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Smocking Newsletter VOL. 8 ISSUE 1

October 6, 2005


Website: Garden Fairies Smocking & Needlearts Catalog

Smocking Newsletter - Main Fairy, copyright all rights reserved. Please respect my creativity and hard work and ask permission before you copy something from these newsletters for your non profit goup, I always ask that you quote me correctly and give me credit with a way for people to get back to me. Thank you.  IF you wish to quote me in a venture for profit please contact me separately concerning royalties.

ø¤º°`°º¤ø,¸¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø,¸¸, In this issue ,¸¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø,¸¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø

ø¤º°`°º¤ø,¸¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø,¸¸, Howdy ,¸¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø,¸¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø

Hello everyone. I know it's been a while since our last newsletter but wanted to reassure you that we're still here working everyday to fill your orders and answer your questions.  Please note we have had to change our email address <-- Beth

ø¤º°`°º¤ø,¸¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø,¸¸Washing Fine Fabrics¸¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø,¸¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø

Washing cotton batiste dresses is a chore our great-grandmothers just loved to do, and so should you. Ok so love is just too strong of a word to use concerning daily washing of clothes 100 years ago but there is something about handwashing that brings out the maternal energies like no other. To have your hands in water and soap, working the fabric from dirty to clean is an experience EVERY woman should experience.

I think young adults these days are incredibly spoiled by everything being almost automatic. The vision of the coming future with robotic appliances is also a daunting thought, but the ancient rhythm of hand washing clothes will always be the same. No machine can compare to the gentle touch of loving hands that know what they are doing.

Begin first by soaking the garment in warm water to release all the dirt and dust that has settled, rinse until the water is clean then add a gentle soap such as Ivory Liquid, Antique Quilt Wash, Nana's Soap, or Ivory Flakes to warm water and gently plunge the garment up and down to loosen the dirt. Soak if you need to get rid of stains. Rinse again until the water runs clear. If there are stains you may have to soak the garment overnight in what the ladies over the years have called the Biz Bucket*.

Roll in a towel to soak up the moisture, put in freezer (some suggestion somewhere) for a while before ironing. Iron dry with clean ironing board cover or a cloth to cover it, spray starch as you iron if you are going to wear it.  Do not use starch if you are going to put the garment away for storage.  We suggest you wrap your valuable antiques in Acid Free Tissue and store in an Acid Free box.  For more information on the care and feeding of antique garments please go to our Conservations Supplies.

*The Biz bucket is the term used for the solution to whiten antique whites. This gets out most stains. The "recipe" is as follows:

1 1/2 gallon of water as hot to the point of boiling

(Make sure your fabric can withstand hot water so doesn't harm the item - NEVER use hot water on silks)

1/4 cup Biz Bleach

1/4 CLEAR liquid dishsoap (no dyes)

To avoid soap bubbles put the water in the bucket first and mix well with a wooden spoon. Add your items and soak as long as necessary which can be up to several days. If the stains do not come out right away you may have to soak longer. To be most effective you should change the solution as it gets dingy and keep soaking.*

ø¤º°`°º¤ø,¸¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø,¸¸, Questions & Answers ,¸¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø,¸¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø

Here are some recent questions we've received about using Smocking Dots instead of a pleater to form pleats for picture smocking & bishops and constructing garments before smocking.

<<When do you put garments together, before or after smocking?>>

This depends upon the style of garment you are making and the time frame you have to sew as many ladies have a limited window of time to sew.
If a bishop dress you need to pre-construct before pleating by sewing the sleeves to the front and back with tiny french seams or serged seams. After smocking and blocking into shape you then finish up the dress by adding in the back placket, sew the back & side seams and attach the bias band. If you wish to totally construct the bishop dress before smocking you will have to smocking the top holding row in order to attach the bias band properly so as to make sure your pleats stay upright and not fall over. It's real tricky to do a bishop in the "ready to smock" style but not impossible.

A basic square yoke style or round yoke style is usually smocked first and then sewn together. Insert as well are completely smocked before inserting ... however for both of these styles there is a trick I learned while smocking for clients, you smock the first two top and bottom rows and then sew the pleated piece into the garment so the dress was all finished when the smocking was complete. If my hands were tired from smocking I would shift to the construction process just to change out of the repetitive motion mode of smocking. However, if the style calls for smocking into the armhole you should wait on attaching the smocked piece to the rest of garment until the smocking is finished and then complete the garment, whether it be dress, romper or coat.

