It seems like lately all the babies being born that I know are boys! So....have been doing a little planning and sewing boy clothes.
For my latest project, I used Michie Mooney's Jon-Jon pattern, which is SO easy to follow! My first step is always to trace the pattern pieces onto lightweight interfacing. I keep them filed in my pattern notebooks by size. (If you'd like to learn how to organize your patterns, check out my blog post on Pattern Organization.)
One of the best parts of planning an outfit is selecting fabric! I have PLENTY of fabric in my stash to choose from, but for this project, I let my daughter pick. Since the outfit is for one of her friends, I texted pictures of various fabrics and smocking plates to choose from. We started with ginghams and progressed thru corduroy and finally settled on Robert Kaufman's Remix Ovals in navy blue. The recipient lives in Florida so this weight will be great for all year. We also decided to make a 12 month size since most babies receive lots of "little things" and this will be ready for later!
[caption id="attachment_516" align="aligncenter" width="300"] S.S. Noah by Little Memories and Robert Kaufman Remix fabric[/caption]
The plate she chose was S.S. Noah by Little Memories. I've had that particular plate in my possession since my daughter was little but I never got to make it for her. It would be so cute done in pastels or brights for a little girl!
Next the fun part begins! Pleating and smocking!!! I adapted the pattern to fit a smaller insert so I eliminated 2 rows. I figured the birds could fly a little bit lower in the sky and it wouldn't look odd, so here we go! I also changed the colors to suit a primary palette.
My favorite time to smock is at night after supper with a cup of coffee while my husband "surfs" through his tv programs. (I hate to admit it, but I don't even know which channels are which...he always handles that!:)) I only allow myself to smock until around 8 or 9, otherwise, my brain keeps smocking and creating and I can't sleep!! The other favorite is in my studio sitting in my cozy chair! When my children were little, I used their nap time for my sewing time.
So... on with the project! I usually back smock after I picture smock. (Unless you accidentally leave the template at home and need something to do on a road trip :/) I have a tendency to smock "tight" so this procedure works best for me. There is nothing wrong with backsmocking first then doing the picture smocking.
Make a copy of the template on your printer (the reason the template was left at home in the afore mentioned paragraph) and put it with your project. I use a metal board with magnet strips to keep up with where I am on the project. If your template doesn't have a numerical count, take the time to count the rows and write the numbers in. It saves tremendous time and having to rip out stitches later!
As I smock, I use a highlighter to mark out the completed row. Then I move the magnetic strip down, hang the marker on the metal board to indicate whether I'm to start upside down or right side up! This procedure keeps you on task and also allows you to mark on the template, then throw it away keeping the master intact!
Make sure to keep the rows aligned as you smock, and as I tell my students, each row should KISS the next! Also, I thread all my needles with all the thread needed for the project and stick in a pincushion. That way they are handy as I do color changes.
If you didn't backsmock first, backsmock the areas that aren't picture smocked. (Another reason I wait until after to backsmock...I don't have to do an area twice)
Then construction, complete with lining and cute buttons( I used two together-an orange and red) and VOILA! Cute baby boy Jon-Jon!
The finished project and baby gift ready to be mailed! Boy's clothing can be just as fun to sew!
Where do you like to smock? When? Do you backsmock first or last? I'd love to hear from you!