Teal Dress, Part 3
Now that I've got the fabric marked so that I can actually deal with it, I can do the smocking. The type of smocking that I'm doing is called "direct smocking" or "dot to dot smocking". I'm sure there are other names for it, but this is different from "picture smocking", which is stitching worked over a piece of fabric that has already been pleated into tiny pleats. My mother in-law does the picture smocking and even has her own pleater for pleating the fabric. Picture smocking is exactly as it sounds - when you're done, you end up with cute little pictures of bunnies or ducks or whatever. It usually is worked from some sort of chart, too. Direct smocking uses the placement of dots on flat fabric as a guide to the stitching. Variations of direct smocking include different stitching orders and names such as "Canadian" or "North American" smocking.
The stitch that I'm working for this garment is a honeycomb stitch. Two rows are worked at the same time and are worked from right to left. The best fabrics to use are those that have some crispness and body. Cottons are very popular for smocking.
First, come up at dot 1 and take a small stitch.
Second, go over to dot 2 and take a stitch there, and bring dots 1 and 2 togther.
Third - this is very important to getting the fabric to be 3 dimensional (besides fabric choice) - stitch the two dots together - you'll have to take a deep stitch, as this makes and keeps the pleats in the fabric.
Fourth, put the needle back into the fabric at dot 2 and bring it up at dot 3. This dot is directly below dot 2 on the second row. Do not pull the thread tight, but keep it smooth on the wrong side. Repeat steps 1 through 3, but at dots 3 and 4.
Fifth, put the needle back into the fabric at dot 3 and bring it up at dot 5. This dot is directly above dot 4, back on the first row, again, don't pull the thread tightly, but keep it smooth on the wrong side. Repeat steps 1 through 3, but at dots 5 and 6.
Continue stitching across the row, alternating between first and second rows until the end of the row. If you're going to add beads, the time to do it would be between steps 2 and 3. Pick up a bead after step 2 and continue on with step 3.
Here's the finished product with some stitches done on rows 3 and 4, so that you can see the completed honeycombs or diamonds.
I'm a little over half way done with the front, and I'm pleased with it - hopefully, I'll finish it off tomorrow!
Parting Shots: Yesterday I mentioned some silk that I was planning on using for a dress, and here it is. I was able to get the silk from St. Louis - I actually picked it out, but because the shop was closing, Marji was gracious enough to go back the next week, get the fabric and ship it to me! I'm planning to make BWOF 5/07 #124 from it, with some creative use of the borders and dividers.