Saturday, May 10, 2008

How to Smock!

I love smocking! I remember watching my mom prepare her fabric and roll it onto a broom handle. I also went to college for Fashion Design and took fine sewing classes and Heirloom sewing classes. I watched a Martha Pullen video on smocking once.... I vaguely remember it.
Once I had little girls of my own I deeply desired to smock for them. Then after that I subscribed to Sew Beautiful Magazine which has many smocking plates-stitch patterns in them so they are worth the money for that and the patterns inside them. Plus invaluable How To instructions!
My first dress I made is pretty poorly done. But after practicing and just doing it... I feel like I can smock anything I want to. I still need fine tuning of course. In fact I finally figured out bullion rose stitches, those are tricky! I love taking my freshly pleated fabric off the pleater. This is the exciting moment when I see the fabric and all the millions of possibilities of what I can do float through my mind. It is the same when I lay out a piece of fabric to cut it! Weird I know... I must be a fabric junkie, getting high on it! LOL
I found some places where they have tutorials.
the first one is Hot Mama's House, with a step by step on pleating. I usually follow the step by step in the pleater instructions, these are similar I think.
This site Creative Keepsakes has individual stitch directions. The key to smocking is the stitches catch the tops of the pleating and snuggly hold them together in a design.
They also have a No Pleater project Smocked gift bag pattern which could be a fun beginning get you started project. Since a pleater is a big investment starting at over $100.

I also collect all Vogue little girl patterns that have smocking. They include a dotted iron on to pleat by hand and step by step instructions that are really great.
My Pink dress has smocking adapted from a Vogue smocking plate.
Maybe I will do my own step by step in the future... until then I hope this is helpful and inspiring to you. You can do it too!


Lorajean said...

I love heirloom dresses! :) your smocking is so beautiful! thanks for all the links and info!!

An Ordinary Mom said...

Your talent is beyond AMAZING! Wow, very impressive. I have trouble even sewing a straight line.

cally said...

Total Intimidation. Thanks for the info...I am definitely intrigued, but chicken.

You are talented.

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