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Hand Pleating Technique to Smock

                     Smocking is a form of surface embroidery worked around pleated fabric. Uniformity of  the gathering (pleats) is most important. Ways to form uniform and evenly spaced pleats are dot transfer method, gathering pleats on dotted swiss fabric, gathering the pleats on striped fabric, gathering pleats on gingham fabric. While using checked (gingham) or striped materials, dots are not necessary as the pattern can be used as a guide for the gathering . In case of stripes, horizontal lines have to be ruled on the back of the material in order to keep the rows straight.

Stripe Fabric

Working example with stripe fabric

Working example with Swiss dot fabric

Swiss Dot fabric

Gingham ( checked ) fabric

Working example with Gingham fabric

       Dot Transfer Method Pleating Instruction:

                All smocking dots should be transferred to the wrong side of the fabric.

Instead of dots , its boxed 

Working example with boxed 

                        Pick few threads of  fabric at intersection of two ( vertical and horizontal) lines as shown in above picture.

Pleating with Dot transfer method

                  While working with dot method, work a thread along each row of dots on the wrong side of fabric picking small amount of  fabric at each dot (as shown in above picture). Start with a knot or a back stitch and use a separate thread for each row, leaving generous length of  thread hanging at the end

Pleating example

                     Once all rows are picked, gently pull hanging threads to form uniform pleats. The gathering threads not only holds pleats together but also provides guidelines (straight line guideline)  while working smocking stitches.

Pleated fabric

                  Knotting gathering threads is important, knot two threads as shown in below picture.

Knotting example of  pleated  threads

              Dot transfer tips: While arranging dots,if  the width of columns is 1 cm then the length of rows to be 1.2 cm. This gives more clarity to smocked stitches than the square ones.

Dot transfer instruction

                Material Calculation:

                        The amount of fabric required varies from fabric to fabric, fine fabric like silks takes more material than the thick cotton fabric and also every individual  work with different tension, some will pull stitches more tightly than others. Average is to take at least three times the amount of required material. The stitches used to smock  make a difference too, as some are more elastic than others.

                         So before starting with a project , test sample is important. To pleat a test sample, cut a sample fabric of 8 cm * 40 cm wide. Pleat this sample and tie off  hanging threads with pleats almost touching each other. Now measure the width of pleated sample. For example, if it measures 10 cm, then divide the original width with finished width ie 40/10=4. So by this its gives a ratio of 1:4. So to determine the required amount of fabric, multiply the required width with 4, for example, if required finished width is 40 cm, then multiply 40*4=160, so fabric width should be 160 cm . Keep extra 10 cm ie 5 cm on either side. 


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