28.11.09

My Smocking Tips (and others) Shared

Many have emailed asking questions.. er... like the following.  Assuming that you already know the troubleshooting and basic steps of pleating and smocking, let's check what I normally do..

1.  How do you get prepared for pleating?

Step 1 - Masukkan benang ke mata jarum pengedut dahulu.
Step 2 - Tarik urat benang secara melintang dan gunting mengikut urat benang untuk mendapatkan garis lurus.
Step 3 - Seterika kain yang hendak dikedut, walaupun ia tidak terlalu berkedut (wrinkles).
Step 4 - Gulung kain pada kayu penggulung dengan memastikan bahagian tepi sebelah atas kain (top raw edges) sentiasa lurus.

Rasional kain digulung kemudian adalah supaya kain boleh terus dikedut setelah digulung dan keputusannya anda akan mendapatkan hasil kedutan yang lurus dan tidak senget.

2.  Do I have to treat thin fabric differently?

Kain nipis yang lembik menghasilkan terlalu banyak kedutan yang tidak kukuh.  Sulaman smocking nampak tidak kemas jika dibandingkan dengan kedutan yang kukuh.  Untuk menyelesaikan masalah ini, anda boleh semburkan kain dengan campuran kanji dengan air (spray starch) agar kain menjadi keras sedikit sebelum mengedut. 

Satu lagi cara ialah dengan melekatkan kain gam (fusible interfacing) yang paling nipis pada sebelah dalam kain sebelum mengedut (untuk kain yang sangat nipis).  Anda akan mendapati setiap kedutan menjadi lebih kukuh dan senang disulam sementara hasil sulamannya pula lebih terserlah.

3.  The best preparation for very thin fabric with a lining.

Bagi kain nipis seperti Polycotton atau cotton voile, pilihan terbaik ialah dengan mengedut kain tersebut dengan kain lining (terbaik cotton lining) sekaligus.  Hasilnya, kedutan lebih stabil dan senang untuk disulam.

4.  What about crispy fabric like organza?

Gabungan kain organza dan kain biasa menghasilkan gaun smocking yang sesuai untuk majlis2 istimewa.  Cara terbaik ialah dengan menggunakan cara 3 di atas.  Selain itu, anda juga boleh mengedut dengan menggandakan jumlah jarum pengedut iaitu 'half space' (instead of full space) supaya hasil kedutan tidak menggelembung (puff out).

5.  For a closely-spaced pleating, 44" or 59" wide fabric is better?

Bidang kain yang biasa digunakan ialah 44".  Untuk menghasilkan kedutan yang rapat-rapat, anda gunakan bidang kain 59", namun bidang kain 44" boleh juga menghasilkan kedutan yang rapat-rapat (see my next project 'Bittersweet & Hard Candy' very soon) dengan menarik benang kedutan (unpicking) 5 ~ 6cm dari kedua-dua belah tepi kain (side seam).  Pilihan yang terakhir ialah dengan menyambungkan fabric dan helaian kain lain sebelum mengedut.

6.  What does a dummy do in making smocked gown?

Patung yang saya panggil dummy ni adalah sebenarnya dinamakan 'toddler dress form', merupakan pelaburan yang paling penting bagi seorang tukang jahit.  Fungsinya ialah untuk memadankan pakaian semasa proses menjahit.  Badannya yang diperbuat daripada kayu, dilapis dengan span nipis dan dibalut dengan kain jersi memudahkan 'test-garmenting' kerana kain boleh dipinkan padanya.  Dress form bukan 'display mannequin' seperti yang terdapat di butik2 pakaian tetapi ia juga boleh berfungsi seperti 'display mannequin'.

Disebabkan harganya yang agak mahal cuba cari saiz yang sesuai digunakan untuk semua, contohnya saya beli dress form saiz 5 tahun untuk baju smocking saiz 4 - 7 tahun.  Berbaloi kan?

7.  Secrets to succesful smocking?

Ceraikan setiap floss benang sebelum disatukan semula mengikut jumlah floss yang diperlukan.

Selalu mulakan sulaman dari tengah2 (centre) panel smocking.

Gunakan benang yang pendek (>< 30cm).  Jangan gunakan lebihan benang yang sama untuk memulakan sulaman smocking yang baru.  Mematikan benang adalah lebih baik daripada meneruskan sulaman tetapi dengan benang yang sudah lusuh.  Mematikan benang pada 'cable' adalah lebih bijak daripada mematikan pada 'trelis'.

8.  The number of floss I should use?

Gunakan 2 floss untuk 'backsmocking'.  Secara amnya, gunakan 3 floss benang untuk smocking biasa, 4 floss benang pada kain yang coraknya padat (busy) dan 6 floss benang untuk 'picture smocking'.

9.  What is the price of a handsmocked and hand embroidered gown?

 Di Sarawak, harga sepasang gaun smocking (tidak kira umur dan saiz) boleh mencecah hingga ratusan ringgit.  Harga menyulam smocking dan upah menjahit dikira secara berasingan untuk mendapatkan harga sebenar.  Selain itu, material yang digunakan juga mempengaruhi harga gaun tersebut.  Kualiti jahitan  dan kualiti sulaman adalah yang paling dititikberatkan.

