Saturday, August 23, 2008

Smocking Again?!? 3

Installment three is here! Just in time for the weekend! Warning! Long, confusing post ahead!

Where did we leave off? Oh yeah! With me skipping a couple of steps to introduce you to Amanda Jane. Heh. Today I'll show you the steps I skipped, which, if you were going to make a bishop and send it to someone to pleat, you'd need to know.

First you'd want to sew the pieces together. Simple, I know. Necessary. Because I used a cotton sateen, it's a little more difficult, having to match shiny sides which are barely more shiny than the dull side. I can't tell you how many times I've had to unsew because I screwed up. As a beginner I recommend a poly/cotton batiste. I know, I know - I only work with cotton, linen or silk. I'm not a beginner. Don't frustrate yourself. Start with something doable.

First, let me show off my lovely sewing kit, which I've used for nearly 15 years:

Pretty, yes? Look at it's innards:

I just love having all of this semi-organized. None of it gets jumbled or spilled. Anywho, here's a shot of the piece in motion:

For the bishop I'm just piecing a front to a sleeve on each side of the front, right sides together. Then piece the backs to the sleeves, right sides together. Simple as can be. Follow the pattern instructions, please.

And I know I failed to mention it before, but using the right needle is vital. I use a Universal 70 or a 65. The smaller the number, the finer the point and shaft diameter (shut up!).

Back to the sewing, here's what the dress looks like after the pieces are put together, before the dress is rolled on a dowel and pleated:

Doesn't look much like a dress (it's folded in half at the center front so it will fit on the table - it's VERY long). It will be a bit before it does. Let me show you, now that we've come back to the pleating (which is next), what happens after the pleating is complete. Y'all, there are many more steps involved. Sure you're up for the ride? I'm only going to walk you through a few more today. Not ready to smock yet. Here's the pleated dress:

Now. The next step is fun. You pick up this dress, a straight pin and you pick. The ends. I'll show you in a second. You'll want to pick out the last four or five pleats on each side, making sure you pick out the same amount on either side, like so:

See it? Pick out that amount all the way down - in this case, all twelve rows. Now we can count. That's right - as in, we count the pleats. I heard you groaning! Put it down and walk away, then. You're done. Anyone else? Alrighty then. Last step is counting and marking center, then we're done for the day. K? Promise.

Take a pin - I use glass head straight pins. They don't rust and the heads don'
t melt under a hot iron. Take a pin and count 40 pleats. I count two pleats at a time, pushing the pleats to the left as I count. When you get to 40, slip the pin in next to pleat number 40. Keep counting, slipping a pin in at each 40. I'll show you in a second. When you're done, count the overall pleats. For me? I count the number of sections (Let's say it's 8 sections of 40, with 24 pleats left over - yes we're doing math - hush!). Divide the number of sections in half and the leftover number in half. Let's ee - that's 4 sections of 40, or 160 pleats, plus 12 extra pleats. One hundred seventy two pleats. So I go to the end of section four, count twelve over and mark with a pin of a different color. Take out all the remaining pins.

Now, before I get to the photo, let's mark the center. Thread a needle with a contrasting color of thread or floss and weave it in and out of the guide, or pleating, threads, straight down the middle where the center is marked. Leave a tail at top and bottom. Here, let me show you!

See? And there we are. The third installment. Next time I'll show you how to block! Woohoo! Please, feel free to ask questions. Or head to MeMaw's and ask her. She's a pro! Thanks, MeMaw, for your input! Let me know which issues your photos were in?

Until I write again ...



Weezee said...

oh my gosh and I thought a puppy was alot of work! More power to you girl, I am so impressed. I want to see the finished dress.

Anonymous said...

I've sewn a lot and hand pleated when the pattern called for it, but this looks overwhelming. I get it and eveything, but I'm convinced that leaving it to the experts is the thing to do! (that's you, Flea!)

dlyn said...

I think my head just exploded

ALF said...

My mom is great at sewing. I need to learn.

Lori said...

Um, ouch. The smocking thing, which is exquisite, makes my head hurt..not unlike dlyn's comment. Now I know why that stuff is so expensive!
I'm just here to say I LOVE the Jack Handy quote!

Mental P Mama said...

OMG. I now have a huge appreciation for all those smoked dresses I bought for my baby bird!

Anonymous said...

See, I always thought the pleating WAS the smocking. Back to Webster's for me, I guess.

Tanya Brown said...

Awesome! You're so talented!

Karen Deborah said...

That is the cleanest sewing box I ever saw, who care if it's a tackle box it's ORGANIZED!
That's a lot of work. Who is this for?

Snooty Primadona said...

Yikes! I flunked sewing in home economics class, lol. It's a sad but true fact about me.

Chelf said...

My jewelry box is actually a gear box that my dad used for his garage stuff. Lots of little tool-box places to keep screws, nuts, bolts and earrings. Seriously.

I love your tackle-sewing box!