I have completed my borders for my smocked insert.
Before I began, I centered my smocking by starting from the center pleat and working towards the right edge, then inverting my pleated panel and completing the row. You should always take the time to center your work so that your smocking ends in the same manner at both ends of your work.
Here is a close up of the lower border.
Before I can continue on my design, I need to back smock my insert. Those who are unfamiliar with or new to smocking might wonder just what back smocking is. Back smocking is working one or more rows of smocking on the wrong side of the pleated fabric, using the same color thread as the color of fabric. Back smocking may be used to invisibly maintain or stabilize the pleats in areas where there are no surface stitches, such as picture smocking, or to create texture or a shadow effect. There are several stitches you can use for back smocking; cable, stem, and trellis are the most common stitches and will give you different effects.
I am working the cable stitch for my back smocking and I will cable stitch rows 2-5 on the back side of my pleated insert. I am using DMC #80, which is actually a tatting thread. You can use embroidery floss, but I usually prefer to use tatting thread if I have it in the same color of my fabric since it is so easy to work with.
Another question some may ask is when to back smock; before or after the front is completed? I always back smock before I complete the front, especially when I am picture smocking. If you back smock your work before you smock the figures on the front, you will not have issues of working around knots and you will not have issues of gaps between pleats - everything will just have a neater appearance.
I hope I have explained back smocking well to you - as always, if you have any questions, just leave a comment and I will be happy to answer your questions!