Do You Smock?

I (sort of) do, and I think you should, too. It is really such a lovely technique, and it adds such a nice dimension to hand stitching. Like I mentioned in my post about my purse, I saw this tutorial on a form of smocking (at least, I’m pretty sure it’s smocking, but I’m not positive—the web page was in French), I decided to try it out.

I did a little sample, first.

It took a little guessing and trying things out, since the instructions were in French, and Google Translate just wasn’t cutting it. But after I got the idea down, it went pretty smoothly. The repetitive stitching may be tedious to some, but I like it, for the most part it is relaxing and a nice activity to do while watching a good movie.

I really liked both sides, actually, so I set about trying to figure out a way to get the results of the “back” without all the loose threads hanging out on that side.

I did pretty good, but I still have to perfect it. Maybe I’ll share that with you sometime.

One part of smocking that I did not enjoy was marking up the fabric. Especially when it came time to make my purse; it seemed like it took almost as much time to mark up the fabric as it did to sew the thing. I decided to try a different way of marking.

I made myself a little marking template (and you can too, if you want to try this kind of smocking). I just drew out a grid of half inch squares and punched holes with an awl in the corner of each square.

Then I simply laid this template down on my fabric and made little dots with a fabric marker at each hole. This method worked pretty well; it was much faster than drawing the grid out for each piece of fabric, and it saved the ink of my disappearing pen, but it wasn’t perfect. The fabric I used was dark and very shifty, so it was hard to keep the fabric from moving underneath the template, and the pen I used (light blue) didn’t show up super great. Anyways, that’s my two cents on that.

I have since seen a very detailed and helpful posts about how to get started smocking, and I think they’re great. Definitely check it out if you’re interested in learning more about smocking.

If you have any tips about smocking, I would love to hear them. Have a great weekend. Be sure to check in next week, I have a fun project to share with you, and I think I’ll be doing a little giveaway to celebrate my 100th post. See you then.

I made a purse

It is now probably painfully obvious that I’ve been off my blogging game for a while, and I apologize (I’m especially sorry for the clunky, uninspired title; nothing clever came to mind). I know, today is October 1st, and look, this is me coming up for air. Remember how I said that I would be working on my own projects in the wee morning hours? Well, I don’t know if 5 am is considered “wee,” but that’s the earliest I’ve been getting up, and it’s actually been pretty good. The whole house is still and I can breathe in the peace before a hectic day begins. Hmmmm. The only problem is that the early early morning hours before sunrise are not very conducive to lovely photodocumentation, thus my absence and seeming inactivity on this creative blog.

But ah, here is proof; I really have been up to something. A bunch of somethings, really, but this is the first one to get finished, so here it is:

A purse.

Not the first I’ve ever made, but a first from my own design.

The idea behind this purse came a long long time ago, with this pin. It was one of my first pins on pinterest, actually, and the image struck me then as a great way to give a plain old purse some character, so I tucked the idea away, simmering slowly on the back burner, waiting for the right moment for me to put the idea into action. Then this little contest came along, and I thought, sure, why not. (EDITED: My purse got selected as one of the top 10 purses for purse week over at A Lemon Squeezy Home.  Be sure to check them out, and vote for your favorite!) I needed a new purse, anyways. Plus, it was the perfect opportunity to experiment with the smocking trick.

I thought the weaving effect was lovely, and at least worth a try, so with a little practice, a slight idea for which direction to take the purse, and some trial and error, I made myself a little purse.

What do you think? Don’t you love my little model?

I hope to be sharing a little more about my new love of smocking (and little fabric buttons) soon.

Have a great weekend!

ps. I’m linking this up at skip to my lou and at thirty days.