Saturday, November 16, 2013

Picture Smocking Part 2-Dissecting a Smocking Plate

Okay, Lets dissect a picture smocking plate and take the mystery out of it.

This is a picture of the smocking plate that has been marked up. This is what my smocking plates look like when I am ready to smock.  I refer to this as my "marked up" copy or my "working copy" of the design.

You should be able to click on it to get a better view. Let me explain all the marks:
  1. I have marked the top and bottom of the center line of each smocked figure.
  2. I have counted pleats and marked the number of pleats between the center lines. (36 pleats)
  3. I have drawn lines to mark the outside edges of each figure, then I counted the number of pleats for each figure (24 pleats) and the number of pleats between the lines (12)
  4. The suggested starting point of each figure was already marked but if it wasn't, it needs to be included in the "marked up" design.

On my insert I have smocked the top cable row of the border with 3 strands of floss. I like to do the top row because it helps me set the design.  I will do the zig zag trellis later. If each of my smocked figures were standing on a border then I would have also smocked that before I start picture smocking.

In this picture I still have my safety pins in for the areas I back smocked. I can remove them now or leave them.   On the top, I have placed a small safety pin in the center valley of each smocked figure. I counted the pleats on my graph, then counted my pleats on my insert. Then, I double checked and counted everything one more time just to be sure.

Now for something you probably haven't seen before. I like to mark my entire center valley of each smocked figure.  I use Neon Green Rayon DMC. I use rayon because the colors do not leave a residue (ever removed red DMC thread?) and neon  green because I have mature eyes. :-)

Using a tapestry needle (it has a rounded point), I take one strand of the rayon thread and knot one end.  I take a small stitch at the top of the center valley above the holding row. I then run the tapestry needle under my pleating threads.   Because the rayon floss is under my pleating threads it should not be caught up in my smocking threads.

The finial results! Can you see where the center valleys are suppose to be?

If you have any question on any of these post or something is confusing, please post a question or email me. ~jg


  1. Perfect blog post! I love your neon green floss and am so grateful you shared that tip!
    And because "dissecting" takes me back to high school science lab, I feel the need to say that no frogs were harmed in this post. Hahahaha!!!

  2. Great idea using the green floss! I'd never thought of that. And I especially like the dissecting part. I don't know how many times I've had to stop and count and recount the pleats on the plate and on my work! Thanks for sharing these tips!!