Inserts can easily be put into garments before smocking as long as you smock the top and bottom two rows for stability of the pleats for attaching piping (you don't want to have your pleats lean over one another as it looks tacky). If the insert is back smocked then you can put it in before adding in the motifs.

The bottom line is that iIt all depends upon the crush of time you have to smock and the time you have to sew, but do know it's a bit uncomfortable to smock the whole garment rather than just a section.

* * *

<<LM A Slow Go. Can this be smocked on a bishop? Round collar for a 5 year old or only straight across? Thanks. Patti>>

The main problem working picture smocking in the round is the splaying difference of the pleats as you move downward on your piece. A bishop or smocked collar needs to have the bottom rows splay outwards towards the bottom in order to qualify as "round", otherwise a consistent tension will cause the round to turn into a tube ... causing the dreaded turtle neck that bishop dress makers hate. LM's A Slow Go might not work well on a bishop dress especially if the snails are worked on those rows that need splaying out for the "roundness". You can experiment, perhaps have the snails up higher on the rows to avoid the splaying out pleats of the bottoms rows that fall over the shoulders or else smock a bit looser on the bottom half of the snail (if it hits those rows which splay out more than the top rows). You also might consider adding in some more fabric to create more pleats (especially helpful when working with Swiss batistes) but my suggestion is to experiment and see if it will work.

The main concern of picture smocking on a bishop is that picture smocking creates a rigid section whereas bishops and round collars need more flexible stitches in order to flow properly. As I said before experiment on loosening up your stacked cables to create the flow but not enough to make the motif look awful.

LM#163 A Slow Go

Price $5.00
Quantity requested    

* * *

<My aunt has been looking for the transfer dots for smocking and I was happy to see that you have them. My question is :  Are there special patterns for this type of smocking? She is looking for a bishop pattern. I have several bishop patterns that are used with a pleater, but didn't know if she could use them with the dots. <----Susan>>

Excellent question. I have seen in old manuals the method of bishop smocking with the iron on dots wherein you clip and spread the straight grid of dots into the shape of the neckline. This is really an unnecessary, stressful method as the method of construction is the same whether using a pleater or iron-on dots. After the beginning construction of attaching the sleeves to the front and back you then iron on the dots onto the bishop garment using the straight grid. You form the semi circular shape of the neckline AFTER you pull up the pleating threads with the item pinned to a neckline guide.

We recommend the style Pleater Compatible Dots grid as they can be used with any of the patterns we carry.

Iron-On Smocking Dots - $7.00 per package of two 24" x 36" sheets.
Two styles and two colors:  (Regular spacing and Pleater Compatible)

Pleater Compatible spacing (to match the contemporary smocking patterns we sell).
Your choice of two colors Yellow  for dark fabrics or Blue  for light fabrics.

Pleater Compatible Spacing 

Blue Smocking Dots

Price 7.00
Quantity requested    

Yellow Smocking Dots

Price 7.00
Quantity requested    

Traditional Spacing 

Blue Smocking Dots

Price 7.00
Quantity requested    

Yellow Smocking Dots

Price 7.00
Quantity requested    

ø¤º°`°º¤ø,¸¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø,¸¸,    ,¸¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø,¸¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø

"A tail isn't a tail to THEM, it's just a *little bit extra* at the back." — Eeyore

ø¤º°`°º¤ø,¸¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø,¸¸,    ,¸¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø,¸¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø

Smocking Newsletter since 1996, frequently imitated. Glad to be of inspiration to all who read our issues. All we ask is that you give us credit when you quote from our newsletters, we do.

ø¤º°`°º¤ø,¸¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø,¸¸,    ,¸¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø,¸¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø

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For complete information on how to get started smocking please visit this page: How to Get Started Smocking

Smocking Newsletter since 1997, frequently imitated. Glad to be of inspiration to all who read our issues. All we ask is that you give us credit when you quote from our newsletters, we do.

Lots of new pages for you to see:

Ready to Smock

Smocking Patterns for Boys

Smocked Nightgowns

Smocking FAQ's


Beth-Katherine Kaiman, Copyright © 1997 - 2017, All rights reserved