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Thread: questions about hand smocking

  1. #1
    Super Member granny_59's Avatar
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    questions about hand smocking

    I never smocked before but I have some experience in hand embroidery.
    I have been reading tutorials about smocking up and down and started to pleat a gingham fabric. I go through every third square and it is pleating up very nicely.

    But I have tons of questions:

    What kind of embroidery thread do you use? How about Anchor stranded cotton and do you use the full strand or separate into thinner strands?
    How deep do you insert your stitches into the pleat and how do the pleats hold together if you use a picture smocking pattern that doesn't cover the full width? How stretchy is the smocked piece after removing the basting thread..........or does it fall apart???

    I would highly appreciate if you could tell me what works best for you. And of course I would love to see pictures of smocked items you made.

    Granny

  2. #2
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    I use DMC because it is what most plates refer to colorwise. Some will give alternative numbers for other floss. I smock with 3 strands, picture smock with 4( design inst. should tell you). You stitch in the top1/3 of the pleat. In the space between picture smocking you backsmock on the back of panel in a matching color. As far as how much it stretches-you draw pleats up and block(steam)them before smocking. When you remove pleating thread it will stretch some but should not be all stretched out of shape. I remove my pleating threads after I complete the garment. If you have any other?? please PM me and I will try to help.

  3. #3
    Super Member granny_59's Avatar
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    Thank you so much Bakermom. I KNEW IT.......... I have "wasted" hours with google but never came across the backsmocking! I just couldn't figure how the pleats are staying in place. I have tons of other questions but it is getting close to midnight on this side of the pond. :-)
    I will make use of your generous offer tomorrow.
    Granny

  4. #4
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    Try the site tipnut.com -- the art of smocking: How to guide ! It may help
    Last edited by llweezie; 06-18-2015 at 04:23 AM.
    llweezie

  5. #5
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    ....oh no, not another thing for me to experiment with! Always was fascinated with this technique......no, no, I will stick with EPP!

  6. #6
    Junior Member joycet's Avatar
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    I've been doing hand embroidery since I was a little girl. In fact I'm just finishing up 25 Wild Flowers of the Smokey Mountains. I took a class in doing smocking. I really enjoyed the class but never really understood how to do it. I have several pieces of fabric that's been gathered ready to smock but never got back to it. Maybe one day!!! LOL

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by granny_59 View Post
    I never smocked before but I have some experience in hand embroidery.
    I have been reading tutorials about smocking up and down and started to pleat a gingham fabric. I go through every third square and it is pleating up very nicely.

    But I have tons of questions:

    What kind of embroidery thread do you use? How about Anchor stranded cotton and do you use the full strand or separate into thinner strands?
    How deep do you insert your stitches into the pleat and how do the pleats hold together if you use a picture smocking pattern that doesn't cover the full width? How stretchy is the smocked piece after removing the basting thread..........or does it fall apart???

    I would highly appreciate if you could tell me what works best for you. And of course I would love to see pictures of smocked items you made.

    Granny
    I took sewing in college and we were taught to use DMC thread. I haven't hand smocked in years and can't help you with your other questions.

  8. #8
    Super Member granny_59's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geri B View Post
    ....oh no, not another thing for me to experiment with! Always was fascinated with this technique......no, no, I will stick with EPP!
    What is EPP?? Electric power plant? European peoples party? Lets hope it is not a sort of paper piecing I haven't done yet...................
    I just have to tell you how I got hooked to smocking. I recently suffered from a double sided pneumonia and I really should stop to smoke. Googled about stop smoking and came across these adorable dresses.......

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