Friday, September 20, 2013

The Smocked Dress


Before elastic there was smocking. The art of folding and stitching fabric to allow stretch was often used in the collars and cuffs of garments for men, women and children. Any fabric that can be folded into pleats can be smocked. Smocking can also be used as a purely decorative element as well.

I remember wearing this sweet little dress with the smocked detail on the midriff section. This is my sister Ann wearing the dress. Our dresses passed down from cousin to sister to neighbor. What a lovely detail on this little cotton dress.

Years later I purchased this vintage dress at a thrift store. It was well worn but the detail at the yoke, pocket flaps and cuffs was so beautiful that I had to have it.

The front yoke shows a method of pintucking or more likely tuck pleats worked in a chevron pattern.

The pleats are machine stitched after carefully folding and pressing. These surface details transform this ordinary sheath style dress into a Couture garment.

Smocking as a garment detail for other than little girls dresses has come in and out of fashion. This lovely Anne Adams dress pattern from the 1930's with neckline and sleeve smocking details is one example.

Anne Adams 2365

Or this lovely gown featured in Threads magazine:

Threads Magazine Issue 167

The smocking on the back of this dress from Bottega Veneta creates fullness. Imagine this triangular smocked insert inverted on the back of a halter dress with the full skirt trailing behind.

Honeycomb Smocked Evening Skirt McCall's 1746

That same smocking detail is featured in this elegant and dramatic 1950's honeycomb smocked evening skirt from McCalls. Find it HERE on Etsy.

Or this simple elegance in the yoke of this Simplicity pattern from the 1960's:

Or this charming 1940's McCall smocked blouse pattern for women.

McCall 1406 ©1948

The Dritz Smockruler made the addition of smocked accessories and decor so much easier with it's easy to follow instructions. Now more than ever decor and fashions such as smocked hats and bags became easy to make. 

For more Smocking Patterns to Download for Free Click HERE

Many of these vintage sewing patterns are still available though becoming rarer.Click HERE for free downloadable patterns for accessories and decor.

1 comment:

  1. Smocked details are just fabulous! I love your sister's dress. :-)