When we get beginner folks up here who want to start off with something other than a basic pattern for themselves, we give a couple of caveats about technique and fabric. Sometimes the things you will learn from a project that is slightly outside of the main will be SO specific that you don’t ultimately get what you need.
Duree came to us wanting to work up a smocked pattern from a children’s pattern book and, with the caveats that we always give, we went ahead.
She was working from the Girl’s Style Book by Yoshiko Tsukiori. We reviewed it over here. Japanese sewing books and projects tend to rely a lot on cuteness and texture rather than overwhelming fabrics and this is no different. The patterns are super clean with good instructions and crisp detail.
She had never sewn before, much less smocked anything, so we dove in.
As homework between her time here, she drew out the lines on muslin and started smocking to the pattern. It is difficult at first to keep your tension even but not too tight. Too tight and everything binds up, too loose and it sags, gaps, and bags. Her first attempts were well above what anyone could have expected. She took her time, thought about what she was trying to accomplish, and worked it out:
Once we had a handle on both the machine and the general sense of tension and precision in the handwork, we took off from there:
And, our little sewing buddies, this dress is CUTE AS A BUTTON:
This is definitely a win!