Thursday, 6 October 2016


Good Morning to you,

I have to tell you, I am a tad excited.

.... and the reason for this excitement is, I am going to learn a new skill. I'm always keen to continue learning, especially if it has anything to do with a needle and thread.

.... and what is this new skill.

I am going to learn how to smock.

I had been thinking about it for a while, but hadn't acted on the thought.

That is, until last Tuesday, when I was talking to my friend Olive, at my sewing group.

We were talking about how fashions had changed over the years, and Olive, who is a young 88 years, told me about children's fashion, when she was a young girl.  We talked about how, Olive's mother would knit her vests and pants, using a very fine wool and the lovely smocked dresses, which were also made for Olive to wear.

I then said, I remember, when I was a little girl, also wearing dresses which were smocked and that in recent years I had thought it would be fun to learn this new skill.  If for no other reason than for the experience itself.

Olive then told me,  tucked away in a cupboard, at home, she had a copy of the Weldon's Sixpenny Series magazine, which  she kindly offered to bring the following Tuesday. 

I was thrilled, because as you know I love reading vintage cookery books and vintage sewing books.

So on Tuesday, Olive gave me a copy of Weldon's Quick and Easy Ways of Smocking.

I was thrilled.  I would guess this is a late 1930's early 1940's edition. My goodness, the cost of the magazine was 6d (pre decimalisation) or a tanner as it was often called. 

As you can see, Olive has made great use of it over the years and the magazine has come apart, but being the canny person Olive is, instead of sellotaping the magazine back together, as perhaps I would have, she has hand stitched the pages together. As I turned the pages, I realised, this was a really good idea, because it allowed me to turn the pages with ease.

So when am I starting to learn this new skill.

Well, I have a couple of quilts which I really must finish and then I am going to apply myself to learning how to smock.... or knowing me, I will be so excited, I will not be able to wait. I will read the magazine, gather my supplies, and before you know it, I will be in my element, learning how to smock.


I could attempt this elegant dress. On second thoughts, I think this would be a little too advanced for me. I have to say, this dress would look just a little bit fabulous, worn with a large brimmed hat. The perfect wedding outfit. I was just thinking, pop a couple of shoulder pads in this dress and this could be a 1980's design. They do say, with fashion, 'what goes around  comes around' albeit in a slightly different form.

I love the design of the collar  on these pyjamas and don't you just love the fluffy trim around the dressing gown.... take a peek at the mules... how fabulous are they. I can just see Bette Davis strutting her stuff, wearing those mules.

Well without a doubt, I am going to have to tackle this design.

If for no other reason than this is the Olive Design.  I will have to mention this to Olive on Tuesday. Although I have to say, on closer inspection, this does look a little complicated.  Maybe this design can wait until I have mastered the basics of smocking. I mustn't run before I can walk.

Do you know, I have a photograph of my father, as a little boy, wearing shoes like this.  They were made from patent leather and all the rage back then.  The shirt, was smocked with honeycomb stitch.  It seems there are a few variations to this stitch.

.... and this little girls dress is a work of art, it is so detailed, using embroidery, pulled threads and smocking.  Making this little dress would have been such a labour of love.

.... and finally,

I could not leave you without sharing a photo of one of my smocked dresses.  It's a shame, because no matter how I tried, I could not highlight the smocking. But if you look closely, you can just see the lines of the smocking. How about those matching hair ribbons.  I obviously loved my dress because I looked so happy.  I asked Phyllis, how old I was, when this photo was taken and she told me, it was taken in Cyprus when I was 5 years old.

Look at that fringe.... what happened there. My father used to think he was a bit of a barber and he would always cut my hair.... and do you know something, I always  wished he wouldn't, because no matter how careful he was, my fringe was always wonky. 

.... oh the memories.

Before I go, I just wanted to mention that Blogger has added a feature, which I have just started using. I can now feature past posts, which I think is a brilliant idea.  Last week I highlighted my recipe for Pear and Ginger Cake, this week I thought I would highlight my English Tea Bread. Who doesn't love a cup of tea with a slice of buttered English Tea Bread.

Take care and I will see you next Thursday.

This week I will be joining,

As Always,

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Dear Friends,

It is so wonderful to know you enjoy reading Ivy, Phyllis and Me! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave me a comment. I really do appreciate it.

Best wishes to you.


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