Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Back Smocking

I am still working on this project - lost a good week in sewing due to having sinus surgery, which wasn't the most "fun" thing to have done! This week I am taking it easy as I recover and trying to get caught up on some of my smocking projects.
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!


Julia said...

I didn't know about doing back smocking until about a year ago, and I've been smocking for many years. I have just taught myself, and that was one thing I didn't know about. I sure wish I had back smocked several projects that I've done. Since I have been doing this, it makes all the difference!!!! I always start in the middle on my smocking.

Memaw's memories said...

I always start in the middle so everything looks balanced on my projects.

I usually backsmock after my front work is done, but I like your idea of doing it first or soon after laying the borders. This is an excellent tip.

Pam Marshall said...

I do back smock. But I've never started in the middle.
However one the project I'm about to do, a bishop I plan to.
Do you start your work from the top or bottom?

LAnderson (SewNso @ Southern Stitches) said...

I don't start my back smocking from the middle - I start what I am working on the correct side of the pleats, in the middle. When I back smock I start from the left and work to the right, doing the entire row(s) that needs to be completed. I hope that clarified any misunderstanding.

Jeannie B. said...

Very pretty smocking! I hope you are recovering nicely from your surgery. My sinuses are always stuffy but Sinus surgery scares!


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