Not Your Granny’s Smocking
Posted 25 July, 08on:
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.