Smocking and sewing projects, then and now

I think it’s been over a year since I started this. Finally it’s starting to take shape. Fortunately, it’s looking like it might still fit Mabel, especially if I find a way to add a little length to the skirt.

The smocking is a form of honeycomb smocking, where you use the checks to place the stitches, and don’t pre-pleat the fabric.

This is the same fabric I used to make my very first smocked dress for my niece way back in 2001. Not that I have made so very many smocked dresses since then–I am slow, and I have a hard time making time to sew. But as slow as I am, that first dress made me love smocking; I love the texture, the process of stitching, and the traditional look of the hand stitches. I pleated that first dress by hand, which took forever. (Now I own a pleater.) And I smocked the back of that dress, too. So the whole undertaking was a little crazy. At least the dress was big enough to fit my lovely niece for a couple of years, and then got passed to her sister.

(I think that thing on the bodice is a flower someone pinned on her.)

I think the above photo was from before Dean and I owned a digital camera, but he figured out a way to capture images from our video camera.

While looking for a photo of that dress, I found this photo of Mabel when she was almost exactly the age Hazel is now. I made the shirt she’s wearing by cutting down a t-shirt, adding a little smocking to the front, gathering the tops of the sleeves, and binding the sleeves and neckline. I remember thinking at the time that I had spent too much time on such a simple project, but now that two more daughters of mine have worn the shirt, I’m glad I spent that time.

It just doesn’t seem like that was nine years ago. Where does the time go?

I just tried to find a photo of Rose in the pink tee, and I didn’t, but here’s her wearing something else I made when she was three (pictured below). I used a tablecloth for the fabric. Goodness, this means Hazel will have grown into that jumper; I’d better find it and get it out for her.

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6 Responses to Smocking and sewing projects, then and now

  1. ashley christenson says:

    My girls are wearing dresses that my grandma made for me when I was young. Your work is gorgeous and I would definitely save it to pass on to granddaughters. 🙂

  2. Kristina P says:

    That dress is simply amazing. I can barely sew on a button, or velcro, for my special need’s dog’s pillow.

  3. the MomB says:

    Where did the time go? Well, look at Mabel then and Mabel now. Also, you wouldn’t have photos of Rose, Henry, and Hazel to post here. I know what you mean, tho’–it just goes so fast. I had a dream a few weeks ago in which my 3 youngest were little ones, climbing on my bed and awakening me before I wanted to be awake. Nevertheless I couldn’t help but enjoy their bouncing happiness, chatter, and snuggling. I woke up crying.
    So glad you could have a bit of a day off today. The new dress is beautiful.

  4. grandma weight says:

    Simply amazing!

  5. Jbug says:

    Did you make the dark sea-green dress with white smocking on it? I wore it when I was about 5 or 6, so maybe I don’t remember right, but I for some reason I always associate it with you.

    • zstitches says:

      You can rightly associate anything that has smocking on it with me. 🙂 But that dress was from a Swiss consignment shop my mom and I visited on our trip there in 2005. We found several really cute things that day.

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