December 10, 2012

To smock

As you may have noticed, I'm a pretty accomplished seamstress. Of course, that doesn't mean I can do everything, clothes-making wise. And I've just begun to learn something new: smocking.

Some months ago, I brought wool and this pattern (from Margriet magazine from 1950) to my grandmother who had kindly volunteered to knit me another sweater (the first one was from a modern Phildar pattern). 
She found the pattern easy to follow and didn't mind the small gauge but she was worried about one thing: the page with the schematic drawing for those smocked bits was missing. She first gave the completed sweater front to my mother, who passed it on to me. 
I had never smocked in my life. Fortunately, she'd given me a little booklet (in German) on this technique a couple of years ago (in a bag of her old sewing supplies). With the help of this page, I managed to make this:

I know it doesn't look quite the same as in the picture but, believe me, the amount of stitches and their spacing are right. To get this, I basted at every two stitches. I also tried basting at every three which made the smocking look more like the picture but took up a lot more space on the shoulder than it should. The way it is now, the width (both in resulting width and in amount of stitches used) and placement are about right. 
Once I got the hang of it, this basic smocking wasn't difficult at all.

The booklet also contains a lot of information about decorative stitches and how and where you can use them.

Although I don't care for the heirloom baby girl look mostly associated with smockwork, I am tempted to try and use it in some way...


  1. Yes, I can imagine lots of possibilities for well-placed smocking. It can really be beautiful. I imagine a white on white summertime tunic, smocked neckband decoration. Turquoise and silver jewelry. Yes, I can see it.

  2. How very interesting, a smocked sweater. I've never seen that before.

    Anyway, I nominated you for an One Lovely Blog Award a couple of days ago and forgot to inform you! Oops.

    I realize it’s a bit of a chain letter thing that not everyone want to participate in. But as I do enjoy you blog, I thought at the very least by nominating you more people might find and get to enjoy it too.

    Anyway, should you wish to participate, you can find the One Lovely Blog Award rules and the award badge at my blog:

    Happy holiday sewing! Looking forward to seeing more of your self-drafted creations in the coming year! :-)