Monday, November 9, 2009

Smocked Christmas Wreath Construction

If you have participated in this tutorial for a smocked Christmas wreath I hope you have completed the smocking.

If you are just reading this, here is the links to the previous posts.

Back Smocking:

  • To help ease in the construction you will need to back smock row 11 with a very loose cable stitch. Do not tie off the ends of your threads at the ends of the rows.

  • Also you need to back smock rows 1-2 with a Chevron Stitch. Again do not tie off the end. Leave about a 2 inch tail.


  • After wreath has been completely smocked and back smocked, remove pleating threads from the outside of the wreath (rows 6-12).

  • Unpick (do not cut) the knots on the pleating threads on the inside holding row and rows 1-5. Re-knot the ends of each pleating thread so you don’t accidentally pull the thread out).

  • Pin the wreath to a blocking board or ironing board and fan out into a complete circle .

  • With the open ends facing you, look at your smocking design. To achieve a seamless wreath the smocking design needs to be continuous. This is done by unpicking your smocking threads until the design matches up. Do not worry if you are unpicking an inch or more of smocking. The wreath is 90 inches of fabric.

  • Unpick the smocking until the design is a mirror image on both sides. See the example. Unpick one more stitch on the right side and tie off smocking threads to the back. Left side threads are still loose.

  • Unpick back smocking to match up with front. Tie off the Back Smocking.

  • Cut off knots on the ends of the pleating threads and pull out pleats until they also match up with the smocking on the front.

  • Trim the un-smocked ends down for a 1 inch seam allowances.

  • Fold un-smocked ends under and reposition pins and fan out the wreath again.

  • Steam wreath with a steam iron. Let dry.

Back of the Wreath:

  • The back of wreath should be one piece of fabric 5”x45”.

  • Thread your pleater with 2 half space rows. Run the Back fabric through your pleater.

  • Unpick the pleats on the ends until you have a 1/2" seam allowance. Fold the outer edge (unpleated side ) down a 1/2 " and press.

  • Mark the center line of the fabric by creasing a fold or by using a small pin.

  • Pull up pleating threads until fabric measures 18 inches end to end.

  • Remove smocked wreath from the blocking board.

  • With right sides together pin back of wreath to the back. Pull up pleating threads of wreath if needed. Match up ends (end of smocking with the pleating thread on the back) and center lines. Distribute pleats evenly.

  • Stitch the two pieces together with a 3/8 inch seam allowance. Outside edge is still open.

  • Return the wreath back to the blocking board with right side up. Pin wreath into a circle. Steam if needed.

  • With wreath ends facing you double check your continuous smocking design. Thread a needle with each of your loose threads on the left side. Take one more smocking stitch joining the two sides together completing the design. Pull threads to the back and knot off securely.

  • Open wreath up. Tie each of the remaining pleating threads together. Do not pull threads too tight and distort the circle.

  • Place the 10 inch craft ring on the inside of the wreath. This will stop the wreath from warping after it is stuffed.

  • Turn wreath to the back side. Fold seam allowances back, Pin the outside folded edge of the back of the wreath to the loose cable row (Row11) that you back smocked. With matching thread hand sew the two sides together.

Stuffing the wreath:

  • Stuff the wreath with polyester batting. I fluffed the batting first by pulling it apart into little clouds.

  • Work from back towards the openings. I found the end of a wooden spoon helps to get the batting to the back. Craft ring should be in the middle of the batting.

  • When stuffed to your desired fullness slip stitch the back opening closed.

Finishing the wreath:

  • The center of the smocking design is a perfect place to add you choice of decorations. I used Christmas bulb buttons. Each bulb was sewn on separately then a ribbon was threaded through holes.

•Five plastic rings are sewn to the back to help hang the wreath with out it tipping forward.

And finally, if you do not like the area where your your seamless smocking joined together Just cover it with a pretty bow. :-)

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