June 27, 2009 1:39 pm
As I said, I love elastic thread. When I received the book, Weekend Sewing” by Heather Ross (thanks, Janet!) I saw her smocked dress and had to try the smocking. So this tutorial is based off of that project.
I used jersey for this dress so you don’t need to finish the hems, and you also don’t with the terry.
The first thing I do for the dress is cut the piece of material for the main part of the dress. You can make it as wide as you want, because the smocking is stretchy. I did my daughters chest width times a half.
After you cut that piece, you need to get the ruffle piece ready. Depending on how ruffly you want it, cut it long enough (or piece peices togehter) that are the material times a half ( ex: 20+10) to double( ex: 20+20) the width of the material. Get that material and ruffle it with your machine.
Then attach that ruffle piece to your dress by pinning first and then sew or serge it together.
Next, take your elastic thread and hand wind it around your bobbin. You only need the elastic thread in the bobbin, not in the top thread. Make sure to hand wind it. If you use your bobbin winder it stretches too much and your top thread will keep breaking when you sew it. (I learned this from experience
Now take your garment and using some kind of marking device, make straight lines to guide you while you’re stitching so the smocking comes out straight. It bunches while you sew it so it gets a little confusing. You can space the lines whichever distance you want, but 1/2 an inch to 1 inch is recommended. I prefer 3/4 of an inch a part. You want to make however many rows depending on your garment and what distance between the lines you do. For my girl’s dresses, I’ve been doing 6-8 rows.
Now put your garment in the sewing machine and begin stitching, remembering to lockstitch at the beginning AND at the end of the row. That way it won’t undo itself at all. Do the same thing with all the rows.
After you smock the top, connect the the dress, pin and sew or serge it together.
Now to make the straps, figure out the width and length you want them. For example, if you want them 2 inches wide, cut the width 4.5 and sew it together. Turn them right side out and attach to your dress where you desire them to be.
There’s one step left!! You need to iron the smocking to get a crinkle effect. Slightly dampen the elastic part and iron!
That’s it! It is so easy and fun to do. I made Isabel her 5th birthday party dress with a smocked top( I’ll show pics when it’s her party) and it turned out so beautiful!!!
Here’s the dress I made!
I also made some smocked topped pants , too, that were incredibly easy. You can try all kinds of things with smocking. Isn’t it easy? I don’t know why it intimidated me before! Add any picture you do to the flickr pool so I can see your work!! Comment with any questions you have!
, terry cloth
Posted in children's clothes
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