Price: $39.95

Silk Organza

Roll over image for detail

While sometimes used as a fashion fabric, silk organza is a standout as an underlining. It’s crisp, it’s lightweight, it’s stable, it’s decently priced, and now that it’s available in the 54” width, it’s great as an underlining for full wedding gown skirts (no piecing required!)

Price: $12.50/yd



Silk Crepe de Chine

Roll over image for detail

Again, sometimes a fashion fabric, its usefulness goes beyond that – Silk Crepe de Chine is a marvelous underlining for soft fabrics (heavier weights of crepe, in particular), and it’s a beautiful lining. It’s got just enough grip to make it easy to work with, and the weight is perfect. 45" wide.

Price: $22/yd



Silk Charmeuse

Roll over image for detail

Once more, yes, sometimes a fashion fabric, but more familiar as a luxurious lining. 45" wide

Price: $25/yd



Fabric Sample Pack

The sample pack includes generous samples of silk organza, silk crepe de chine and silk charmeuse, all in natural white and black.

Price: $5



4” Gingher Embroidery Scissors

I’ve featured the ones with the larger thumbholes – I think they’re simply quicker to let go of. They’re nicely sharp (though not dangerously so); they’re essential when trimming lace and doing fine cutting. There’s nothing worse than less-than-sharp scissors that shred the fabric as you cut; it’s never a problem with these.

Price: $30

5” Gingher All-Purpose
Tailor’s Points

My friend Kenneth King has raved about these for years, and I can see why. While they’re relatively small and light-weight (which is nice), they’re very strong, and can cut through just about anything. If you’ve got serious trimming to do, they’re perfect.

Price: $32

8” Gingher
Micro-Serrated Shears

I can’t live without these. They cut through slippery fabrics with ease – no more of the fabric shooting away from you as you try to cut it. The micro-serrations (which are practically invisible; these are not pinking shears) somehow grip the fabric as you cut. I use them for everything, not just chiffons and charmeuses.

Price: $40

6" Applique Scissors

While I don’t use these often, I do think they help with jobs that involve close trimming. They’re nice and sharp, and a good weight; they won’t tire your hands.

Price: $32



A number of types of boning are available, and while poly boning and sew-on boning have their uses, it’s the 1/4 inch spiral steel boning that I rely upon the most. It’s nicely strong, and has the advantage of being able to be gently curved. It’s available pre-cut and tipped in lengths from 4” to 16”. You’ll need to create a casing for it, but that’s easily done with cotton batiste or something similar. Boning casing is available, but to my mind, it’s so bulky that you’re then faced with the problem of camouflaging it within the garment...

Price: $.90/pc



I do lots of hand sewing, and I love these needles. They’re the perfect length, they don’t arc, they don’t shred your thread...they go through every fabric just beautifully. There are 25 in the packet; open them carefully – once the thin foil wrapping has been opened, they tend to get a little unstable, so have some sort of a container ready. You do have to get used to threading them – the eye is small, but once you do, that won’t even be a consideration. And the Clover needle threaders work beautifully with them.

Price: $15
(25 pcs)


These come 200 to a box (a couple of boxes will be enough, until you’re hopelessly addicted to them...) These pins aren’t so long that they’re unstable (some long, very sharp pins are), and they go through any fabric with ease. Nothing is worse than a fabric that balks as you try to force a less-than-sharp pin through it – it never happens with these. And they’ve got glass heads, which means ironing over them isn’t a problem.

Price: $9.50
(200 pcs)


Nothing strengthens thread like beeswax, and here's a charming (and fresh) 2 oz. block of it, straight from the farmer who harvests the honey.

price: $5

Chakoner White Chalk Marker


There are a number of similar markers out there, but this is the very best - the tiny wheel at the bottom, which leaves a fine chalk line, doesn't distort or snag the fabric at all as you roll along. It's smooth as silk, and a pleasure to use. You'll love it.

PRICE: $15


Hook and Eye Tape

This is what I use when I’m creating a garment with an inner foundation. The circumferences of the garments are different, therefore two different closures are required. The outside one is generally a zipper, but this is what I use for the inside one. What I like about this tape is that the hooks and eyes are right along the edges; it’s the least bulkiest of these types of tape that I’ve found.

Price: $5/ft


Bridal Loops

Thank goodness it’s not necessary to actually make the loops that go down the back of a wedding dress – they come in tape form. They’re not always sufficiently sturdy, though, but these are. Of course, they have to be firmly sewn to the back of the dress, but the result is strong and attractive.

Price: $4/yd




This is sometimes called “real” grosgrain, milliner’s grosgrain, French grosgrain – but regardless of what it’s called, it’s essential when shaping an inner waistband. It’s also nicely strong for a waist stay. Petersham comes in various fiber contents, but this one – a combination of cotton and rayon – is my favorite. 1" wide.

Price: $5/yd



Chains for Classic
French Jackets

Weighted hems are nothing new, but a weight – sometimes in the form of a metal chain – not only orients the jacket (or skirt, or coat) downwards, it keeps it close to the body. It also serves as a counterweight to heavy buttons.

It’s not easy to find just the right chain – I think it has to be pretty, the appropriate weight (neither too light nor too heavy), and smooth (so that the fabric it touches doesn’t get snagged).I've found suitable choices in both gold-tone and silver-tone.

Price: $.70/inch




French curve

Well, I suppose it’s no surprise that there would be nice French curves in Paris! This one is similar to those found here, but it’s the one my Parisian colleague, pattern-maker Julien Cristofoli uses, so that’s recommendation enough for me.


Sleeve Head Tape

This is called “cigarette” in Paris (I think because it resembles what cigarette filters are made from; that’s the only thing I can think of!), and it is just lovely for sleeve heads. I like its softness. 4cm wide (just over 1 1/2in.).




Pin Cushions

Again, this is what Julien Cristofoli uses…it’s got a nice big surface for pins, and the metal band is easy to adjust.