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Easter Dress & Slip w/ Madeira hem & col

solosmocker | Posted in Photo Gallery on

I finished DGD’s Easter dress and petticoat about a couple of hours ago. Hope youlike. This is the dress with the pinstitched Madeira hem and collar. The bodice is picture smocked. I embroidered the slip with DGD’s initial.


  1. User avater
    blondie2sew | | #1

    Wow!! How Precious is that dress!!I am a bit confused can you clarify...I am assuming you did all the smocking yourself?!! What a great talent that is!! And just precious..oh yeah I just said that well it deserves another typing!!And the Madeira Hem and collar...was that purchased or did you do that as well with a certain embroidery stitch...Is this a nieve question..I am sorry..She will be an absolute Doll in this!! Wow!!

  2. MaryinColorado | | #2

    Absolutely beautiful!  I am gushing over the beautiful work you do!!!  I love the smocking pattern, the madeira hem really gave it that extra punch too.  Very lovely.  You are truly one talented lady!!!  Thank You so much, she will look like a princess. 

    Maybe you should send a photo along to http://www.marthapullen.com, she might put it in her newsletter or Sew Beautiful Mag. 

    God bless You!  Happy Easter!  Mary

    ps Did you use a smocking machine or hand smock?  I have always been fascinated by this beautiful technique!

    Edited 4/2/2007 7:38 pm ET by MaryinColorado

    1. solosmocker | | #3

      Mary and Blondie, I did do all the smocking as well, no machine there!. Last fall while they were building my studio I did a lot of smocked "inserts". Now, with my room done, I can put them into garments. The smocking design or what we call a plate, came from Sew Beautiful magazine. The dress pattern and slip were of my own doing. Once you have a bodice that fits for a little one, you can change it into anything you want. So this one I went with sleeveless. I had been wanting to try my hand at the Madeira hem and collar for some time and put that technique to work here as well. I did have to draft the collar and nearly blew it a couple of times. The hem and collar are connected to the contrasting fabric with a machine pinstitch. If you have Carol Ahles book "Fine Machine Sewing", she goes into this in depth. On the slip I did a shell stitch on the neck and armhole edges. Lots of info on that in Ahle's book as well. So it was fun putting together a lot of techniques for my little princess. Appreciate your lovely comments.Edited 4/2/2007 8:10 pm ET by solosmocker

      Edited 4/2/2007 8:11 pm ET by solosmocker

      1. jatman | | #6

        I'm blown away by how beautiful your work is.  Thank you for sharing it with us.


      2. MaryinColorado | | #8

        You did all that smocking by hand without a pleater?  Wow!  I am even more impressed!  That is really an artform.  It looks so perfectly done too.  I also noticed that shell stitch on the slip, so adorable.  I can see that it is a true labor of love as they say. 

      3. User avater
        blondie2sew | | #9

        Thanks for more of your design details!! She will be the talk of Easter!!

  3. dressed2atee | | #4


  4. cynthia2 | | #5

    What a beautiful dress!  This is sure to become an heirloom that your granddaughter will treasure all her life.  God bless you and your granddaughter this wonderful Easter season!  Best, Cynthia

  5. User avater
    TwilaTee | | #7

    You've done such wonderful work here! How beautiful! I've never done smocking before, I have no daughters, but your work makes me eagerly await granddaughters! Absolutely lovely! Thanks so much for sharing! -Twila

  6. flossie | | #10

    just superb. thank you for posting photos  - they are a pleasure to look at.

    Happy Easter- Pauline

  7. JanF | | #11

    This looks lovely and i'm sure will be an heirloom in ur family!
    One question - could u clarify - pinstitched Madeira hem - does this mean stitching using a wing needle to make the pattern with the holes/stiches? Am I correct in thinking this is an heirloom stitching method?
    What fanbic did u use? - beg ur pardon if uve stated this already!

  8. Action Dreamer | | #12

    What stunning workmanship!  You are an inspiration to all of us.

    How lucky your family is that you share your talent for creating such beauty, with them.

    Look forward to feasting on more of your creations.

