Oliver + S

Smocking the ice cream dress

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    mamalovesmambo @mamalovesmambo

    I want to add smocking to the ice cream dress following the tutorial by Ana Sofia on the Oliver & S Blog.

    It adds honeycomb smocking.

    16 dots are marked 1/2″ apart.

    Since the smocking pulls the fabric together at the dots, wouldn’t this result in needing an extra 4″ of fabric?

    But the tutorial only says to add 1″ at the fold.

    Can anyone explain it to me, as I’m a smocking novice.

    Also, would it be better to do the smocking first, and then cut the pattern out of the smocked fabric?

    How would I do that?


    Nicole @motherof5

    I have only done traditional smocking which is pleated first but I have sent the lovely Ana Sofia an email to ask for her help!

    I am sorry not to be more help.

    Ana Sofia @Ana Sofia


    Hope I can be helpful as I’m a smocking novice as well ?

    I’m quite sure there are proper methods for smocking a blouse (I believe the general rule, if you’re smocking the entire piece, is to cut the piece with the desired height X 3 times the desired width), but I based my measurements on the fact that the pattern front piece already included some gathers and so I wouldn’t be needing that much width (oh, and I did a sew a few blouses before getting it right).

    If you take a closer look at the photos of the final blouse (sorry, probably a bit blurry) you can see that the blouse still has some gathering at the front.

    (Note: if you add 1” at the fold, you’re actually adding 2” of fabric).

    Obviously, and I agree with you, there’s one method that takes the guessing out of the equation – just do the smocking first and cut the piece using the pattern afterwards. I would definitely follow this method if my intention was to smock the entire piece (for the sake of the fabric, lol), yet and because I was just adding a tiny bit of smocking to the front I didn’t.

    Hope it helps.

    PS: Thank you so much for the email, Nicole! I’m sending you a reply in a few secs.

    mamalovesmambo @mamalovesmambo

    Thanks for contacting Ana Sofia, Nicole!

    And thanks for replying Ana Sofia.

    Oh OK, I misunderstood and thought I was only adding 1″ total,

    but 2″ sounds better, since there’s already gathering in the pattern already.

    Thanks loads for this, I’m so pleased to see how do-able smocking is,

    as it looks loads more intimidating.

    I think I’d rather add the 2″ and cut the pattern before smocking for a first attempt.

    I just can’t figure how you’d cut the pattern out of the smocked fabric after??

    Unless the pleats are ironing in all the way down the fabric, the fabric wouldn’t lie flat for placing the pattern on top and tracing?

    I guess I need to find a good source of smocking tutorials.

    Do you know what’s happened to Marie Grace’s tutorials that you mention?

    They don’t seem to be online anymore.

    Ana Sofia @Ana Sofia

    I checked the Marie Grace’s website and it doesn’t seem to be available anymore!

    Her tutorial was my first resource for smocking – every step was so detailed and I’m sure I was not the only one to find her smocking work amazing (I pinned a couple of her posts but I can’t access them anymore: http://www.pinterest.com/sisforsewing/smock-and-needlework/).

    I still find it more easy to cut the pattern first (specially if it’s going to be centered), but if you smock the entire piece, it could be manageable (even if a bit tricky due to the need for layering the fabric straight for cutting).

    There’s so much more I need to learn (and practice) before I could consider myself a confident beginner in smocking 🙂

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