Sunday, September 22, 2013

Smocked Bishop dress and a card

A wonderful young woman with a love of old fashioned needle arts is in my knitting group. She recently gave birth to a daughter and while pregnant, commented on her love of smocked garments which aren't prevalent in this area, in this era.

Once upon a time I would have bought Imperial Batiste and gathered the fabric on my own smocking pleater.
Quality fabric is important when running it through a pleater. Joann's is fine for many things, but this level of quality isn't found in their yard goods. I suspect my long unused pleater may need new needles before tackling another project and they would need to be ordered. The needles are fine and if you run roughshod through the process of turning the pleater wheel, they will crunch and break. Not good, not good at all.

Thank goodness I discovered Meredith's Closet, an Etsy shop of ready to smock items. I order a 12 month size dress in a color called Butter. I pulled out my stash of long unused smocking designs which are called 'plates' rather than patterns. This is not the design I used, but is a sample of what a plate looks like.
Before I could begin to smock, the center of all those pleats had to be found. Each pin represents 10 pleats. The threads you see are gathering threads, usually quilting weight threads that are tied off on either side of the area to be smocked.
Here you see the pleats both scrunched up and spread out. The pleats should slide easily on the gathering threads. Smocking is worked from the left side of the garment to the right, but the needle enters the top of the pleat from right to left.
Reading the plate came easily to me when I learned to smock because I was accustomed to counted cross stitch and knitting charts.

The color is a bit off (too strong) in this photo, but shows the completed dress with a deep hem which is traditional in these dresses.
Here is a close up of the smocking itself. I was pleased with how it turned out, and more importantly, the mommy who received this dress was very happy.
The that I made to accompany this gift was another tri-shutter card. I seem to be stuck on them lately but they have been turning out well and use a variety of cute scraps and embellishments.

1 comment:

Sewconsult said...

Looks great! I have not pleated anything for a few years, but when I did & before I do, I always run a piece of wax paper through. That not only releases any thread fuzz or dust, but also make the needles move through the fabric more easily. BTW, I always do my bishops in a circle, but a sewing friend does her in a straight line (as in a yoke) and then spreads it out after removing the pleating threads. I put in a line of cables at the top, then I start in the
midpoint in the front of each row & smock from center to back. Then turn upside down & smock from center to back in the other direction. This keeps the tension of the stitches from causing the pleats to drift in one direction. I can't remember where I learned this trick, but I liked the results, so that's the way I do it. Now, I have a hankering to do some smocking.