XV8550D.

The Shell Tuck Edge Stitch on your Brother machine is ideal for hemming light weight fabrics with a narrow hem and an added touch of heirloom elegance! This stitch looks somewhat ordinary on the screen of your machine but it’s quite beautiful when you see it on a finished piece of fabric. Note that this stitch works best on lightweight soft fabrics. It is particularly lovely when stitched on a fabric edge cut on the bias.

  • Set up your machine for ordinary sewing, using good quality sewing thread to match fabric. Select the Shell Tuck Edge stitch in your machine.
Note: Check your machine manual for the exact number of this stitch. It’s built-in to a wide variety of Brother machine models. Although it looks a little like a blanket stitch, it’s designed to stitch in a unique manner by skipping over a narrow folded edge and forming a scallop, thus the name “shell tuck.” My preferred settings are shown above but you can experiment with different settings. The upper thread tension needs to be tightened to get the scallop effect. I usually use a range of 8 to 9 which is the maximum setting.
  • To form the shell tuck begin by pressing under a double turned ¼” hem. Stitch the hem slowly, starting with the fabric fully inserted under the foot. Stitch so that the right hand “swing” of the needle skips over the folded edge, catching the hem and forming a scalloped effect. Practice on scraps of fabric before sewing on your actual project. See Figure #1.
May Quick Tip
Figure #1

I used this stitch to hem the vintage style slip in the photo below. Next time you need a narrow hem on lightweight fabric I encourage you to give this technique a try!

Joanne Banko


  • How pretty! Does it look nice on the reverse side as well? Any tips on making that narrow, double-fold hem? Thanks!

    • Hi Beal!
      Thanks so much for your note here! The opposite side of the shell tuck hem looks neatly finished. However, the stitch is not exactly the same on the wrong side and you will see the double folded turned up hem allowance so it’s not designed to have a reversible effect. Your question makes me think of doing a future tutorial with a few more options for fancy and functional hems. I can think of several off the top of my head 🙂

      I definitely have some tips for the narrow hem. To start with, you are probably aware of the narrow hem foot designed for making a really tiny hem. I like to pre-press the hem for a few inches before inserting it into the foot and add a thread tail at the beginning to help pull the fabric through when you start. I would say that the most important part of using this foot is to remember that it is designed for light weight fabrics and it takes a little practice to really get the hang of it. The more you do it the easier it gets. Brother support has a great video showing how to use this foot. There is a Brother foot available for machines with 5mm feed dogs and 7mm feed dogs. Here is the link for the video:

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