My "Smock & Talk" friend & mentor, Nicole, shared her leftovers of this wonderfully soft knit with me after she had made pajamas out of it for her girls. It is extremely luscious feeling fabric & it has little Chinese girls with flowers & fans scattered all over it. Very cute...Thanks, Nicole!
I started off by using a pattern for a knit t-shirt & then both widened & lengthened it into a nightgown for Ms. C.
Here is my Amanda Jane pleater with 9 needles in place, ready for threading. Note there are empty spaces between the needles where I could have added more for needles "half-spaces" if the smocking plate I was going to follow required them.
Pleating this fabric for smocking was a bit of a challenge due to the stretchy nature of it.
A few tips...I always place a white card behind my pleating needles so that I can see better while threading them & I've learned from Nicole to leave a shorter tail of thread on the top of the needle, where you can SEE it as you pull the fabric off the needles. That way, you know when you've gone far enough.
Instead of me trying to explain pleating or smocking, go see what my friend, Laurie Anderson, aka "SewNso" & owner of Southern Stitches, has posted some WONDERFULLY helpful pleating & smocking videos on YouTube. Below is her "Pleating 101" tutorial.
Basically, you roll your fabric onto a dowel, making sure it is as straight as possible. Then the edge is inserted into the back of the pleater & you S-L-O-W-L-Y turn the crank handle which makes the teeth grab the fabric & send it through the grooves & out onto the threaded needle.
I ALWAYS run a small piece of waxed paper through my pleater prior to placing the needles & thread into position. That really helps the fabric go through smoothly. You do NOT want to break needles...last time I bought some, they were $1.50 EACH!!
Here is the front of the nightgown, just coming off the pleater.
This was the first time I'd ever tried to pleat a knit & on the whole, it turned out nice. I had just one or two places where the pleats weren't exactly crisp or lined up, as they had *scooched* a bit. That's a very technical sewing term, ya' know. *scooched*
Because every single child sized hanger I own is now residing at Ms. C's house, I had to hang this on an adult size hanger for photographs. You can see that I didn't balance it correctly & that the right side isn't completely on the hanger. This is making the shoulder hang down & thus it looks like the smocking & piping are off. Trust me, they are straight! I used water soluble double sided tape to attach my piping prior to stitching it down. This is a great trick to keep it in place instead of pinning, which would distort the fabric.
I used both cranberry & pink floss in my smocking, to pick up the colors in the fabric.
Thanks for letting me share my sewing projects with you. I love to smock & would work on it every day if my wrist & arm would allow it. I fear I am developing some carpal tunnel issues along with a pinched nerve in my neck.
Typing on the computer keyboard doesn't help it either, so please forgive me if I am a long time in responding to your sweet comments? I can only be online so much & then my right hand, (my sewing hand!) goes to sleep.
I am linking to The Tablescaper's Seasonal Sunday meme.
Thanks for visiting The Gazebo House & I'll be around to visit you as soon as I can.