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 2017

March 22-25
t of St Louis SAGA
St. Louis,
contact: Diane (

April 5-9
Children's Corner
Nashville, Tennessee
contact: www.children'

April 28 - May 2
Chadwick Heirlooms
Richmond, Virginia

May 22-26
Birmingham, Alabama
Fiming new vidoes for Classic Sewing magazine

June 8-11
Private class
Fernlake, Tennessee

June 22-24
Huntsville SAGA
Huntsville, Alabama
contact: Abbie (

June 26-28
Private class
Huntsville, Alabama

July 6-8
Prairie Bell Smockers (SAGA)
Lincoln, Nebraska
contact: Jenny (

July 18-23
Private class
Becky's Barn
Grinsley, Tennessee

August 7-11
Private class
Wenatchee, Washington

August 21-25
Farmhouse Fabrics
Beech Island, South Carolina

September 7-9
Low Country Smockers (SAGA)
Charleston, South Carolina
contact: Sallie (

September 22-24
Yankee SAGA
Boston, Mass
contact: Kathy (

October 12-15
SAGA Regional
St. Louis Missouri

October 16-19
Private class
St. Louis, Missouri

November 7-11
Private class
Medford, Oregan

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