mermaids

Smocking: The Untold Story

Posted on: 26 July, 08

I have had a request for more details on how I did the smocking, so here goes. 

Disclaimer:  I have never smocked before.  I have read a couple books on the subject.  I have piece of pleated fabric on which I had plans to practice stitches.  Sadly, the pleated fabric lays fallow in a drawer because I have never gotten around to playing with it.  One day.  Therefore, I am probably doing this all wrong, but it worked for, so I am going with it.  My apologies to all you smocking enthusiasts for anything that might offend your sensibilities.  Even if I knew the rules of smocking, I probably wouldn’t follow them anyway. 

Disclaimer, Part 2:  My apologies for the less than stellar photos.  These photos were taken with my camera phone because the battery on my camera was recharging.  (Really need to buy a second battery)  I was reluctant to use these photos because, currently, my computer is not playing nicely with PhotoShop and these photos were in desperate need of PhotoShop.  I had to use MS Picture Manager to edit.  Not my finest work and that is saying a whole lot. 

I knew with smocking, you sort of connect the dots to make the pleats unless you have a fancy pleater.  So, I measured and marked dots where I wanted stitch the fabric. 

In hindsight, I did not really need to do that, which I will explain later.  I then folded the fabric along one row of dots and basted about a quarter inch from the fold.  I folded along the next row of dots and basted, etc, etc.  This made a series of pintucks on the right side of the fabric. 

Keeping in mind that the neckline would have a binding, I pinned my first row for stitching about a half inch down.  The neckline curves, but I wanted the stitching to be perpendicular to the pintucks so I used a ruler to keep them straight.   On the top row, the tuck 1 and tuck 2 are towards each other, tucks 3 and 4 meet, etc.  I pinned all of those, then stitched with a straight stitch on the machine only stitching across the pintucks, not in between.  That meant lots of starting a stopping, lots of thread tails to clip.  For the next series, I measured down about 3/4 inch.  I found it easier to measure than it was to find those faint little dots, hence the reason the marking really wasn’t necessary.  Since this row needed to alternate from the last one, tuck 1 was folded away from the center, as if it were being folded towards tuck 0…which doesn’t exist.  tuck 2 and 3 were folded to meet, then tuck 4 and 5, etc.  The last pintuck was folded away from the center to mirror tuck 1.

It sounds way more complicated that it really was.  Once I had all the rows stitched, I pulled out the basting stitches and clipped the zillion thread tails.  Voila….a nifty little pattern.     

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