I love tutorials. The simple, image-driven instructions really appeal to me in a way that video doesn't. I have been asked for years to create a blog and post sewing and crafting tutorials, but I always seem to procrastinate when it comes to writing. The time has come, my friends. Here is my first tutorial! (drumroll, please...)
Smocking. To a southerner, its as essential as a monogram, sweet tea and humidity. As beautiful as smocking is, it's generally reserved for young children. (or for kids that might be a bit older, but their moms' can't bare to pack away the bishop dresses.) This smocking project isn't for kids though, its for grown-ups. It's very easy and I'll walk you through the entire project!
2 yards of lightweight cotton (I used a gingham with a 1/4"-inch check from Annabel Wrigley's debut line Maribel with Windham Fabrics) Coming to finer fabric stores soon!
1 skein of embroidery floss (I used DMC 893)
An embroidery needle (I really like Clover Gold Eye Embroidery needles)
A ruler and marking pen if you are not using gingham fabric ( I really like the Frixion pens)
Tweezers are really helpful too!
To begin, fold the fabric in half vertically. Cut out two lengths of fabric 72" x 10". Take the first piece and we will begin to fray the ends to make fringe.
A good way to start, is by cutting the ends very straight. Begin by pulling the first weft thread (the threads that go side to side) in the weave. Sometimes I use tweezers to help pull the thread. Try to pull just one thread at a time or it will bunch up and create a mess. As you pull the thread, the fabric will begin to gather. Keep pulling until the thread snaps or won't pull any further. Snip it, tease the other side to loosen a thread and continue. Keep at this until the fringe is 1/2". Turn the fabric over and do it again.
We are going to use a modified Diamond Smocking Stitch. This stitch is worked in a honeycomb pattern over several rows. To begin, cut a length of floss about 18" long, thread the needle and knot one end. If you are using gingham, bring the needle through the back of the fabric 8 squares down and 2 squares from the edge. ( If you choose to use another fabric, begin 2" down and 1/2" in. and make a mark every 1/2"in. across the row.) Pull through the front, stopping when you feel the knot. Move the needle over one square to the right (or 1/4"), picking up two small stitches 1/4" apart. Pull the needle and thread all the way through to make the first pleat. Push the needle from front to back through the right side of the stitch. Stitch one complete. Easy, right? Now skip the next square (or 1/4" inch) and bring the needle through the back of the following top left corner. We will continue this stitch across the width of the scarf.
Second Row and every even remaining row
Skip two full squares or 1/2" inch and begin at the top left corner of the 3rd full square down and 3rd square (3/4 inch) in from the first row of stitches and repeat the stitch . (If you aren't using gingham, mark your fabric every 1/2" across the row) End this row of stitches with one less stitch than on the row above.
Third Row and every odd remaining row
Insert the needle from behind 2 squares under the previous row and 2 squares from the edge. Make sure that it lines up with first row. (Again, if you are using another fabric, begin marking 1/2" across) Isn't this a pretty pattern?
Continue stitching pattern until you have completed 10 rows. Then repeat this on the opposite end of the scarf and then again on both sides of the other scarf piece.
Sewing the Side Seams
Take both lengths of the scarf and line them up, making sure the right sides (the pretty sides) are facing each other. We are going to pin the long sides and sew straight down each side with a 1/2-inch seam allowance. Leave the fringes edges open. (We won't be sewing those).
Give the scarf a good pressing, concentrating on flattening the side seams. Reach your hand through one fringed end and grab the opposite side, pulling it right-side out. Ta-da! Finished! What do you think?
Please email me with any questions. Also, I'm happy to make a chart to further explain how to do this without a gingham "grid".