A grand smocking disaster

What a smocking mess!

My ambition got the best of me this weekend as I spent a frantic Sunday rushing to finish my first iteration (sorry for the buzzword) of the Traveler dress so I could move on to the turquoise striped version.

Just as it is best in life to not rush through things, so it is in smocking. Noted.

If only I'd known to be patient as I was bee-bopping along on my muslin traveler dress around 6 p.m. or so. I did the first few steps of the second version and thought, "Oh, I'll just smock a quick pocket, sew it on the dress and be on with it."

Uh, no.

I had mistaken myself for an expert, which I am not, and proceeded to waste the next three or so sewing hours trying to get back on track. Perhaps I should share where I went wrong. I hand stitched five rows of stitches with one stitch at every 1/8th of an inch. The rows were about 1/8th of an inch apart. Then I pulled my ends, creating a gather for me to do my embroidery smocking upon.


This is a view of my front, and a fun preview of my fabric (loves it!) But you can also see my mistake. It's entirely too narrow to be a pocket. It wouldn't even work for the front of a Barbie dress.

So then I cut another wider stretch of fabric and realized as soon as I put the scissors down that the stripes were going the wrong way. But I nevertheless proceeded full speed ahead. I put in my much longer rows of smocking stitches, did my gathers and made my smocking stitches.

I was so excited to pull the threads out and examine my work, but I was so disappointed with the results. It was a smocking mess.

I oversmocked.

In my eagerness to smock as I learned to smock at sewing camp, I missed entirely the fact that I didn't need quite so much smocking on my delicate dress pocket.

What I ended up with was a fussy mess of ruffles, smocking and flounces. It would be impossible to sew to my dress and probably make the whole thing look totally amateur. (I realize that it may look amateur at the end, but only because I can't get along with my buttonhole foot--another story for another day.)

Clearly, this is not my aim. So back to the drawing board.

Adam is out at the golf course this evening so me and my trusty companion, who is sitting here next to me, will try it again. I am going to start with finished pockets (top seams sewn, edges rounded, etc.). And I'm only going to do three very short rows of smocking. I want it to look delicate.

We shall see.

On another note, I have my Grandma Hazel's pinking shears to help me. They're still in their original box. I'm so excited to use them!

Updates soon, friends!