    Action Dreamer

    1. solosmocker | | #13

      A loud thank you to all of you. Your kind thoughts are appreciated. Up here in the boonies of the Adirondacks I can't find anyone who does this kind of work. So I reach out with my pics and thank you all for your kind words.First, the actual pleating of the smocked insert was done on a pleater. I don't think I would attempt this otherwise. The insert done is one of several done to just increase my picture smocking skills. Smocking is generally geometric in design but picture smocking is more graphic, imitating real things. Most think it harder than the geometrics and I agree. The pinstitching was done on the machine with a size 100 universal needle. I don't like the wing needles as they can rip and damage fine fabrics. The fabric I used here isn't actually a fine fabric, merely 100% cotton oxford cloth for mens shirts. It makes up wonderfully for childrens clothing. The big problem with it is the ravelling. The ravelling was far worse than what I encountered on sewing dupioni. So I used all french seams on the dress and was just real careful with my trimming. I recently started going thru Ahle's book and am making samples of each technique as I read. I am about half way thru the book. This prooved invaluable as when it came time to do the pinstitching and shell stitching, I just pulled out my samples and on them was the tensions, widths, etc. I did one little sample on the dress fabric and was good to go. This eliminated a lot of practice runs and time. If anyone has this book and/or is interested in heirloom techniques I highly recommend doing this. It is well worth the effort taken. Making the samples is a good time filler when you only want to sew a few minutes. Before you know it you have tons of them and a strong reference. I

  9. sewingkmulkey | | #14

    Solosmocker - thank you for sharing your beautiful creation!  And we all do appreciate the fine craftmanship you have displayed.  Sewing is a lonely art form and it is such fun to share what we've made.

    Again, thanks for the photos!



  10. fabricholic | | #15

    Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous dress. Will you tell us how you did the shell stitch on the slip? The pin stitching is beautiful. The picture smocking is great. I have never done smocking, but I have heard that the picture smocking is a lot more difficult. How old is your grand daughter? I want to picture what size will be wearing this beautiful art.Marcy

    1. solosmocker | | #16

      Thank you for the lovely compliments. My lovely little inspiration is 2 and a 1/2. I have had quite a few requests for how I did the shell stitch. Right now I am far from home, visiting in Maine, but I will get back to you with specifics, ie, stitch length, widths, etc. Thanks for your patience. I should be back home next week sometime.

      1. fabricholic | | #17

        I hope you are enjoying Maine. Look forward to the details of the shell stitch.Marcy

  11. ctirish | | #18

    Wow, I don't know what else to say...wow... You and I chatted about smocking a month or so ago. I love Sew Beautiful magazine, just looking at the pictures. You made wonderful choices, the picture plate, the madeira collar and hem - those are not easy to do. I have never seen a collar done this way. The little bows on the collar - stunning, adorable.

    Did you do the pleating yourself - it sounded like it if you used the oxford cloth for the smocking? 

    Did you use the petite piping or did you make your own?  Did you use buttons on the back? Did you do the slip by hand ?

    I ordered 4-5 pleated inserts - now I just have to figure out what to do with them and how to put them in a dress or bubble. Can you recommend a good book for smocking? Beginner's book  obviously...   I have the Carol Aryes book.

    Thank you... jane


    1. solosmocker | | #20

      Hi! Back form Easter holiday and ready to get back in the groove. I will put the shell stitch info in the general sewing info board so more will see it. I did pleat this myself but with an Amanda Jane smocking pleater. It is just so much more efficient as well as more accurate compared to hand pleating. Then the smocking stitches are applied on top of the pleats. I do make all of my piping. It just is easier for me that way. That way I can always get the piping in the size and fabric I want. Threads has had some great articles on piping but not on the petite/baby piping. I use a 5 pintuck foot and a small cotton crochet thread. I know its by Patton, but I bought it so long ago that I can't tell you the type or weight. One ball of yarn will last forever. The dress does have buttons and a placket for the back. I think zippers are just innapropriate for heirloom clothing. Sometimes I will use a covered snap also. The slip is totally made by machine except for the monogram. I did that with floss and a basic back stitch. If you want a great book on just smocking get the "A-Z of Smocking" from Country Bumpkin. If you want a book on sewing garments with heirloom stitches and smocking get the "A-Z of Smocked Clothing" also from Country Bumpkin. Both of these are easily available online, one source being the Country Bumpkin website. NAYY. These books assume nothing and teach so much. There are great pictures and very clear easy instuctions. The first book is strictly about smocking stitches, pleating, etc. The second book is about putting together heirloom clothing. I am a lifelong sewer but there are some idiosyncrasies of heirloom contruction that were definitely new to me. I am off to post the shell stitch instuctions.

  12. ChristineAnn | | #19

    I am amazed by such a beautiful dress - amazed!  It is magnificent, incredible.  I must admit, I do not understand any of the techniques you have mentioned!


  13. mimi | | #21

    What a beautiful dress!  I wish I could smock like that.  It must have taken you forever.


    1. solosmocker | | #22

      Actually it "seemed" like the pinstitching on the hem took forever. It felt like miles! Picture smocking takes more time and effort, but I find when I do geometric smocking it can go relatively quickly. I tend to do my smocking just at nite at TV time and usually within a week or two I am finished a project. It is one of those compulsive things where you just have to do the next row, and before you know it, it's midnite! Thanks for the compliment.

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