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...