Thursday, February 17, 2011

counterchange smocking

I have a weekly sewing group that i go to. It consists of half a dozen women sitting around each other's kitchen tables, sewing and chatting. It is lovely and has been my one night dedicated to me and what i want to do for quite a few years now.  Different things have tried to interfere with it; kids' sporting nights usually, but I do what i can to make it each week. It is wonderful to sit among friends, learn things from them, and chat about family, children etc. 

A few weeks ago some of them wanted to try counterchange smocking, which is something I had never done so I had a go too.  The lady who taught me to smock 11 years ago doesn't believe in samplers and I dont either now.  She has some very good arguments to support this and so as a result, my very first attempt at smocking in her class ended up in a lovely little bishop dress.
So when it came time to try the counterchange smocking, I decided to turn that into a dress as well.  For no real reason, I chose to make it into a size three.  If I had've made it in a size 5 I could have given it to a friend for her daughter.  There certainly is too many things hanging up in my sewing room as it is with no prospects of having an owner any time soon, so to add another one was a bit silly. Nevertheless, a size three it is.  I took it to my group last night to hem and luckily for me one of the ladies had nothing to do and hemmed it for me.  Thanks Helen I owe you!!!  I dont have a problem with hemming, but like a lot of things, if you offer to do it for me, i will not say no LOL!! it meant I got to sit and knit for a baby present I am making.
So, here is the dress, it still needs buttons.

The back has two rows of the red smocking.  It is annoying me though (hence the lack of photos!), as I thought the smocking would match up with the front but the top row of the back meets up with the bottom row of the front. So the second row on the back sits lower than the smocking on the front. It probably really isn't a problem but it is annoying to me as I had planned it, or so I thought, to be the same.  So I have three choices; to do one more row on the front, take one row off the back, or leave it as it is.  I dont think the last option will happen, and i think if I do one more row on the front it will be too low on a child, so that leaves pulling a row out of the back.  I certainly have enough other things on the go so I will leave it for now and decide later.
Before i forget, i will show you my first smocking; it is not perfect by any means, and the doll I had it on has stretched the sleeves, but I am proud of it. My son got croup halfway through the course and i missed a couple of lessons. Thankfully I phoned the teacher as I had no idea that the two step wave and then the five step trellis (the blue rows) made hearts.  They would have been two different colours if I had not have been told that.  That was one lesson learned!!


  1. Lovely surprise here this morning Karyn. Your counterchange looks delightful. Taking out the one row in the back sounds a sensible option. Love the piped trim inside the binding. I haven't done much counterchange myself, but it's not a bad option, as there isn't so much fabric fluffing around the knees!! I also love your bishop gown. Your smocking is always lovely, and I know your own designs are beautifully done too. Take care.

  2. I do like your counterchange smocking Karyn. Well done! Laurel