Thursday, September 28, 2006

WiP Wednesday - September

WiP Wednesday found me at Sit & Sew for the first time since our summer hiatus. We are coached by a marvelous teacher and we meet in the classroom of a Franklin children's sewing shop, hence the loose focus on children's clothing. One childless gal sews garments for herself and things like boxers for her teenage nephew (yesterday it was flannel kilts for him and his friends--something about "Braveheart"--probably a Halloween thing). Another also does couture sewing and she quilts at home. A pediatrician (a grandma-wannabe) sews for lucky patients and sometimes someone sews for "Fig" (Figment of My Imagination), for a grandma's hope chest. Our newest member is a quilter from San Diego. (They took advantage of the then-booming real estate market in SoCal, researching an ideal retirement city. They selected their 5 top US choices and set out to visit each city. Franklin, Tennessee, was the first city they visited--and they never visited the rest. [Note: you heard it here first.])

I've been smocking baby Campbell's John-John (Noah's Ark will be severely condensed for the wee lad). Ella's bishop-sleeve dress is assembled, front to sleeves, sleeves to back, and the sleeve cuffs and round neckline have been pleated and tied off. The neckline is map-tacked to my smocking board, a bulletin board marked with a grid for blocking garments.

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I don't usually use it for straight inset smocking, but it's a real aid to working with a curved neckline. Helps prevent the dreaded "turtling" that occurs with inconsistently-tight rows of smocking. The dress is tacked down wrong side up, in order to smock the underside first. Back-smocking will secure the pleats and keep them in line for the final smocking on the front. This is a tedious, boring process, but necessary when picture-smocking, as opposed to a zig-zag geometric pattern. Without back-smocking, the end result might look like fractured pixels in a digital photo. Straight pins mark two places where my back-smocking deviated from up-down-up-down to up-down-up-up. Rather than redo all those tiny stitches (it is just the backside, remember), it's easier to just stitch every subsequent row "wrong"--consistency counts in smocking. When I finish all that back-smocking I can start the fun part of working the design. In the meantime, when all that backsmocking gets to be a bore, I can switch off to Campbell's project for a while.


Jules said...

Back smocking... What a bore. I just got a new cute dress from my mom with a Halloween theme, and I am sure there is back smocking. Mom put a lining in, so I cannot tell. Boy has my dad's golf game increased the number of cool smocked outfits my daughter gets. That, and, until quattro is born, the rest of the grandkids are really too old to wear smocked garments on a daily to school basis.

jenclair said...

Franklin does look like a beautiful place to live. I saw several houses that would suit my imagination only too well!

Your sewing group sounds like a lot of fun. A great idea for getting things done and socializing with interesting people.

Campbell is an awful lucky little boy; can't wait to see the finished product. I was a little uneasy a couple of times as I carted Max around this week in that unbelievably heavy carrier...being very careful to watch my step and thinking of you and Campbell.

Jane Ann said...

jenclair, watch that da*n thing--Jules and my young sister tell me it's not our age that makes us unsteady with the carriers!

Jules, amen to backsmocking: what a bore! I heard a young mom ask how long little boys can wear smocked clothing, and the teacher's answer was "As long as their daddys'll let 'em." I realize I have limited days to force these babies into my feeble efforts, so I'm trying to "sew like the wind"--as usual.

Anonymous said...

I haven't smocked anything in so long! I still have my pleater, hoping for grandchildren some day that I can smock things for. The nice thing about saving Sew Beautiful magazines from when my kids were little is that the children's clothes in them will be in style when I need the magazines again. And I should come down to Franklin, looks like a wonderful place to live. Better than the industrial part of Ohio that I live in!