Fun With Template-Smocked Polka Dots

“Seeing Spots” by Annette Drysdale (Issue #96)


Last week, we shared a bright and cheerful butterfly smocking plate with you; this week, we’d like to talk about a different method of smocking – template smocking. This type of smocking is an alternative to following a picture smocking graph to create a design. The shape to be smocked is traced directly onto the fabric. Follow this how-to from our friends at Australian Smocking & Embroidery to create cute template-smocked spots:

What You’ll Need: 
• Circle template
• Fine tip water-soluble fabric marker
• No. 8 crewel needle
• DMC stranded cotton thread in colors of your choice

How to Smock:
NOTE: Before you begin, backsmock all rows (bodice pictured used 24 full-space rows) in mirror image cable stitch using two strands of thread. (Backsmocking helps stabilize the pleats in areas where there are no surface stitches; it involves smocking rows on the wrong side of your pleated fabric with thread the same color as your fabric.) The spots are worked using stacked cables to fill in the shape with four strands of thread. Each spot is outlined by a row of chain stitch using three strands of the same color.

1. Using a circle template and a water-soluble fabric marker, mark a circle onto the pleats.

2. Beginning at the center of the circle, work a row of cable stitches across the shape.

3. Continue filling the lower half of the circle using stacked cables.

4. Fill the second half of the circle in the same manner.

5. Bring the thread to the surface at the edge of the cables.

6. Work a row of chain stitch around the cable circle, stopping one chain from the end.

7. To finish the circle, slide the needle under the top of the first stitch as shown.

8. Completed template smocking spot.

After your first dot is finished, continue to the next! Stitch your dots in the same color, or mix it up for a bright ensemble. The garment pictured above features a white bodice covered in red, green, blue, pink, purple and yellow template-smocked dots.

Be sure to check out Australian Smocking & Embroidery magazine for more sewing fun. Each issue is filled with patterns, project ideas, techniques and endless inspiration!

Sew On, Sew Well, Sew Beautiful,
Cyndi & Amelia

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