Smocking is a form of embroidery where the stitches are worked over pleated fabric, creating a somewhat elastic effect in the fabric. Smocking is especially popular for baby goods, such as clothing and bonnets.
The Old Fashioned Baby is an online shop devoted to classic baby clothing and accessories. The site also offered pre-pleated goods that are ready to smock, so that you can add your own personal touch to them. These goods would make great baby gifts!
The patterns of the goods on the site are by Jeannie Baumeister, whose works are often featured in Sew Beautiful Magazine, which is geared more towards machine embroidery than hand embroidery these days, but is still a wonderful source of inspiration for those interested in hand-made, embellished clothing, especially for children. If you like “Old Fashioned Baby,” you will probably like Heirloom Sewing for Children, a website devoted to heirloom patterns, articles on fabrics, accessories, and tips and hints for heirloom sewing. I especially like the articles on fabric choice (batiste) and garment storage, which are useful for anyone who works with fine fabrics.
Back to The Old Fashioned Baby by Jeannie Baumeister – I was especially interested in the pre-pleated, ready-to-smock baby bonnets offered on her site. You can purchase these already assembled and pleated, ready to smock, or, in some styles, you can purchase the kits that include pattern, fabric, lace, and threads, to make your own bonnet for decidedly less money.
I think the bonnets are darling! I ordered a small selection of pre-pleated ones to smock for gifts. I thought I’d save time by ordering them ready to smock. We’ll see how it goes!
When smocking bonnets, depending on the size and style, it’s good practice to keep your stitches a little looser than you would on a dress, for example. This generally accommodates the head better, so that, when moving the bonnet on and off, you aren’t stretching out the stitching.
For me, these will be low-priority projects, but I’m looking forward to working them!
After a hectic week of family reunioning – with 75 of us all together for my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary – it’s time to re-organize and re-prioritize, which means I’ll be sorting out my upcoming projects and getting a few specialties online soon, including more video tutorials for hand embroidery stitches. I’ve got a few stitches lined up and ready for editing – oyster stitch and a bullion rose bud tutorial among them.
Thank goodness summer is coming!
If you have any good sources for ready-to-smock baby wear, etc., please feel free to share them with the rest of us! Thanks!