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Sunday, October 09, 2005

Love At First Smock

It was love at first sight (hic
, smock) when I chanced upon this issue of the Australian Smocking & Embroidery some 9 years back. The dropwaist on the front cover beckoned me to "look at me, buy me and stitch me". I did all of the above even though I had zilch knowledge on smocking for I was so fired up to learn. I'd self-taught myself by following the step-by-step instructions in the magazine. Thank you, Country Bumpkin.

Of course, it would be too ambitious of me to start off with the dropwaist as my first project so I opted for an easier piece. This was what I had chosen; one that does not require pleating in its actual sense. Next on my agenda was to shop for the material. Sometimes you can't explain life's happenings. There I was window shopping at the then Yaohan at the Mall (next to Legend Hotel) when lo, I saw the exact material used in the magazine being sold at its handicraft section! Grapped it I did and once home, I immediately started on it. And voila, here it is... my very first smocked dress for my DD.

Confidence gained, I gave in to my whim. I had to smock the dropwaist next. This began the frenzy to contact Country Bumpkin so I can order a pleater. Reason being, I'm not about to do it my mother's way - manually placing dots row upon row on the material and do running stitches picking up the dots for pleats. At the same time, I took the opportunity to order most of the back issues. I was estatic when they finally arrived. They dined and slept with me for more than a week (frankly, they still do some nights). Next was material stashing. I'd landed with quantities that could keep me smocking till my next lifetime!

Given that the dropwaist would be a challenge, I hmm... made it 2-size bigger than DD in anticipation that it would take me ages to finish. Finished I did and all in good time too. New broom sweeps well mah. Tried it on DD but she looked frumpy. I didn't want to keep it till DD grows into it so I gritted my teeth and gave it to a colleague's daughter. As she's older and lankier, she should do justice to such a beautiful dress. Here... my second attempt at smocking but first at stitching bullions. (I would advise those who have never sewn a dress before not to attempt this for it would really test your skill and accuracy as the front bodice and sleeves were made up of separate panels joined together with lace).

I didn't have enough of a good thing so I took up a subscription when Country Bumpkin had an offer of 5 issues for the price of 4. You know how reliable our postal system is - I'd only received the first and the last issue of the subscription! I must thank the people at Country Bumpkin though as they did replace the missing issues but alas, it benefitted more people at the postal office. Grrr!!! Guess they couldn't resist the beautiful mags showing through the transparent plastic sealed bags they came in. All was not lost as I'd just to fork out more money by buying them at Cottage Patch. Since then, either Alice or Wai from Cottage Patch will give me a call each time a new issue arrives. I do feel the pinch with the Aussie Dollar being so high but who could resist such beautiful mags! Sigh... but hang on, some of the issues I have are deemed as rare issues. They are being retailed as high as AUD60 per copy and I have about 10 of them!

More smocking came albeit at a snail pace and these are some of them:

Black sheep of the family: This dress here was not smocked but surface embroidered - Old MacDonald had a farm... I've had kids singing each time DD wore it. It also had me perfected my French knots as the sheep were all done with it. I'd had hours of pleasure in embroidering this and I foresee there might be a repeat of it when I'm a grandma. Lol.

DD is going on 13 this year and dresses (and boys, phew) are
taboo now. I have set aside smocking for the time being UNLESS my colleague who's pregnant with twins has girls. I'll know in November...

* click on photos to enlarge

Category: [smocking]


Blogger whitecalla said...

Wow! June, loved those dresses, simply beautiful. Loved your oriental blog too..So u r into Chinese brush painting too ?

Monday, October 10, 2005 3:24:00 PM  
Blogger junesctung said...

Thanks for dropping by, Lillie. Yes, I was into Chinese brush painting but dropped it last year. Will resume lessons beginning of next year when I'm through with the ems RR. From the tone of it, you are into it as well? I'm still working on my blog and when time permits, shall put up an album of my paintings for show and tell.

Monday, October 10, 2005 3:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow ! Wow ! this is going to be a Wow !
No am not into CBP, but have always loved and admired those painting, especially those landscape scenery.
~ Lillie

Tuesday, October 11, 2005 9:32:00 PM  
Blogger ~Harsha~ said...

WTG June... your works are gorgeous!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger Von said...

How lovely to find a fellow smocker!! I haven't done any smocking the last few years, but have just finished the smocking of a little bishop for our church's silent auction. My sewing machines are set up and ready for tomorrow morning :)))

You made some beautiful dresses!!! Inquiring minds want to know if you'll be smocking for twin girls!!

Thursday, November 10, 2005 3:40:00 PM  
Blogger junesctung said...

Hi Von,

I dropped by your blog and I do agree with you that little girls look sweet in bishops. In fact in all things smocked. Good luck with your finishing of the bishop tomorrow. Its turning out great with the bullions.

Haha... the twins are like yours - with an extra appendage. Guess my pleater will be gathering more dust.

Thursday, November 10, 2005 10:43:00 PM  
Blogger Von said...

June, twin boys are pretty great too! They really changed my world tho - at least for several years. And someday you may want to start a Grandmother's Hope Chest :)

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Thursday, November 17, 2005 1:01:00 AM  

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