Once upon a time, way back in 1990, Martha Pullen sent me a fragment of an antique petticoat and asked me to recreate the technique. Surprisingly, I had seen the technique several years before on an apron, and at that time I had examined it and figured out how it was done. So when I received that petticoat, I already knew how it was done! (Have I said before that I really enjoy the engineering part of sewing?!)
Well, I made one small pillow with this clipped-and-folded-and-stitched tuck technique, by hand, the way the original was done. And I realized that I had to find a way to do this by machine! So I did! I made garments with rows and rows and rows of these triangular tucks.
At the time, my children were very young. We lived near the original Bass Pro Shops, and sometimes, on rainy days, we would go to the store for fun. The kids could watch the fish in the huge aquarium and climb on the boats and in the tents. There were waterfalls and trees and even a stream running through the store. And there were taxidermied animals everywhere! One day, while I was in the midst of making those rows and rows and rows of white triangular tucks, we walked into Bass Pro, and there was…the Great White Shark, mouth open, with rows and rows and rows of white triangular teeth! And the name “Shark’s Teeth” was born!
This was my first article in Sew Beautiful, in the Summer 1991 issue.
I wanted more samples, so I made a dress for Annie and a shirt for David.
I was scheduled to teach for the first time at the Martha Pullen school in July 1991 . I was so nervous I couldn’t sleep and my stomach hurt. This magazine had come out just weeks before the school, and while the technique was too new to have been included in any of my classes, I did demos of this new technique at the Table Top Clinic evening event. I was swamped with some 350 students, plus many teachers and assistants and employees. I lost my voice that evening! Twenty-five years later, Shark’s Teeth remains popular, and I’m proud to have named it!
I’ve taught Shark’s Teeth so many times I could do it in my sleep! Now it’s included in my Heirloom Sewing Essential Techniques Craftsy class. (Click here to take the class for just $24.99, a 50% discount!)
Do you see the linen shirt-jacket on the dress form behind me? Well, I needed some updated samples, and more adult garments for class samples. This is my newest Shark’s Teeth garment.
I used the StyleArc Marley Woven Shirt pattern. This pattern is also available as a PDF on Etsy.
While I rarely wear boxy jackets myself, I knew this would be a good pattern to showcase some rows of Shark’s Teeth along the front opening.
I used a rust-colored handkerchief linen that has been in my stash for a long time. I used a size 10 pattern, because that’s the size of the mannequin, but it’s too small for me, so bear that in mind when looking at the photos of me wearing it. I would need a size 12 or 14, and as with most StyleArc patterns, I would increase the biceps circumference. Otherwise, the shirt is great! Here it is worn open…
You can see here that the dart points are too high – if I had been making this for myself, I would have lowered the darts, in addition to using the larger size.
Here’s the back – again, a shirt that’s too small for me. But it’s nice to see garments on a real person!
One thing I really like about this pattern are the deep hems and slits at the side seams and at the cuffs.
The rest of the photos show details, but the color is waaaaay off – sorry! These are the slits and deep hems.
I used French seams for all the seams, so the inside is nicely finished.
Instead of hemming the fronts as indicated on the pattern, I made a facing the depth of the hem. If I had used a hem, the tucks, if folded under, would have been quite bulky. A facing eliminates that bulk. And I slip-stitched the front placket edges to the seamline of the innermost tuck.
The collar stand on this pattern was different than any I’ve done before, but it worked nicely.
All in all, a great pattern, and a time-tested technique!