Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Smocking Post (with Laundry Thrown In)

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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 ...



Laura ~Peach~ said...

i love the smocking but my heart is broken I am not in your blog roll :( wahhhhhh wahhhhh wahhhh

Mental P Mama said...

I cannot wait to see the dress! And I have appliance envy now. Thanks.

Ellyn said...

Can't wait to see what it looks like.

Anonymous said...

That washer/dryer is to die for. I'm with Mama, I have appliance envy!

Anonymous said...

PS~ Tag!

Trisha said...

Those new appliances look wonderful! It is neat that the lint scrapes itself. What will they think of next?

Thanks for the step by step on the smocking - I have no idea how it is done and am looking forward to learning!

Karen said...

You know, I needed something else to fill my time. Seeing as how I love smocking but really have no idea how to do it, ought to insure that my family misses a few meals.

No seriosly, looking forward to seeing how it's done!!

Anonymous said...

As a former and very brief student of Flea's smocking instruction, I can promise you that Flea will make it look very quick and easy. However, I can tell you from personal experience, smocking a straight line is impossible. Flea is like one of those Olympic athletes who make a triple somersault in the pike position look easy.

Daryl said...

I have an award for you ...

Come and get it!


Sarah said...

Since I've started reading your blog a week ago, I've learned how to make microwaveable migraine headache soothers (that's what I call them anyways) and now smocking. Martha Stewart better watch her back!

Mighty Morphin' Mama said...

I spent some time reading back and catching up here, sounds like life is back to crazy around there. I too enjoy the busy rush, feels so good when you stop;)
Must feel good to have all the kids tucked away at school now and good to hear you got to spend some time with hubby.
I am really looking forward to watching the progress on the dress, I love smocking! I so wish I could sew beautiful things for my daughter...

Hope all is well with you,
bless you,

Anonymous said...

I totally have appliance envy. Seriously. Especially that iron.

Jan Parrish said...

Very cool Washer and Dryer. But I would so get that pedestal. I think it would save your back. But that's just me. :) DH can build one for less than half the cost though.

Hey, I though of you while ironing. I got some new curtains (the only thing I ever iron) and while my back was aching, I was thinking, "there are some people who actually like to iron - like Flea." :)

My grand baby is going to be a girl. she's coming in 96 days. Can't tell I'm excited can you?

Wonderful World of Weiners said...

You bought from Lowe's. Mr. Hallisicle will NOT be happy.


Anonymous said...

I. Seriously. Cannot. Believe. there is a smocking magazine! I'm not mocking the smocking but really??