Have Your Say

27th May 2022

Smocking Ideas and Other Things

In All Stitched Up! #328, Wendy Armitage put a question out to our community about smocking. She loves smocking but she doesn’t sew, so she was wondering what other kinds of projects she could make using the technique. We suspected our creative readers would come up with lots of ideas, and we weren’t disappointed!

Maureen McMahon’s smocked Christmas balls from ASU issue #322

Jenni Davill agreed with Wendy in that she wants to smock but she also doesn’t want to make clothing. The solution she came up with was to enter ‘smocked Christmas decorations’ into Google and she discovered plenty of ideas. You could spend hours going through all the different types of smocked baubles and other ornaments on show. You’d need to have multiple Christmas trees up each year to hold them all.

Safe Keeping by Nancy McEvoy in Australian Smocking & Embroidery issue #94

Katherine Petty suggested a circular drawstring jewellery or needle case that is smocked on the outside and has pockets on the inside for storage. This is a fabulous idea and Katherine shared that she owns a couple that she bought and just loves. Patterns for jewellery rolls or other storage solutions have appeared in Australian Smocking & Embroidery Magazine from time to time, including Safe Keeping by Nancy McEvoy from AS&E Issue #94.

The Fan by Joanne Kanigowski in Australian Smocking & Embroidery issue #46

We received some book suggestions from Ann including Contemporary Smocking by Dorothea Hall. She also pointed us to Modern Smocking: Canadian Smocking Techniques and Patterns by Debbie Shore, which focuses on lattice smocking. This is a type of smocking that doesn’t require pleating beforehand but produces fabulous cushions and other homewares. Ann also suggested looking on Amazon for other books, however she did warn that searching for ‘smocking’ seems to return books on ‘smoking’ as well, referring to both food and cigarettes!

Lynn Healy grew up in Canada so is familiar with Canadian or lattice smocking. She said it was often used to decorate scatter cushions and was worked in rich velvets or satins. She confirmed that the designs are beautiful and suggested taking a look at Pinterest for ideas. She also directed us to a website specifically about Canadian smocking in case you would like to learn more about it.

Smocked necklaces by Liesl Gibson (source)

An unusual idea came from Jeanette Sclar who suggested smocked jewellery. We were curious too and did a search. Not only is it a thing, it is absolutely beautiful as well. Jeanette directed us to look at this site, but a trusty Google search will keep you busy for hours too.

Finally, Sandra Gascoigne confirmed the idea of smocked baubles, but she also suggested a smocked lampshade as well.

Heart of Mine by Céline Girouard  in Australian Smocking & Embroidery issue #95

If anyone else has other ideas, we’d all love to hear them and we’d love to see any completed projects showing smocking used in new and creative ways. We’ll always love little girls in colourful smocked dresses, but it gives us just as much pleasure seeing how such a traditional technique can be used to create stunning, modern designs.

Our readers clearly loved the book recommendations that have appeared in All Stitched Up! over the past weeks. Ellen Tabak admitted to putting at least two of our suggested books into her Amazon shopping cart, and Margaret Mathers wanted to add her endorsement for The Gown by Jennifer Robson that she has finished and thoroughly enjoyed. 

Cécile, who is a reader from France, has bought Tracy Chevalier’s books, A Single Thread and The Lady and the Unicorn. She says that she loves reading in English, even though she has to use a dictionary, and can’t wait to dive into them.

If you have anything to share, from stitching ideas to books, or from new techniques to your own personal musings about stitching, it is all welcome. We love the conversation, we love learning new things, and we know that our All Stitched Up! family love it too.

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