Not Your Granny’s Smocking

Posted on: 25 July, 08

AnthroSmockedTop This top from Anthropolgie was just too adorable to not be in my wardrobe.  Of course, I had to change it.  The little ruffle at the sleeve is cute, but a little too cutesy for me.  When you are barely tall enough to ride anything scarier than the tea cups, you need to shy away from the “cutesy.” 

When I want to hack a pattern, Ottobre is my first choice.  This was an easy hack.  I started with 02/07 #4.  The math was the hardest part.  How much to add to center front to account for the smocking.  First, I put the photo up on my larger computer screen.  Then I did some measuring and used the old ratio formula to get the proportions right.  Of course, there is no substitute for a test sample.  I grabbed a scrap and experimented a bit. 

There are eight rows of pleats.  Each pleat is about a half inch total.  That meant I needed to add 4 inches to the center front.  Each pleat was basted by hand.  That took a while, especially for someone who prefers to do *everything* by machine.  🙂  Then I pinned each row in place, one row at a time and stitched in place.  All that stopping, starting, and clipping was not speed sewing.  The rest was just regular tee sewing. 

(You can click on the photos to go to a larger image.)

I wanted the sleeve to have a floaty, delicate feel.  The sleeve from Simplicity 3622 was perfect.  The fabric is a very thin interlock from SR Harris.  A coverstitch felt too heavy, with all of that thread.  My Viking Lily has a “lightening stitch” which is a sort of very narrow back and forth zig zag.  It gives a nice stretchy hem that is perfect for lightweight knits. 

This smocking treatment would be scrumptious in a velour.  Contrasting thread and little decorative stitch flower would add an adorable touch for a little girl. 


11 Responses to "Not Your Granny’s Smocking"

Oh. My. God. That is an adorable shirt. I want to make one. I need to get Ottobre patterns, for sure. How cute!

This is wonderful, teri, the fabric and design. Great job.

Teri, your top is adorable! I would be very interested in a more detailed description of the smocking part. I like your version the best!

I love your version. That is a great top. Someday I’m gonna look at a garment and figure out how to make it! You are inspiring. g

This looks great!!!!

Your version of the top is wonderful! I have a top with similar smocking that I am wanting to duplicate. Thanks for the inspiration!

Teri…wonderful hack!

It’s fun to manipulate tucks. Sometimes it’s easier (if you have enough fabric) to make the tucks first on the fabric before cutting the pattern.
..and then sometimes you just have to do the math 🙂

You’ve inspired me to do a “topstitched tuck” or “tacked tuck” top for….(sit down, lol)…me! Yes…today Sunday 7/27, I will sew something for myself. If you feel the earth shake, now you’ll know why 🙂

Fabulous. Just fabulous.

Hi teri,
Here’s a big hooray from a long time traditional smocker. If you look to the history of smocking, it was used to give shape and control the fullness of the large rectangles of linen that were sewn into a work shirt for a typical farmer/labourer. It became both a way for their wives to show of their needleskills as well as to identify the wearers profession, sheep on a shepherds smock, cows on a farmers smock etc. If you want to see a history of smocking in paintings go check out the list Beth has put up. Someone was researching the history of specific stitches and put the list of paintings together and I thought someone here (all of us with loads of time on our hands LOL) might like to see it.

I am on my way to work out the ratio for some little girl knock-offs of that anthropologie top myself.

Wow, that looks amazing… definitely more adult than the Anthropologie version but still very beautiful. I had no idea that technique was even called smocking… I was googling around aimlessly, and coming up empty handed, so I’m glad you found my post and brought my attention to yours!

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