It's been a hectic week at work and as a result, I have spent very little time in the sewing room. Very frustrating.
I did manage to pleat the front and back pieces, to get them ready to smock.
I pleated each half row and the pattern is fairly detailed. Notice I pleated all the way to the top of the fabric pieces. I'm sure you're thinking, now what is unusual about that?
In this closeup of the pattern illustration you can see the smocking placement on the front. It doesn't go all the way up to the top of the pattern piece, and the instructions have the sewer gather the top section above the smocking. I think this is a fairly old pattern, as the pieces have the dots marked on them for smocking, with no references to pleaters. So I pleated all the way up to the top so I wouldn't have to gather it separately. I have found that when having to gather large amounts of fabric, running it through the pleater with only two pleating threads does a marvelous job of gathering the fabric very easily.
The smocking plate that I am modifying for the dress is from Australian Smocking and Embroidery No. 54, from 2001. The dress is "Cupcake" and I've wanted to make it for a long time. I may still someday. Unfortunately, this issue is no longer available, and a quick search of Country Bumpkin, eBay and Amazon turned up no issues.
The right front smocked with matching red thread. The white thread at the top is a tailor's tack that I use for marking the center valley. It's much more reliable than white chalk and very easily removed.
And the back panel smocked. This pattern needs some serious backsmocking to keep the center panels from pulling away from the smocking. I think I'll do the edge smocking in black or a darker red, then figure out what to do in the center. Bullion roses, of course, I just have to pick out the right pink and red combination.
Back to smocking!