Friday, 2 November 2012

Inspiration from my past

When I was growing up my Mum went to upholstery evening classes and made various things, from loose covers for the three piece suite, recovering lampshades and also some velvet cushions that had a basket weave effect on the fronts. 
I've been thinking about those cushions because I fancied having a go at the technique for the basket weave.  She used a bought pattern, and I thought I had it somewhere but I can't find it, so I've been trawling the internet for information.
I eventually found out that it was called Canadian smocking.  The basket weave design is actually called lattice (which is why it took me so long to find because I was looking for the wrong thing), and I discovered that there were other designs too.  
For my project I decided to use the 'arrow' design.  To do the smocking you draw a grid on the back of the fabric and basically just catch a corner of a square with a small stitch and pull it across to another corner in whatever direction the pattern says.  I did a practice piece first with 2cm squares but thought it was a bit big for what I wanted, so I used 1.5cm squares for the actual piece.
There was quite a difference in size as you can see here

This is what it looks like on the reverse

I used some old curtains of mine for the smocking and put it together with some Laura Ashley fabric I got from the charity shop and made this bag (I thought the apples and pears fabric looked quite Autumnal so I've photographed it on a pile of leaves)

I think the smocking looks nice against the patterned fabric but they're not really my colours, so I've put it in my Folksy shop and I'm going to make another one for myself when I come across something suitable in blues, greens or purples.

Canadian smocking is usually done with a plain fabric for the design to stand out, but when I was looking for the lattice design on the internet I came across a cushion which had been made with a subtle check fabric and it is absolutely gorgeous.  Take a look at this on Passion et Couture blog.  I just love the colours, and the extra details round the edge make it really different.


  1. I think your bag looks fabulous. The smocking does look fantastic against the patterned material. I went across to your friend's blog as well - the cushion she's made is lovely.

  2. Gosh that looks really complicated!lovely texture! Have a good weekend! :)

  3. I love the texture of the smocking but I don't think I would have the patience to make it. It looks lovely included in your bag and when you've made one in your colours, I'd love to see it.
    Anne xx

  4. I can't believe you made all that smocking. I'd love to try it. It looks so easy. Haha. I like the reverse look more tho'.

  5. I'd never ever consider attempting that beautiful smocking, I feel scared even thinking about it. The bag looks wonderful though, you are so talented! x

  6. Hey Georgia, the smocking looks great teamed with the bag fabric.....
    I love the way a stitch here and a stitch there causes the pattern to form and is very effective.
    Love to see what you make for yourself....

    Claire :}

  7. Your bag is adorable, I love the combination of fabrics and the smocking. Thank you for your nice comment on my pillow and for adding the link to my blog.You did a nice job, thanks for sharing!!!!!

  8. That is brilliant! What a great texture it makes. I like how you have incorportated it into the bag as a panel. I bet you wont stop there!!

  9. Wow that looks fantastic! I would love to have a sewing brain, my Mum is brilliant but not me!
    Thanks so much for your lovely comment,

    Sarah -x-

  10. Great job! Once again I am impressed by your creativity!

  11. That smocking is really effective. So clever :D