Remember the pleating tutorial? Well, it's finally finished. The smocking took longer than I expected but the thing that was really holding me back was the thought of shirring the back. I've been sewing a long time and it has never come up. Basically, it's a form of gathering. You buy good quality elastic thread. You have to hand wind your bobbin, putting slight tension on the elastic as you go. You use regular thread in the needle. Then you just sew. Yea, right. Might as well give it a try since the back was 3 times wider than the front and something had to be done. I didn't take pictures of the process but basically I placed lines along the back where I needed to sew and then jumped in. Oh yea, don't back stitch at the beginning and end. I have to say that it was very easy and I'm pleased with how it turned out. You can actually move the fabric along the sewn lines to bring it in more. Heavier fabric requires more tension on the elastic thread when you are winding the bobbin. I started with 8 rows of shirring but ended up with 7. I snapped the thread on one of the rows but luckily it was the last one. Anyway, here is my completed smocked sun dress using one of my favorite fabrics from Amy Butler's Midwest Modern collection.
Close up of smocking:
A very cute pin: