Review of Dianne Durrand's Complete Book of Smocking:
This book was published in 1982 so you might think that it is dated, but it is not. Since smocking is a traditional needleart, it's still done today the way it was in the past, nothing better has been invented and the designs, by the very nature of the art, have the same classic look they have has for centuries. Though the fashion of the dresses on which they are applied change and the colors you choose might might be different, but the actual process of smocking will be the same whether you use the old fashioned way of marking with dots, or a pleater, or gingham.
So, keeping all this in mind, this book is an excellent source of ideas, instructions, and projects. These projects range from baby clothes, children's clothes, adult dresses and blouses, to pillows, and Christmas ornaments. All the projects are lovely, classic, and timeless. The instructions are precise and provide both American and metric measurements. The charts are clear.
The photographs are mostly in black and white. This is the area I would like to see improved. The color used in the fabric and threads are a integral part in the beauty of smocking and the effect is dulled in black and white photos.
Most of the projects are geometric with only a few forming images. The overview and general instructions are clear, but you may fin smocking to be one of those skills you can't just jump into: you have to practice and practice and practice some more. This book on smocking may give you the motivation to keep trying.
Just to see some lovely examples of smocked clothing for children, take a look at the smocked clothes for girls size 2T. There are so many beautiful designers of smocked children's clothing. Some of my favorites are Anavini clothing and the precious smocked Jon Jons from the Bailey Boys clothes. Which boutique brand do you prefer?
Filed under: Patterns
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