Type of item: Clothing
Style: Traditional, Classic, Holiday
Smocked bodice of silk dupioni, Swarovski pearls, silk thread for smocking. 50 wt thread for sewing.
What was your inspiration?
I saw a boat neck dress in a very old issue Sew Beautiful Magazine. Up until then I hadn't thought about using silk much for smocking as it can be a royal pain to pleat and it ravels quickly. I loved the smocking on that dress so much that I suffered through the pleating and completed both dresses in about 2 months in my spare time. I used the same smocking stitch in both dresses because it is very "giving". Although the dress appears very fitted, it gently stretches across the bodice and is very comfy for children. The front and back bodices are self-lined and the dress came down to about mid-calf on both girls. Both dresses close in the back with 5 buttons, but only the smaller dress has a sash. The other dress does not.
Both cumberbunds are pintucked white dupioni, piped and embellished with a dusty pink ribbon and set in at the natural waistline of each child.
What are you most proud of?
I think I'm most proud of my smocking and bead work and the fact that this is my own design and pattern. Both the smocking plate and the dress designs are my originals.
What advice would you give someone starting this project?
If you are going to wash the dresses after construction, serge all raw edges and wash the silk BEFORE construction. Even if you are going to have the silk dry-cleaned, serge all raw edges and dry-clean the silk before construction as well. Find a full bodice pattern that you like and improvise for the cumberbund. Practice pintucking to see how much fabric your machine uses when pintucking as each machine is just a little bit different. Make sure to pintuck along the cross-wise grain on silk; it's easier.