While I am playing chauffeur this week, I usually have something to work on. The most common thing I usually have is a Pleated Insert that needs Back Smocked.
I always Back Smock before I Picture Smock something. Back Smocking is the foundation and support for your work. When I am teaching a class on Back Smocking my favorite explanation is.............
"Back Smocking after you have completed your Picture Smocking Is like Cinderella putting on her underwear after she is already dressed for the Ball~Janet Gilbert"
Another reason to back smock before is, this is what the back of a finished (or almost finished) picture smocked insert looks like. It is very hard to back smock through all those threads. And just back smocking up to the design and not through it, leaves gaps between the pleats on the front.
When I Back Smock I now prefer stitching a Stem Stitch instead of a Cable Row for several reasons
- It doesn't leave a distortion on the front.
- I don't have to think about what I am doing. Which is great if I am doing this in the car.
If I am smocking on a white insert I use Ecru or off white thread or navy blue if I am smocking on black. Shown here is Ecru Thread on a white Kona Cotton insert.
If you look to the left hand side of the picture you will see something different I do. I do not tie off my Back smocking until my project is done. The pleating threads are tied off but the Back Smocking threads are not.
The reason for this is, I got tired of unpicking knots! It seemed I was forever making adjustment by a pleat or two or three to fit garment. Whether it is my design or someone Else's I like to tweak things.
Here is the back of an insert I am working on. It is Back Smocked with 2 strands of DMC.
To cut the tediousness back smocking, I divide the Back Smocking up into groups. I usually Back Smock the two ends first, then the middle row. Now I only have 2 sets of two rows left to do. It just seems like less work then 4 rows. :-)
Also by looking at the back of this insert you will see two things......
- My tie off knots are never lined up on top of each other. If the knots were lined up it would create a gap in the pleats. Most of the time this is not a problem because the knots are not anywhere close. If it looks close I will tie off my threads early and just restart with new threads.
- I also place little safety pins to mark the rows I need to Back Smock. I would prefer not to Back Smock any more rows then I have to.
Have a Great and Safe 4th of July!