Friday, July 12, 2013

Modern Smocking?

Notice this post is titled Modern Smocking?

 I few months ago a blog friend had her work featured in Sew Beautiful and of course I pinned it immediately then ran right out and bought the issue.  Then I saw that my pin had be repinned with a question about if this was why people thought smocking was old fashion or something to the like.

Now I confess the dress was out of a more old fashion fabric.  Actually much more old fashion then much of what is on her blog itself but the pattern was lovely and the idea of adding the smocking to the sides was great.

It made me think though what would modern smocking look like?  I think it has much more to do with fabric selection then it does style.  Ladies this is why we all have too many peasant   dress patterns bc we see those little indy designers make one out of great fabric and become convinced that it is something new and different that we must have.  So here is my first go.  The pattern is one I got for free out of the discontinued bin at my local shop.  The fabric is a polka-a-dot quilters cotton.  The embroidery is from the book Doodle Stitches.

Emily is a huge an of night gowns all year long but is the summer she will sneak up stairs and put one on at just about any point during the day.  The pattern is Primrose Lane Victorian Dreams for Girls.  I didn't make the bed jacket, left off the lace, and switched out the embroidery.
I did my best to match the floss colors to the dots while only using colors I had on hand.  I've been doing a good bit of cross stitching and had a good bit of floss already so for smocked nighties it must makes more scene to pick from what is on hand.  I went with sea life for the yoke since its summer and she loves to swim.

I just made up the smocking.  Well technically I started to do the plate that came with the pattern but decided that I did not want to make flowers or hearts so I went with a chevron type print since that is so very in these days.
For the back a did a bit less embroidery.  Just an octopus and some bubbles.  For the smocking I just did one stripe of each color.  I actually really like the way this looks as well.
So there you have it my fist attempt at making smocking a bit less old fashion.  That said I don't think looking old fashion is the only issue.  I also think that fewer people want to make things that take weeks or even months to complete when so much can be done in just a few hours.  If you fall into that group though please understand that once you learn how to do it its not that hard and longer projects can be quite rewarding.



  1. adorable as usual, see the infamous polka dots

  2. I could chat on this topic for hours. I had to go snooping on your Pinterest to see what you were talking about. (Incidentally, I bought that pattern in both size ranges about 5 minutes after it came out, and I used it for my older daughter's Easter dress in 2012.) Did you know that the gal who made the outdated comment is actually a smocking teacher? She used to run the Design Show at SAGA's annual convention. I don't think the SB dress warrants that commentary. It might not be quite my style, but it's not THAT bad! I wonder if that gal realizes just how public her Pinterest comment is. And who said smocking has a bad name?

    I think you're right; I think fabric choice is VERY important. Some people (like the those indy peasant dress designers) just have "it" when it comes to fabric selection and pairing. I also think smocking is much, much more common in the South than elsewhere in the country. On Facebook I see my old high school friends (in SC) dressing their kids in smocked clothes a LOT. Where I live now, in the midwest/plains, most people don't even know what smocking IS.

    This is certainly not your first attempt at modern smocking! I would label most of your smocking projects the modern variety. I LOVE the nightgown, by the way! I'm impressed that you smocked and embroidered the back. I've read that Doodle Stitching book, too! Did you know there is a sequel?!

    1. I have two of them so there is a chance I linked to the wrong book but I do love the one these came from. Sadly there are so many that I want to use but I forget that I want to when I'm buying fabric and get prints. Oh well maybe I'll get more done.

      I do agree that smocking is more common in the South and I don't think she meant anything bad by her comment it just got me thinking. I've got some more ideas and hopefully will get to them. Emily is not so into your traditional smocked dresses these days so I have to be a bit more sneaky.

  3. Oh this is adorable.. I really wish I would have learned to smock.. But never did.. Emily looks adorable in this.

    1. Perhaps your could take a class one day. I learned at my local sewing shop. It really is quite relaxing and even if your grands are too old to want the dresses you could do night gowns.