Thursday, March 22, 2012

Smocking hits the Silver Screen

While flipping through a copy of one of the movie preview magazines from the theatre, I spotted and ad for the movie starring Julia Roberts, “Mirror Mirror”. It is rated PG and is a  comedy/fantasy due to be released March 30, 2012.

 I did a double take as the whole centre panel of Snow White’s bodice is smocked with one of the oldest smocking stitches, the Honeycomb Stitch. The princess-seamed gown has an off the shoulder neckline, Basque waistline and a white collar looks like a three-tired crocheted edge.

Knowing how little girls love to dress like their favourite movie characters, made me think how easily one could reproduce this gown with big puff sleeves, a modified neckline, regular waistline and lovely full skirt.
You don’t even need a pleater to smock the fabric.         
Use a fading marker, draw a grid on the right 
side of the fabric. On a piece of scarp fabric test          
the size of grid you think would work. ½” or ¾” will 
make the job go fast but might be a bit larger than 
you want so do test. 
Do be careful to be accurate and remember that the grid will disappear in about 24 to 48 hours.

Here is how to do the stitch:
Come up on the LHS of the intersection of the grid.                                     
Move to the right of the next interaction of the grid.

Pick up a stitch the width of the vertical line.


Move back to the first intersection and pick up a stitch from right to left the width of that vertical line.
Draw the two stitches together. 

Put the needle back into the fabric on the RHS of the second intersection and slide it down to the intersection right below.
Come out on the LHS of this intersection. 

Do not pull this vertical stitch up.

Only pull up the horizontal stitches

Repeat the stitch at this level.   


Insert your needle on the RHS of this lower stitch and come out on the LHS of the upper intersection. Repeat the stitch.

When you have completed one row, knot off on the wrong side and start again.

Beginning on the third line of your grid, make a stitch.

Insert the needle as before and travel down to make 
the next stitch.
 Then travel up again in the same fashion as the first row of stitching.

 Here are the knots on the back and how the stitches look on the front of the fabric.

 This is the perfect project to try working with Pearle cotton. It is a non-divisible fibre so there is no stripping of floss and it is so easy with which to work. If you get really creative and ambitious, you could even try beading this stitch! 

Why not give it a try?
So do keep stitching.....


  1. Nicely done! Not only seeing that detail in the dress, but the effort it took to post these sewing instructions. Wonderful.

  2. Thank you Leslie.
    Now for how to alter a basic pattern with a waist to a Princess Line garment.....