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Project 41: The basics

November 16, 2011

Pleating

After reading up on smocking for a few days it seems like the kind of tool I want in my future sewing arsenal. When I think about sewing garments the one thing that scares me the most is cutting and sewing accurately to get the right fit. Smocking is sort of a shortcut to that. It takes a wide piece of fabric and gathers it to fit snugly. The embroidered designs are just an awesome decorative bonus.

The first step in smocking is pleating the fabric. This can either be done by hand or by using a pleater. The photo above shows blogger Marie Grace hand gathering her pleats. She wrote a great tutorial for anyone who wants to try pleating by hand: Hand Pleating Fabric Tutorial. I’ll show you a photo of a pleater in action tomorrow.

The next step is to embroider the design. The design stitches are what ultimately will hold the pleats in the fabric together. A smocking design is called a smock plate. There are a few free smock plates around the internet. I chose to start with one called Snowflakes by Creations by Michie.

I guess it would be helpful to also get some fabric, thread, and embroidery floss, but Laurie had offered to provide all of that for me (thanks Laurie!).

Now it’s time to smock!

Photo by Marie Grace

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