Saturday, January 16, 2010

An Inside Peek

Some time ago Rosa asked about using fusible interfacing on the front yoke and the skirt front of a smocked dress. My apologies to her for being so slow in responding. I dislike using the words 'always' and 'never' because it 'always' seems to come back to bite you. But... I almost always interface the front yoke of any smocked dress. It just makes sense to me to stabilize the little yoke that has the big job of holding up a somtimes heavily smocked and embroidered skirt. The extra layer on the yoke helps to eliminate puckers and other nasty business that can sometimes happen along that piped seamline. It also helps pad the lower edge of the yoke to help prevent the sometimes quite bulky seam allowance from imprinting on the right side of the yoke front.

I turned this smocked dress inside out, as best as I could, to show the interfaced front yoke and also the interfaced smocked portion of the skirt front. This particular dress is made from a Liberty Tana Lawn which is 54" wide and seems to pleat down to almost nothing. On lightweight fabrics like this I will usually fuse a strip of lightweight interfacing to the area that will be pleated. Once pleated this helps form plumper pleats and keeps the fabric from collapsing down to nothing. It makes the job of blocking out a skirt front much easier.

I also like to add a single layer liner to the back of the smocked section of a yoke dress. This covers up all the yoke seams and the inevitable knots on the back of the smocking. It helps stabilize the smocked area and is comfortable against the skin.


  1. These are great photos, Gail...very helpful. Thanks.

  2. I love this dress and am excited to try putting the interfacing in a dress of my own. Now if I could only get Kevin and Whitney to give me a little girl (or boy) to smock for that would even be better.

    I am glad that I found your blog. See you soon my friend.

    Melanie Hopes

  3. I love the scalloped collar. Did you make a pattern for it or is it from an existing pattern?

  4. I have a hate/love relationship with interfacing, even the nice German interfacing. I used it in a collar on a dress and, after washing and drying, the collar was all "bubbled". I did preshrink the interfacing before using. I wonder if it was the you put any of your smocked/interfaced garments in the dryer?

  5. I found your blog today. I love the AS&E magazines. I had two pictures of my granddughters in one last year in matching dresses I made for them.

    Your work is beautiful.

  6. Your work is sooo beautiful!! Your attention to detail just gives me thrills!
    I am currently smocking the black gingham bishop you designed in Sew Cute Couture. Thank you so much for that book, I admire it tremendously.

  7. Hi Sarah,
    I made the pattern for the collar. Those Helix circle templates you have been looking for have MANY uses. We will have a little show and tell in February.

    To my anonymous friend who has a love/hate relationship with interfacing.... I try to not put my smocked dresses in the dryer. I hang most all good dresses to dry and then give them a good ironing.

  8. Hi Gail,
    I have smocked many Liberty Tana Lawns for my 3 girls over the years. And you're ABSOLUTELY right; they do smock down to nothing!

    I love your idea of interfacing light weight fabric. Such a smart lady. And such a simple solution. I wonder why I didn't think of it 12 yrs ago!!!!! It could have saved me a lot of anguish... Ho Hum... Anguish NO more :)

    Your garments are beautifully finished. And I aspire mine little ensembles to reach your dizzy heights.

    Many thanks for your wonderful words of wisdom
    Ginny Donley
    Perth WA Australia


Teaching Schedule for 2016

Teaching Schedule for 2016

January 2016
11-16 Sewing At the Beach
Myrtle Beach South Carolina

25-28 and 29- Feb 1 Children's Corner
Nashville Tennessee

March 2016
1-10 It's So Heavenly
La Fayette Louisiana

April 2016
1-2 New Orleans SAGA
New Orleans Louisiana

25 - May 1 Chadwick Heirlooms
Richmond Virginia

May 2016
Cape May SAGA
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

June 2016
20-23 Private Class
Dyersburg Tennessee

August 2016
1-7 Private Class
Becky's Barn, Grimsley Tennessee

Farmhouse Fabrics
Beech Island, South Carolina

September 2016
21-25 SAGA National Convention

October 2016
5-12 Beating Around the Bush
Adelaide, South Australia

20-22 SAGA
Charleston, South Carolina

November 2016
4-5 Midnight Oil Smockers
Houston, Texas
contact: (Leslye)

14-18 Private Class

For teaching information, a current class list, and available dates, contact