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For the curious, I'm posting about smocking today. For those of you who could care less, have a nice day! There will be photos and everything. :D Neener, neener, neener!
A nurse at work will be grandmother to a baby girl soon (Thank GOD that someone's having a girl!) and wants to learn to smock. I offered to make a dress for the new granddaughter, as well as teach the nurse to smock. Double bonus! I get to smock for a tiny baby AND I get to teach! FYI, the last dress I smocked was over a year ago. WAY too long ago. And I thought I'd show y'all the progression of this project.
Let's start with the fabric! Fabric is so important in any sewing project, and especially for smocking. Okay, especially nothing. It's important in anything you make to select the right stuff. Ask Noble Pig about buying the right ingredients and see what she says.
As to fabric, my smocking instructor stressed that buying a better fabric was important, since the project would take so much time and skill. No point putting all the time and energy into a garment which will fall apart or feel strange. I tend to use only nicer cotton (100%), silk and linen. I prefer a nice Swiss batiste or cotton sateen. The fabric I'll be using for this dress is a lavender cotton sateen, meaning it has a bit of a sheen on one side and is a little heavier weight. Perfect for a winter dress. Isn't it pretty?
The first step was laundering. I know y'all aren't interested in seeing fabric swish around in the washer or tumble in the dryer, but I had to take this moment to show off my new washer and dryer. Hee. Last month my dryer started making a weird noise. I was about done with my cheap washer and dryer, frustrated that every load had to be dried at LEAST twice, that the laundry always stunk, no matter what I did to the washer or the laundry (I Googled, people). So I posted the set on Freecycle locally and went to Lowes. Well, after researching what's out there.
The Hunny wanted front loaders, but I've used them and don't care for them. Don't like the bending, and I refuse to pay 200 bucks a pop for platforms to make them taller. Give me a break. Someone's a marketing genius. "Yeah, Bob. Let's make this really cool washer and dryer. But make it uncomfortable to use! Then make people pay EXTRA for the box it sits on!" And buying special laundry soap? Not gonna happen. So I found Fisher and Paykel at Lowes. Check out the pair:
Aren't they lovely? They sound like jet engines taking off when they run. Not so loud, but they make that low whine and spin. The washer spins at some ridiculous RPM, getting out much more water to make drying easier. And the dryer! Check out its innards!
Shiny! Cool, huh? It gets better. Not only is it a top loader (YES!), but there's no lint filter! The filter is scraped while rotating and falls into this bucket:
Cool, huh? I love it! Best of all, it dries our clothes in one shot! *sigh* I'm in love.
Back to the fabric! Once washed and dried, I press it well with a steam iron. My Rowenta, to be exact. I loves my Rowenta. Right side in, so as not to make the sateen too shiny.
Once that's done, I find the pattern I'll be using (oh, alright - I already knew what pattern I'd use). It's from this wonderful Australian publication:
The photos in this smocking magazine are to DIE for. See what I mean?
That's the dress I'll be making, with the bullion roses in deep purple. Isn't it gorgeous? The magazine I pulled from my collection of sewing and smocking mags. It never hurts to have a few lying around the house:
I loves my sewing and smocking magazines. They make me feel all snuggly warm inside on cold winter days. Those days are just around the corner. Mmmm. And I think I'll stop here. It's Tuesday and I'm still recovering from the weekend. But I promise to update and share the blow-by-blow details of progress!
Until I write again ...