“One smocked blouse leads to another….”
After showing smocked dresses from the 1920’s for both women and children, I remembered that I have three vintage McCall Needlework catalogs. I found them, along with several used patterns, at an estate sale just down the block from my house. The woman who lived there had made this blouse pattern, McCall 1221, at least three times, in three different sizes. I like to think she made matching blouses for her daughters; perhaps she made one for herself, too. What a nice family photo that would have made.
She had other used patterns for smocking, as well, so I’m guessing she enjoyed this craft, and was good at it.
Smocking was long a sign of quality (or of doting parents and grandparents) in children’s clothing. Click here for a child’s smocked dress from 1934. Click here for a child’s smocked Simplicity pattern from 1981. But there have been decades when smocking was also worn by grown women.
The Commercial Pattern Archive at University of Rhode Island has McCall smocking transfer 1910, dated to 1931. It also has a smocked blouse pattern from Butterick, dated 1948. As a way of controlling and decorating gathers, smocking appears on several McCall patterns for women from the late 1940’s.
“Smocking is always good style…. Work it in some of the new color combinations, purple on green or lime, for instance.” (Yes, that’s the color combination illustrated on the right.)
(I’ll be showing more “peasant styles” in another post.)
Russia was allied with Britain and the U.S. in the defeat of Nazi Germany, and suffered terrible losses. In 1945, America was not yet in the grip of anti-communist hysteria, so Russian-style embroidery was admired.
Once people started watching TV in their bedrooms, you’d think bed jackets would have made a comeback. They’re not just for people who are served breakfast in bed.
Once I started looking, I found about thirty smocking patterns — for the embroidery transfers or for clothing — just from those three McCall catalogs. I’ll concentrate on children’s patterns in other posts. And I’ve requested a book about smocking from my local library: A-Z of Smocking edited by Sue Gardner, published in 2016.
To get an idea of the range of designs that can be created using smocking techniques, visit this Pinterest page.
Katafalk, a WordPress blogger, has a clearly illustrated demonstration of one kind of smocking. Click here.