The Shop is Open

Looking back through my years of posts, I’ve had many, many inquires as to where to purchase some of the specialty supplies I use. Some items are difficult to find, such as Gutermann gimp which is used in hand worked buttonholes. The gimp is available in multiple colors, but don’t worry about an exact color match.  It isn’t seen but gives a smooth base for the silk thread. My favorite silk thread for these buttonholes is Gutermann silk twist, R753. Red Rock Threads has a good color selection. I’ve written a detailed description of how to use gimp when making handworked buttonholes


Petersham ribbon makes wonderful waist stays, waistband facings and zipper guards. It’s usually a blend of cotton and rayon, but I’ve managed to locate a 100% pure cotton version. It’s a little heavier than the rayon/cotton version and is available in white, ivory and black. The narrow 1/4 inch version is wonderful for hanger straps to give extra support to strapless or heavy garments.

Grosgrain ribbon

While researching products, I was surprised to find much of what’s sold as beeswax for sewing is a mix of beeswax and paraffin. These cakes of pure beeswax are made from filtered wax.


Heavyweight muslin makes a wonderful and durable cover for a custom dress form. This is the muslin I use for the final cover. It tightens up when steamed, making small wrinkles in the finished form disappear. It’s also great for ironing board covers and makes a nice press cloth when working with wool.

heavy muslin

Helen Haughey and I teamed up to teach a class on French jacket construction in Palm Beach Gardens. We were looking forward to more classes but unfortunately the Corona virus had other plans. Thank you Sarah Gunn of Goodbye Valentino for the photo. Sarah chose a beautiful Linton tweed with a silk print lining. She describes the jacket she created during class here.


While the in-person classes have been suspended due to Covid, I am teaching via Zoom. Choose the project you would like to work on. Your class will be recorded and available for you to download and watch as often as you like. Send me a note to discuss details.

Creating a custom dress form has been a popular topic. Social distancing and travel restrictions make it necessary to also teach this via Zoom. I’ll lead you through the drafting process as you create a pattern to replicate your shape. We’ll pad the form and finish by installing the custom cover. Bodies come in all sizes and rarely match the model shape of a commercial form. Here are a few of the custom forms and a blog post describing the process. Message me for more details.

There are several more projects in the works. I’m finishing the Chanel inspired dress described in the last post and working on some interesting trims. Thanks to all for reading and stay well.

33 thoughts on “The Shop is Open”

  1. Awesome post. Loved it. I will be returning to it several times to do some research. I am going to check your classes also. darn covid !!!!!!!! then; we got hammered by Hurricane Hanna. Tons of damage to the house, but not much to the contents, so all of my sewing equipment is safe, but inaccessible while the house is restored….so lots of time for dreamy research. Thank you so much……………… 🙂

    1. Glad you are safe. This was actually scheduled to go live last week and then we got hit with the storm and no power or internet for days. Thanks for letting me know.

  2. So excited for the virtual classes! Already bookmarked this page too for the helpful shopping tips!
    Can’t wait to see the Chanel inspired dress!

    1. I’ll fix the link to Gutermann gimp tomorrow. Meanwhile click on one of the other product links. That will take you to the store and click on catalog. Sorry for the glitch.

  3. I’m thrilled your shop is open!! I’ve learned so much from you this past year. When it comes to fit, I couldn’t ask for a more trained eye. You even noticed a new wrinkle that I didn’t even know was there due to a swollen muscle!! I love my dress form and use her often. Zoom and COVID haven’t slowed us down one bit! Congratulations on your new store! 💕

  4. Congratulations on your new shop. I’m looking forward to continue working with you and creating couture together.

  5. I am so happy to find your blog, thanks to Goodbye Valentino. I have not sewn clothes in years, but I did sew seriously for a long time. Even seeing your selection of sewing needs is refreshing. There was a store in Austin, Texas years ago….Londons….that carried such, but those days are long past. Perhaps you will inspire me to resume sewing I loved. Now I quilt and stitch instead.

  6. Good to hear from you and with such helpful information. Regarding Petersham, i wanted to let you know that V W Rouleaux of London, England can provide Petersham and Grosgrain in a multitude of colours and base fabrics. They specialise in millinery trimmings. Their email address is http://www.vvrouleaux.com. Their shop is at 102 Marylebone Lane, Marylebone, London W1U 2QD, +44 (0)7224 5179.

  7. Hi Mary!

    Great post, as usual.
    So glad to see a source for cotton based Petersham ribbon! Very difficult to find the cotton version… Thanks for making it available, as well as the beeswax. Congratulations on your couture supply store, and you can count me in as a customer.

    Isn’t it so wonderful that we have the technology to connect in our era – especially in these troubled covid times…, and I’ve only just discovered the zoom potential, so more indepth studies will be possible for what I am interested in working in. (I had the chance to study with an embroidery artist from Britain recently! It was amazing!) It is fabulous that so many exceptional artists and instructors (such as yourself) are opening themselves up to sharing their knowlege through class structures and private sessions through zoom.

    Looking forward to seeing more of your fabulous work!

    Take care,

    1. Thanks so much Jacqueline. Yes, Zoom has opened up a whole new world. Maybe that’s one tiny good thing that comes out of this situation. It’s wonderful to have access to worldwide instructors without the expense of travel. It’s not the same as being there but is definitely an option. I love seeing your work and your finishing details are perfection.

  8. Hi Mary,

    Thanks so much for your blog. It’s lot’s of work on your part to share everything that you do! I am interested in taking a Zoom class with you. Making a french jacket or a dress (such as the Chanel one that you are currently posting about) would be of interest. How do they work and what is your fee?

  9. Hello Mary , I am working on my buttonholes ,I try to do 3 every night . I understand it takes about 100 to get near being goo enough . It’s a good COVID project . I have just ordered some GIMP from you so maybe by the time it gets to me in Australia I will bd worthy of using it 😉

    1. Thanks so much. It does take more than a few to get your buttonholes perfected. They do get better with practice and I’ve found gimp very helpful to get the stitches evenly placed.

  10. Thanks for this post Mary! I learned so much in your class with Helen. In addition to the many techniques I wrote about, I failed to mention the collection of couture products you offered. The 100% beeswax is divine.

    1. Thank you Sarah for your post about the class. Your jacket is perfect and the lining you chose takes it to another level. Glad you love the beeswax; it’s so much different than what is sold in the chain stores. I hope to offer in-person classes soon.

  11. Great idea! And goodness, so many beautiful colours of gimp! I want them all… even though I have an entire roll to myself which will likely supply me a lifetime worth of buttonholes 🙂 I actually think Zoom classes are a boon for those like me who are on the otherside of the world! Were my youngest a bit older I would be signing up 🙂

      1. One roll of gimp will last you a very long time. Since it gets covered the color isn’t critical. I heard the same thing and managed to buy everything I could find from suppliers who still had some.

    1. Thanks Melanie. Yes the Zoom classes make things easier during this time of limited travel. I had three boys and totally understand how your time is limited.

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