Saturday, April 10, 2010

Smocking is NOT Shirring

I've been playing around with smocking. American Smocking apparently. I never knew there were two styles, one American the other English. I have a few books that contain smocking info and of course various issues of Australian Smocking and Embroidery magazines but I'd never actually done any! All that pleating and embroidery really put me off. Seems the American style doesn't need pleating, only well placed stitches. I say a post on the OnePrettyThing site for a smocking tutorial and decided I REALLY needed to try it. I dug out some remnants of spotty fabric (let's face it, I am far too lazy to draw all those dots!) and gave it a try. The tutorial I used can be found here.

These were rather large dots each spaced about 1.5cm from centre to centre. I really love the effect it gives! I did this row by row with just sewing cotton and a needle. I may go back over it with embroidery floss. (the measuring tape used is in inches) 

Although Kara at Craftastical! did a fantastic job of the smocking tutorial I still managed to muck it up! Below is the first try, on a much smaller dot printed fabric. The results are pretty cute, though now how it was supposed to be. I do like the zig-zag effect!

One of my pet peeves is people calling things by the wrong terms. This is smocking, it is NOT stretchy. Go for it, make it with elastic thread.. it still wont stretch. It's not supposed to. The stretchy thing you're thinking of is called Shirring! Smocking and Shirring are two very very different things! Shirring has, in the past, been called "poor man's smocking". So, if it's elasticated and gathered do the right thing and refer to it as shirring. It's not smocking. Smocking takes a whole lot more work!

Another common mix up is when it comes to multicoloured thread/yarn. Almost always called Varigated when the correct term is Ombre. Do you know the difference? If you're a yarn lover you really should..

While we're on the "peeved" topic. I am curious why people who sew and flaunt their "designs" are so lazy as to not add arm scythes to their garments? Don't know what an arm scythe is? It's that curve that goes under an arm, where you'd insert a sleeve. Now, most of the garments I am refering to are tanks, ties, halters. There are no sleeves. But for whatever reason these "designers" drag a garment (usually for a little girl) straight under her arms and around her back. It draws the bodice down in front, is awfully uncomfortable to wear, and means the back too will be low. I am guilty of this also. A ladies skirt I reconned into a dress for Jessica in a real hurry. It looks awful! The arm scythe (dip under the arm) makes a garment fit better, sit better, and more appealing to look at. Try it out!


urban craft said...

i really have no idea what smocking or shirring really is - google here I come. But you pull it off beautifully.

Anonymous said...

ombre is NOT multicolored but a fading of shades of one color i.e. pale pink to deep rose!

Shell said...

The point was people calling it Ombre when it should have been variegated. "Almost always called Variegated when the correct term is Ombre". My apologies for not being more specific that multicoloured thread is variegated, shades of one colour or fading to white is ombre.