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Little dress

solosmocker | Posted in Photo Gallery on

I just finished this UFO and wanted to share pics. I started this last fall and then DH decided to start the family room/sewing studio project so it got pushed to the back of the closet. I don’t like to have multiple projects going on so have been working to finish this.

This is far from my best work, but it is DONE and at this point I am glad and can move on to other projects. Hope you enjoy.

ETA: The lace is attached with machine heirloom technique of roll and whip. The skirt and sleeves have 3 1/4 inch tucks and that I am really please with and will use again. The back has a contrast button band instead of a sash.

Edited 4/23/2007 8:13 pm ET by solosmocker


  1. tmorris1 | | #1


    It is beautiful!!! I love to see your work, it is so detailed and beautiful. You really have an exceptional eye for design. Can't wait to see your next creation.

    1. solosmocker | | #2

      Thanks so much.

      1. tmorris1 | | #3

        It is truly praise that it well deserved.

  2. fabricholic | | #4

    This is so beautiful. I love the tucks on the sleeve and the little cream color flowers. Did you make the flowers and, if so, how did you do this? It almost looks like wrapped thread. I like the geometric design changing into the other design below it. Green is one of my favorite colors. Who will get to wear this dress?


    1. MaryinColorado | | #7

      I agree with all Marcy said!  Also how did you do the little "chain"? stitch connecting the flowers?  I love the way you add all the extra touches of solid green throughout also!  Another very beautiful creatione!  Thanks for sharing, I love your work!  Mary

    2. solosmocker | | #8

      The flowers are bullion stitch, a wrapped stitch as you guessed. Its use can add so much dimension to your embroidery. It's a little tricky to learn and on these I did not focus too much on perfection so they are not the greatest. I have used a lot of bullion roses in my work and they are so pretty and took a lot of practice to get right. I should practice on my bullion daiseys too! LOL!The swag connecting the flowers is a trellis stitch, another of the basic smocking stitches. In smocking you embroider on top of the pleats. Some stitches are very tight and some are every elastic and you usually start with the tight stitches at the top, in this case some cables, and as you work your way down you get more elastic with the stitches so the little pleats just fan out into your skirt. If you study pictures of smocked garments you will find they often have these wide trellis stitches toward the bottom of the pleating.The dress is for my little granddaughter. She is my willing victim!Thanks for the compliments again.

      Edited 4/24/2007 11:12 am ET by solosmocker

      1. fabricholic | | #9

        O.k. I have done bullion roses before, just playing around. It is amazing how they turn out so cute and not that hard to do, at least at my level. I can't do them perfect, like you. I love doing hand work. I should start practicing.
        There was this lady on Martha's Sewing Room that did the embroidered monograms, by hand and she did a padded stitch. It was gorgeous. Of course, she used Irish linen and she barely marked the material with a pencil. Seems like her name was Martha, also.
        I didn't know that the stitches get stretchy at the bottom. That is very interesting. I don't know anything about smocking. Thanks for the information. The dress is so beautiful and your grand daughter is very lucky to have you making her dresses.


  3. Crazy K | | #5

    Stunning.........absolutely gorgeous!!  Very beautiful work..........you can be very proud!!

  4. Ralphetta | | #6

    Your work is beautiful and brightens my day.

  5. User avater
    Becky-book | | #10

    Oh, that is so darling!!

    I have 5 grand Daughters... if I made dress like that for one of them....

    How long does it take.....?


    1. solosmocker | | #11

      I usually get my smocking done within a max of two weeks of TV time at night. Then it's putting the dress together. Childrens clothing really goes together quite fast. Once you have made one basic square yoke dress, you have made them all and can start adding your own little touches, like the frilled collar, etc. All those grandaughters, give it a shot. You will become addicted, I guarantee it.

      1. User avater
        Becky-book | | #12

        My grandmother "Maga" used to smock dresses for me, entirely by hand; no pleater to prepare the cloth.  I think she did have little dots she would iron on to the cloth.  I do not have any of my dresses but I do have a pinafore she smocked for my daughter.  I think it is one of the last things she did in that line.  Arthritis and poor eyesight caught up with her.

        Maybe I should give it a try before I get too much older!!


  6. dotty | | #13

    I think its time for solosmocker to write a Threads article on smocking. I love what you show us!

