Sunday, September 28, 2014

A Basic Smocked Yoke Variation

Once you have mastered the Basic Smocked Yoke Dress you might want to try making a variation - just to keep things interesting.
You don't need a new pattern, just a little courage to change things up a bit.

Add a box pleat to a piped yoke garment

Inserting a box pleat in the centre front of the skirt is a fairly simple thing to do and cuts down on the amount of smocking you will have to do.

You can do this with almost any basic pattern.
Pleat the skirt and leave long gathering threads so you can flatten out an area in the centre of the skirt.

Find the centre valley between the centre pair of pleats or the centre pleat. Mark it with a pin. Decide how big a pleat you want in the CF. Below I have chosen to make my pleat 1".

So, you will need 1" for the pleat, 1" for the back side of the pleat and 1" for the underlay of the pleat. You will need to clear a  total of 3" in the centre of the skirt or 1.5" on either side of C.F.

Do this as soon after you have pleated the fabric as possible to avoid the pleats becoming set in the fabric. Clear the gathering threads from the fabric.

You can press the area for the pleat and give it a shot of spray starch as well to give it a bit of body. If you want to embroider a monogram or add some embroidery design to the pleat do it now and then carry on with the construction.

Refold the fabric on the CF line but do not press it in,  just finger press it lightly enough to mark it temporarily. Stitch a line of machine stitching 1" from the CF fold to the depth or length of your smocking design. The pleated area to be smocked should start 1/2" beyond this line of stitching.

Now open the box pleat and line up the CF fold to the line of stitching. Now you can lightly press the box pleat and remove the CF line.

You will also want to clear the armhole and seam allowance at both ends of the pleating.
Your smocking should mirror image one side to the other. So set the design working from the centre going towards the armholes.

If you are not doing embroidery on the box pleat perhaps you have decorative buttons that tie in with your fabric or smocking design. These are such an easy accent.

Hear are a couple of other ideas to go with the box pleat:

Add a lace edged square collar!

Use a Swiss embroidered edging for the yoke and let the decorative edge sit atop the seam. Tack it in place so it seems to float in place.

Here's a dress I made about 30 years ago! It has an Austrian embroidered edge for the yoke and I machine stitched through the embroidery to attach it. Looking back it probably would have looked better if I had tacked it in place through part of the design. I also didn't lower the smocking design  so the whole design would be visible. Funny how we see these things years later. However I expect the addition of the fancy yoke was after the smocking was finished!!

Not sure how to draft a square collar? Watch for the next installment..
Till then, keep stitching....

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