Monday, January 31, 2011

Smocking a Bonnet

Well, here we are to my long awaited smocked bonnet instruction. In the shopping list I gave about a month ago, I said to get white floss. I chose pink for the photos. It shows up a little easier in the pics. So girls here we go. I used two strands of floss.

1.First thing you need to do is count the pleats all that way across. I find it's easier to do when you aren't interrupted. I usually don't do counting of pleats with the tv on, it's too distracting. Also, no kids running around or cell phone ringing. I know most people can't live without their cell phones, but trust me it's not fun to start over the counting process. I just happen to have 161 pleats (hope most of you have even #s). Take that number and divide in half which will give me 80. Now we count one more time from either direction, doesn't matter. When you get the your divided # that will be the center. I've tied floss around the center two pleats. For those of you like me who have an uneven number of pleats, we will be stitching all the pleats except the odd one. You may also want to mark the odd pleat at the end of your row opposite from the side you started on. This way you will not accidently stitch that odd pleat.

2. The blue line that is marked above where the needle is at on the pic is a holding row. Most patterns will not have you stitch on this row. The pleater thread that is just below the holding row is Row 1, that is where we will start our smocking on this bonnet. I usually pull the pleats apart just a little so I can see where the pleater thread is located. Poke your needle through the right side of the center two pleats (remember, I'm a lefty; for all you right-handed girls go to the left side). Stay just above the pleater thread. You don't want to stitch through the pleater thread. It makes it tought to remove them when you are done smocking.

3. We will be doing a row of cable stitches just above the pleater thread. The cable stitch is in my opinion the most basic stitch and probably the easiest too. Notice the thread in the pic is "over" so we are stitching an over cable. Same as my last blog post, don't pull the thread too tight. Easy way to explain is to imagine putting your arm around someone and then walking right next to them. Too loose and you don't stay together; too tight and it starts to hurt. You just want the pleats to stay companionably together.

4. The next stitch is an under cable. Notice the thread is "under". Stitch this over, under, over, under combination all the way across. I happened to end on a over cable.

5. Turn your work over. On the previous row I ended with an over cable, I will start with the same stitch in this row. Also, your floss will be just above the pleater threads. You are probably seeing that I didn't stitch one of the pleats. That was my odd pleat, so I'm not stitching it. You won't even notice after the pleater threads come out.

6. Next is an under cable. Do the same over, under, over, under combination all the way across just above the pleater thread. When you get to the end, turn your work over and continue on the same way you have been stitching. To me the double row of cables looks like links on a necklace and it does look like it forms a hole in the center.

 7. Row 2 will start a baby wave. We are starting in the center again, same as the very first row you stitched with an over cable only we are staying below the pleater thread with the needle.

8. Keeping your thread out of the way, move down a row and over one pleat. Notice my needle is just above the pleater thread for this stitch. For doing this stitch think of having boundaries. Your boundary lines are your pleater threads. You don't want to go over these boundaries or you will be in trouble later.

9. Your next stitch is an under cable.

10. Again, keep your floss out of the way and go back up to previous row and stitch an over cable. Continue on with this same stitch combination until you reach the end of the row. I ended the row with an under cable.

11. Turn your work again. Begin with a under cable, then go up to the next pleater thread and make an over cable. Remember to stay in your boundaries.

12. By now you have probably had to use new strands of floss. If you get short on floss before getting to the end of a row (I usually do), poke your needle down between the pleats and knot off on the back.

13. After adding new floss, poke your needle to the side of the pleat where you just ended and complets your stitch. Continue to the end of the row, turn the bonnet and continue on again.

14. The last two rows of smocking will be cables stitches. Follow the same stitch combination as you do with Row 1. You have now completed smocking your bonnet! I'm so proud of everyone. Next week we will be stitching bullions rosebuds.
Again, any questions, please, please, please ask me! I love hearing from all of you. Now I've got to go pleat three bonnets for my class tomorrow. Happy smocking everyone!


The sewing room said...

Such neat smocking,l am not doing the bonnet with you but l will soon but l am enjoying watching and learning and its nice to know l am doing some things right,l always did stitch on the thread line but l wont any more thank you jan for teaching and sharing.

Hugs Pat.

Jan said...

Thanks Pat. You can stitch on the pleater line, but it's too easy to end up stitching thru the pleater thread. It's easier in the long run to get used to stitching on either side of the pleater thread.

Julia said...

so very sweet!!!!