The Summer 21 magazine features smocking an age old stitch technique that is quickly disappearing from use. I found that once I had tried the direct smocking technique from Ruth Singer’s book, Fabric Manipulation, I could introduce this on other styles with gathered or elasticated details.
Here I’ve swapped the drawstring gather details on The Tie Detail Top for a version of basic smocking. I chose this navy broderie anglaise fabric from Ditto, utilising the selvedge edge as the garment’s hemmed edge.
I first stitched the two front pieces together from neck to hem. Then made up the sleeves. On these three flat garment pieces I chalked the stitch layout points as shown in the illustration. The central line of dots sits directly on the centre front seam and central sleeve seams, starting from the garment edge - the dots on these lines are 1cm apart. Then chalk two parallel lines of dots 2cm above and below the central line.
This is a variation of the basic stitch layout given in Ruth’s book and developed to create one symmetrical line of smocking. The stitch layout shows the stitch steps: each number is one stitch. Starting at 1 through to 2 (1cm apart), moving across to 3 and 4 (2cm up from 1-2) back down to 1-2 labelled 5-6, then across to 7-8 etc.
This smocked Tie Detail Top is a long way from the childhood smocks I remember and I love the sophisticated, finished effect.