10.  Last but not least (a personal question for me). What is your age?

 I understand why people email and ask me this question.  Even in other counties like US and Australia, not many young people enjoy this hobby and willing to learn, some not until they have their own little babies.   It normally grannies smock for their grandchildren.

If you are young and passionate in this hobby, raise your hand and pat your shoulder.  Be proud smockers!  In the meantime, grannies... please continue with your smocking and pass your skill to us!

Ohoh! I forgot! I am 32.  hehe...

Graduation Day

Last Thursday was my niece's Graduation Day... 






Izzah Atirah on the Graduation Day.  Besides the certificate of attending the kindergarten, she receives quite a number of prizes for her achievement.  Go go Atirah! :)

 

There she is, fourth from left.  Go go Atirah! :)




Atirah was in the third place for the 1st semester and the chinese characters above says that she obtained the second place in overall semester exams...

Pertandingan Tulisan Bahasa Cina - Champion
Pertandingan Mewarna - Champion
Pertandingan Tulisan Bahasa Inggeris - Second runner up
Ujian Semester Pertama - Third Place
Ujian Keseluruhan - Second Place

The Graduation was combined with its neighbour, Chinese primary school and was held in their school hall.  Izzah Atirah will be going to SJK Chung Hua next year which was her aunts' and uncle's old school.  Somehow this bring back my memory when I was young like her... Aunt Erpha used to take part in so many competitions and won so many prizes... and Aunt Erpha was so fond of dancing and singing and performing on stage... 


Izzah Atirah, standing with her proud mama (my dearest kindest sweetest sis) will be proud that she belongs to the school and for so many years that I haven't heard the school anthem, I was so touched that day that tears simply rolled down my cheek while the school anthem was sung.  Go go SRB Chung Hwa (SJK Chung Hua)!!!

Congratulations Izzah Atirah! Jia You! Ni Neng Zhuo De Dao De!!

18.11.09

Childhood Friend

This is my latest smocking design ~ Childhood Friend.

I create this babydoll dress for active little 2-year olds. The spacious room for growth will make sure this dress to be worn for a long long time; real investment for smart parents.
Let's check the interior...


I fused lightweight woven fusible interfacing on the wrong side of the front yoke to substitude the lining. Why is that... I believe this method is fabric savvy and the most effective way to support the heavy smocked panel.

Talk about colour combinations...

Somehow the combination of cream, maroon, and dark green brings back my memory to my childhood wild plant... Sprinkles of maroon cable flowerettes match with the tiny maroon motifs. I thought I wanted to embroider some bullion roses, but then, well... simplicity is the best policy.

14.11.09

Another Smocking Project

I call this design ~ Perfect Mauve.

It's a simple square yoke smocking design scattered with 3mm light pink pearls. Fabric used ~ mauve poly cotton, quite thin material so I've fully lined it with cotton lining for comfortable wear. No petticoat required. :)



This sleeveless dress has satin mini piping details around the neck and armhole binding. The cummerbund comes with wide sashes is suitable for older girls; this dress could be the best dress to wear on a special occasion.


I used blind zippers instead of buttons for this design, neat finishing for a sweet young lady.

My label sewn behind the zippers...
My dad's comments on this dress ~ "Very romantic". What do you think?

2.11.09

The Socialites



Amidst busy schedule and smocking projects I suddenly thought of my Barbies this morning so I took them out from my box and dressed them in their outfits when I first bought them.   I photographed them ~ all bare-footed on my mini ironing board and they seemed to coorporate..

It's sad that I'm not making new dresses for them anymore so just to make me feeI better I share with you more of their collections which I made... years ago..  :( 

My dear Barbie (unnamed yet) is wearing a halter-neck top with matching pencil skirt.  I think she looks sassy in those boots... 


Check out the back.  It's backless and there's a slit on the back skirt.  Hot and sexy!


Check these pyjamas out.  I've embroidered the top and topsitched with contrasting thread colour around the neckline and sleeves.  The pants are elasticized without any enclosure so she would just slipped them in (nightwear is supposed to be comfy, right?). 

I used to sew white velcro as an enclosure.  But then changed to zippers after getting some crash course from tiny zippers.  Using zippers are much better!


As you can see, velcros are thick and it's quite difficult for her to fit on the dollstand if I need her to stand.


Right after knowing about Tiny Zippers, I decided to make a dress for Melur, just a simple dress as taught by Lisa of Tiny Zippers.  Melur, as I named her, is a new version of Barbie doll and has quite smaller body compared to the old version. 



I can't have the tinyzippers as they are too expensive, talk about currency convertion and postage and handling.  So I improvised and rummaged the harbedashery and found some zippers with small sliders.  Well, it works for this dress!  I'm happy with the result.

All designs are coded and well kept in a clear holder, hopefully for future use. 

1.11.09

Come Out & Play!

I always ask my hubby to pick the fabric for my smocking projects and this time he chosed blue with very dense white daisy prints.  I name this design 'Come Out & Play!' ~ Suitable for robust little four-year olds... 



I love incorporating my smocking with one or two colours from the fabric colours.  The white collars with piping detail balance out the busy prints.  I think the daisies will make this design stand out so I embroidered some bullion daisies that are uniform. 



To create a smocking design like this, I create a smocking graph using Excel (I found that typical graph paper not much of help, and smocking design software is too expensive).  I have plenty of blank graph forms printed so I can use them whenever I need to.