  7. Lynnelle | | #14

    Utterly adorable!  I do not have any children, but I could imagine seeing a little smiling from ear to ear in this lovely dress.  Awesome job!

  8. jatman | | #15

    Once again - another beautiful little dress!  Have you ever done smocking on anything for an adult size (like the cuffs of a blouse or something along those lines?)  I love it when you post your projects - it gives me inspiration.  Thank you!

    Are there any books you'd suggest on smocking?


    1. solosmocker | | #16

      Thank you, jatman. I keep toying around with adult designs in my head but nothing committed yet. You will know when I do, LOL! I think the best book out there for learning smocking is "The A-Z of Smocking" from Country Bumpkin. You could then follow that with "The A-Z of Sewing for Smockers", also from CB. Between those two you will have things pretty well covered. The second book is important because heirloom clothing, which smocking is considered, is often sewn with different techniques than general sewing,ie, zippers are a huge no-no. So even if you are a very experienced sewist, I would still recommend the second book. These two are my bibles.

      1. jatman | | #18

        Thank you Solosmocker!  I just added both of those to my list of 'wanted' books!  I have to confess - I never knew that heirloom sewing and zippers didn't mix!  Thank you for giving me a reference and also for sharing your beautiful work! 


      2. fabricholic | | #19

        When I was putting in zipper for GD dress, I was thinking she did not own a dress with a zipper. They don't put them in RTW, either. I know that for the heirloom christening gowns and such, they use the beauty pins. I would like to get the books you mentioned, also. I will keep my eye out for them. Thanks for sharing all of your knowledge.Marcy

      3. User avater
        Becky-book | | #22

        Smocking for adults... jogged my memory... I have a robe and nightie that my G'mom smocked for my mom (but she grew tired of the color and gave it to me!) It is very light and summery so I haven't worn it for months, and forgot about it!!

        But I guess few would want to put a lot of effort into something few others would ever see! So what would we want to smock and wear in public???

        Perhaps a Peasant style blouse that used smocking instead of elastic at neck and cuffs; would that work? I would like that!


        1. Ralphetta | | #23

          I think there are a lot of people who would spend big money for delicate nightwear like you described.  I think of smocked lingerie as being ethereal and very feminine and innocent, especially in Solosmocker's hands.

           Don't I remember during the 70's that some of the dresses/tops had smocking in the bicep area and then released into a bell sleeve? There are a lot of high-waisted babydoll dresses right now.  I can envision a little black crepe cocktail dress with smocked bosom.  Can you smock crepe? ( I'm trying to think of smocking on clothing that doesn't look childish, although I think a sweetly innocent  batiste baby-doll on young women would be pretty for summer.)

          Edited 5/2/2007 4:52 pm ET by Ralphetta

          1. solosmocker | | #24

            You can smock just about any fabric as long as it is not too heavy like a melton. You just have to go very slowly with your pleater. I have a cyber sewing friend who did a gold silk charmeuse smocked nightgown. It was breathtaking. What a gift that would make!I do have a couple of baby doll patterns on my to do list and hope to employ some smocking. We shall see,,,,

          2. Ralphetta | | #25

            I can't wait to see them.  That nightgown sounds exquisite

  9. dressed2atee | | #17

    Wow the dress is gorgeous, you're making me want to smock something!!!!  You are really talented, that dress could easily sell for big bucks in a speciality store.   Did I read in one of the threads that you have a family business?

    1. solosmocker | | #20

      We do have a business, but totally unrelated to sewing in any way. We have a small trucking company. I am in the process of preparing samples and hope to have my own little business within the year. I retired, early, a year ago. That explains my productivity! Last fall DH and contractor friend built me a lovely studio, so between the new digs and my new time availability, I am getting a lot done. Still not enough, though. So many ideas I want to put forward. I have numerous patterns from the big four for children and they all seem to have zippers. I do my own plackets instead. It's just as easy. solo

      1. dressed2atee | | #21

        ok, good for you.  I can retire in 8 years...I hope to be able to sew more then.  I sew a lot of others and work full time.  I will probably still sew for others when I retire.  I love to sew.  I've been sewing since 7th grade!  Wow that was 1973!

        Keep up the good work!

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