Monday, March 19, 2007


Bought a smocker recently to inspire me to make cute summer dresses and to occasionally help me with some shibori stitching. It has 24 needles, which take a really long time to thread as I found out on Sunday! It's super fun though. They recommend you use light fabrics, such as silk organza or Indian cotton, but I decided to try my luck with regular cotton and linen, 'cause I'm stubborn like that. I started with the piece of regular cotton and noticed that it was quite a bit more difficult to turn the cranks than when I did the silk organza. But I continued stubbornly on!

Once you've got a bit of fabric scrunched up on the needles, you have to slip it off onto the threads to make room for more fabric:
Here's what the fabric looks like as it's being fed through the machine. I continued all the way 'til the end (since you can't really back up once the fabric is on the machine), scrunched it all the way up and tied the threads. Now it's ready for dyeing.

I went on to the next piece, the linen, which proved to be even more difficult to crank. But I trudged on and made it to the end. Unfortunately, there were some casualties. I broke three needles, which resulted in this funky piece. You can see that two needles broke side by side, which resulted in this slight mound of unbound fabric and then the third missing needle left that faint line running through the piece. Should make for an interesting dye job though.
Both of these pieces are to be indigo dyed and I'm hoping to use them to make a small purse. I bought some round bamboo handles a while back and now that spring is just around the corner, I'd love to make something with them!
Pictures tomorrow of the dyed fabric!


retrotelephone said...

Hello, my mother-in-law is getting a smocker for Christmas, and my dad said, "well get her smocking supplies" do you have any suggestions as to what I might get her?

Tomoe Book Arts said...

Hello retrotelephone:

The only supplies you really need are needles (and I'd recommend getting extra needles for her because the fabric tends to break them if it's too thick), thin cotton or silk organza for her to play around with, and a polyester thread for threading the needles, since that tends to be the strongest. Maybe one of those needle threaders too since there are a LOT of needles and sometimes it can get frustrating! :) That should be it. I hope she likes it!