Thursday 3 February 2022

Smocking revisited

I was asked to make a first birthday dress for our friends'  little girl. It seems that my friends have noticed that there have been a few baby clothes sent their way and that I may be addicted to sewing cute little garments for small people who already have plenty of clothes. Naturally I had sudden delightful visions of something very ruffly, with smocking and maybe embroidery, seeing as I wouldn't have to iron it. The only problem is that it is about 10 years since I last did any significant smocking.

To overcome this issue, I made a practice dress, except it wasn't a dress, because the 10 month old recipient had only just started walking, and a crawling baby tends to have a bit of trouble with a dress, so I made a romper.

I had a lovely time persuing my collection of Australian Smocking and Embroidery magazines, and in consultation with the baby's mother, came up with a combination of patterns:

Issue 87 Serious Fun

and Issue 72 Lollipop

I didn't really like the construction details for the cross over bodice for Serious Fun, and think that the bodice ruffle is both a little too large for a slightly sub size 1 baby (pattern is sizes 1-2) and also a very tight gather, but other than those mild quibbles, find this a pretty and practical garment (admittedly overtrimmed, but I am a bit trim deprived lately, making boring work clothes) . I did use snap tape instead of buttonholes at the crotch seam.


The main fabric is cotton quilting fabric, and the ruffle is a high thread count cotton sheeting. The pattern fabric calls for damask, which is usually a heavier fabric that the sheeting I used, so the ruffle could definitely be a bit shorter without any loss of frilliness. 

My smocking construction skills definitely needed a refresher. See my buckling seam between the smocking and the bodice ? I used to use an iron on tape for this placement, prior to sewing, but didn't have any to hand. I plan to baste a lot for the next one. I told myself firmly not to unpick this as it is a practice garment, and I'd already had to patch up a big slice I put in the front bodice (due to having no more of this fabric to cut out a new one) but it was difficult to resist the urge to re do it. Fortunately this garment does not live at my house and I won't see these sewing glitches glaring at me very often.


I tried to get an action shot, but there was a lot of action. You know the idea that if you can't see it from a galloping horse it doesn't matter ? I hope this applies to the active toddler.

Her walking skills improved dramatically between the start of construction and the finished garment (about 2 weeks). I think I am set for a dress for the birthday party. I am planning to both avoid slashing errors with my constructed dress parts and also to have a much better seam between the smocking and the rest of the garment.


Lyndle said...

Gorgeous! Always love your smocking. And your blog! Good to see you back!

Summer Flies said...

So pretty. I’m impressed with your skills. I can’t wait to see the dress.