What Are You Stitching?

7th May 2021

Very occasionally, we get asked whether there is anyone out there who still does smocking? After we pick ourselves up from the floor with surprise, we loudly exclaim, ‘Yes! Of course!’ Smocking, we are pleased to report, has never lost its popularity, as is evidenced by the fantastic projects that we are showcasing today. Whether you’re new to smocking or you’ve been doing it for years, you can rest assured you are in great company.

Anne Shields

‘On my first trip to Australia I purchased some Australian wool blanketing to make a jacket for our eldest granddaughter. It was passed down to her sister and then my son’s daughter. Now it is safely tucked away for the next generation.’

‘A year ago, I made a pink dress and jacket for a friend’s first great granddaughter. I had to substitute velour for wool blanketing but can’t wait to work with that wonderful fabric again!’

The wool jackets are lovely, but you were also incredibly modest about your beautiful smocking, Anne! You’ve made two gorgeous ensembles that we are sure will be worn with pride for generations to come.

Noreen Casson

‘During lockdown, I finally finished some unfinished items in my closet. This little dress will go to my ‘Great-Grandma’s Hope Chest’ as my youngest granddaughter has outgrown it! I enjoyed making the dress and miss the new ideas from AS&E. I have made dozens of dresses, bubble suits, gowns, etc. from my old magazines.’

We’re so glad you continue to enjoy making things from past issues of AS&E, Noreen. Fortunately, most of the patterns are timeless so there are plenty of back issues to keep even the busiest smocker stitching for years to come.

Rose Lomax

‘I have been sewing forever. My first needlework piece was at school, aged 5. I started smocking when I was expecting my second child, 30 years ago. After my first project, I didn’t get a chance to do any smocking again for 13 years. Then at a Home and Garden show I discovered an Australian Smocking & Embroidery stall. I got a few magazines and then had to decide which one to start on.’

‘Most of my smocking goes to charity. Only a few pieces go to friends and family. I’ve sold a couple but I prefer to see them go to children who wouldn’t normally get to have a fancy dress. So far, I’ve made over 200 outfits and I can see no end in sight – unless the fabric stash finally runs out. However, that is unlikely as I can’t walk past a fabric shop without buying something and I have now also discovered online shopping!’

Over 200 outfits! Rose, you might have to take the prize for the most prolific smocker we’ve encountered yet. What an incredible achievement.

Lel Whitbread

‘I recently completed a dress for my great niece. She is a great fan of Batman, so this was my first attempt at designing a picture smocked piece. There are some challenges that come from working in black! The dress is inspired by Birthday Surprise by Annette Drysdale from AS&E issue #76. This was only my second attempt at doing any picture smocking, but I’m happy to report the dress was much appreciated by its new owner.’

We’re not surprised she appreciated it, Lel. It’s a striking dress which demonstrates the versatility of smocking, even for the most modern of little girls.

Do you love smocking? Do you find yourself making smocked garments, even though you haven’t currently got anyone to make them for? Or are you smocking for a special new arrival or a precious young child? Perhaps smocking isn’t your thing and you prefer to employ your needle and thread elsewhere? Whether a smocker or not, we want to see your work. Send us a picture of your latest project with a bit of information about the piece and your stitching journey to news@inspirationsstudios.com

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