Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Smocking, Pockets, Patrones, and Weights

May very kindly offered me an extra copy of the September Patrones and of course I jumped at it. It's a great issue, with a special section of coats and also of high-waisted skirts and pants as well as the usual mix of garments. It's so interesting to see the designer garments they feature. I will have a hard time deciding on one garment to try first. You can see the issue in the photo below, along with several other interesting things.


I got more weights from my darling brother. I especially like the smaller, amoeba-shaped ones. They fit nicely in the hand, and are a perfect shape for corners of pattern pieces, and for odd curves, etc. They're so nicely polished and smooth and just kind of fun to hold. Like the first long strips, they're stainless steel, as are the narrower, curved-end strips at the top.

I went to a Sewing Guild meeting last night, and our program was so good. Carla Fiedler, one of our members, is a very serious smocker. She did a Trunk Show for us, showing probably 25-30 smocked garments and a few purses, pillows, Easter eggs, and heirloom quilts incorporating smocking that she'd made. Very inspiring, as all of her construction is just as meticulous and beautiful as her smocking. The group's choice for most fabulous piece was a First Communion dress in silk with smocking as well as many heirloom techniques which she made for one of her daughters. It was just breathtaking, and obviously an heirloom in its own right.

She then taught a short introduction to smocking. She provided pleated swatches, or as she called them "doodlepatches" and needles threaded with floss. We learned to do an up-cable and down-cable and traveling stitches. I can see that it would be fun to do a real project, and was especially intrigued by a photo of somewhat abstract smocking from an Australian Smocking & Embroidery magazine she passed around.

I learned two other related techniques that were new to me as well. One is a method of knotting your thread that's very much like a french knot, and the other was a method of separating strands of floss called "Strip and Squeak". It's been a long time since I separated floss, but I always have just done it the way my grandmother taught me when I was a little girl. This is much more fun, and looks like a better method as well.

Finally, a photo of some coat progress. This is the interfacing attached to one pocket and flap. Since the photo was taken, they've both been finished, the edges pressed in place, basted, topstitched and ready for the lining. I need to cut out my lining for everything so I don't do the pocket pieces from the wrong spot.


Although The Peep was on his appointed rounds again last night, I'm glad to announce that there were no gifts in the garage this morning. After reading the comments from all of you cat lovers, I'm relieved that he didn't bring the rabbit into the sewing room for safe-keeping. Not that he had the chance, thank goodness.

Last of all, I ordered something today that I've been wanting for a long time. I've been suffering with an iron on its last legs for quite a while now (it got knocked off the ironing board, and since then the steam only works when you push the burst-of-steam button, but then the button won't come back up so you have to reach in with a pair of tweezers and pull the stem of the button back up - see how I suffer!) and its replacement is on the way. I took a recommendation from a Guild friend on what to get, so I hope I like it as much as she does. You will see it when it arrives.

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kbenco said...

Oops, my comment seems to have vanished, sorry if it shows up as a repeat. I am pleased that you have tried smocking, and hope you start a project soon - I would love to see it!

Anonymous said...

Those pattern weights look like swanky modern art sculptures!

That patrones is sitting right by sofa and I keep longing flicking through it. The high waisted skirts look really inviting.

Summerset said...

That is a great issue of Patrones, I've already made one skirt from it and plan on more things when I'm done with my large project. A new iron - now that's a great thing.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading about the trunk show with smocked clothing. How interesting that the presentation included a hands-on project for the attendees....just a little teaser to show people how easy and fun smocking can be.

Anonymous said...

The "french knot" knotting method is what costumers use for knotting...it's secure and clean. I volunteer in the Boston Ballet costume shop, and that was one of the first things they taught me!