Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Birthday Dress

I first learnt smocking when I was still a kid at eleven years old during after school co-curiculum. I thank my primary school teacher Puan Zainab whom was an English teacher for the beautiful craft she introduced to me long ago. She showed us the basics of smocking. Doing the markings, tacking, hand pleating and basics embroidery stitches.

The first smock I did was conceived to a tiny dress for my cousin Shasha. Mami sew. It was yellow in color, I wish I could find the photo of it.

Since then, I have always have the love for smocking. I made few more smock dresses for girls around me and the mega project was smocking bedding set for my own wedding. It took me months! For god sake, why hadn’t I knew about the pleat machine back then. It was ALL done manually.

Though I have made few smock dresses, I actually haven’t really learn the art or science for that matter in turning a completed smock into a dress. All the while, I just hantam-kromo (recklessly), because I didn’t make the effort to find the right source for such knowledge. *Puan Zainab would be disappointed, eh?*

Only until recently, I found this magazine at Cottage Patch – Australian Smocking & Embroidery (ASE).

ASE composed four to six patterns with complete step by step guide four each project in every released issue.
I thought… craft lovers in Australia are lucky to have the magazine. For less than AUD 20, they are spoilt with so much information and fun. What we have here in Malaysia for less than RM 20?... We can have many magazines too.. Jelita, Wanita, Rias, Keluarga. I didn’t say they aren’t good for I do buy for my reads as well but they are of the similar approach. Similar sort of contents.  

We don’t have good craft magazines or I would say, we don’t have craft magazines. May be also we don’t have the market for such magazine so it wouldn’t be profitable to produce. 
Whatever it is.... with conversion and logistics, once A&E reach our shore they cost nothing less than RM 100 per issue.

Having the magazine, for the very first time, I trimmed a dress for Nada using professional pattern, not my own self-figured and it is a smocking dress!
Something sick about me, I just have to choose the complicated project though it’s my first!!!

It is Sandpiper from Issue 88 (above magazine pix)

The smocks seems simple but the dress construction drives me nuts. The front apron with curve edge, back ruffles, elastic casings and securing elastics are just demanding stuffs. Not to mention turning to right sides of sandwiched sachs and shoulder casing from thick linen is rather taxing.

The smocks

Full front dress
Back of the dress

The sachs

Back ruffles

I made three trips to nearby shop for overlock stitch service alone. (One day, I would get myself a serger!)

The pattern suggested natural linen covered button shown in the pix. However, I've changed that to little flower button. For a random person I am, I thought of splashing some red color to the top casing... but I did not! I refrained myself to do so.

Now that the dress is done, I know there are parts that I could have done better. I made mistakes here and there and of course the obvious one, IT'S THE SHOULDER STRAP AND BUTTON!! (I just realized while I'm typing this...haish!)
Wonder if I could get that fixed. umph..umph..umph.. I'll leave that for now.

Last night, we had it tried on Ms Dew. She was delighted when I told her that the dress is for her 4th birthday upcoming tomorrow. I've been making special birthday dresses since she's two.

She acted princess, with all the twirl and turn. And when Daddy asked her : "Nada, what should you tell Mommy for making you the dress?"

She bowed and said "Thank You, Mommy......" ( for that, all Mommy's hard work is paid of )


Kerabu Jantung said...

little girls ( or their mommies ? ) will drool when they see this dress..
well, I do even though my youngest daughter is 30 now!

Happy Birthday Nada!

whm6840 said...

Thanx Aunty, trust me.. a 30 yr old won't look that cute in the dress.. hehehe

whm6840 said...
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