Smocking

I somehow can’t find any previous mention of this on my blog, but for kind of a long time I’ve been working when I can on smocking a smock for miss Ky. That’s totally puzzling to me. However, it means new information is new!

I learned about smocking at a class last year and LOVED it. Love the look, love the effect, love everything. Smocking is period elastic. It uses strategically spaced tacking to create elasticity in such non-stretch fabrics as 100% linen. Also, it’s REALLY pretty.

Smocking is kind of an intensive process (in the way that neurosurgery is kind of challenging). The basic process is:

  1. Plot out a grid on the fabric in the area to be smocked.
  2. Tightly gather fabric in lines across the grid in parallel lines along the axis to be elastic-ized. Gathers need to be identical, so that the dashed lines are repeated down the fabric rather than alternated.
  3. Stitch in one of various patterns over the peaks of the gathers. Many, many options available.
  4. Stitch a different pattern across the peaks on the back (much simpler), optional in some cases.
  5. Remove gathers.
  6. (optional) Line or back with non-smocked fabric (reduces or negates stretch).

So… this is a bit of a process. Currently I’m smocking a square-necked chemise (smock), adding panels of smocking at the front, back, and shoulders of the head opening, and at the cuffs. Today I finished the front and started on one of the shoulders. The back was already done. This project takes a LOT of time, partially because my grid is crazy small. I wasn’t sure how much space between points made sense, so I did half-centimeters. I found out only later that this is basically crazypants. Oh well.

For those who know smocking, I’m doing a modified honeycomb stitch in metallic gold on white linen. For those who don’t, it looks like this:

smock front

In other news, I ordered a lensbaby and macro kit today in anticipation of a wedding this spring (I love lensbabies for weddings), which means I’ll be able to do more artsy detail shots. Yay!

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