Pre-Gathering Use rows of running stitches (page 164) to connect the dots and draw the fabric up into evenly spaced pleats. For each row of running stitches, use two strands of contrasting thread, or one strand of heavy-duty thread. Once the pleats are formed, the sewing lines provide a guide for the rows of embroidery stitches. When the embroidery stitches are completed and the smocked section has been stitched to the rest of the garment, remove the running stitches.
Pull up on all the threads at one time, forming straight, close, even pleats. Pull the threads until the fabric section is equal to the desired finished size (plus seam allowances) or the size indicated in the pattern instructions. Securely knot each thread end.
Because it cannot be joined in the middle, the thread must be long enough to complete each row of stitches. Knot the thread end before beginning.
Working on the wrong side of the fabric and starting at the end of one horizontal row of dots, insert the needle into the fabric just before the first dot. Bring the needle out of the fabric at the other side of the dot, picking up just a few threads of fabric. Work across the entire row, so that long running stitches form between dots. Repeat for the remaining horizontal rows of dots. Leave long thread ends.
Place the fabric on a flat surface and smooth the pleats so they are evenly spaced. Hold the iron slightly above the fabric and steam the pleats, never resting the iron on the fabric. Let the pleated fabric dry thoroughly before embroidering.
Published on Mar 3, 2013
A beloved sewer's bible, Vogue/Butterick Step-by-Step Guide to Sewing Techniques returns in a revised and updated edition, including dozens...