Thursday, March 31, 2011

Italian Smocked Evening Bag

I can hear all you saying this, Oh no, not another black silk dupioni piece! This project is Fiore Bello from Australian Smocking and Embroidery Issue 76, from 2006. The Italian smocking used in this bag is very different from the usual English smocking. It is done with threads that match the fabric and is more about manipulating the pleats into a pattern than having the embroidery floss stand out on the surface of the fabric. I used DMC No. 12 perle cotton for this and boy, was it ever hard to distinguish the threads from the fabric.  I can't tell you how many times I "desmocked" because I didn't get the counting right. With Italian smocking it is crucial to count the pleats accurately. I ended up not tying off the ends until the piece was finished so that I could correct mistakes more easily.

The pattern recommended using the same silk dupioni for the interior, but I found this zebra fabric in my stash and decided to use it to give a bit of contrast inside the bag. I really don't like having to find things inside a black bag. I used a yard of black ribbon for the strap. It's just large enough for a compact, lipstick, cell phone and some cash, perfect for an evening bag.

A quick search on eBay and Amazon turned up none of Issue 76, but Country Bumpkin does have it on their site for AU$13.95. From time to time AS&E does have an Italian Smocking pattern which should be easily adaptable to make into a bag.

I should be home again shortly, and will post about some of my stitching related adventures in London. Right before I left, I figured out how to add pages to the blog, and will work on those during April. I'd like to have links to the various projects, to help with searching for a specific topic. 


  1. You did a great job on that bag! I haven't tackled Italian Smocking yet but I've had my eye on that bag since the magazine came out.
    I love the lining- it adds such a cute touch of whimsey to the inside.

  2. Looks really nice! Very Italian indeed. I will send this to
    my friend from Italy to show it off...

  3. Another gorgeous bag. I would need extremely good light, like a bright sunny day, to be able to work magic like this.

  4. Wonderful - I recently saw a pillow done entirely in Italian smocking - it's such a lovely technique. You did a great job on that purse.

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