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Friday, June 27, 2014

How to make Smocked Baby Shoes - As Seen in Classic Sewing Magazine, Spring 2017

Babies and booties are simply meant for each other.  Ever wonder how little smocked shoes are made? Well, it's not all too complicated at all.  It's a bit tough to stitch together with the sewing machine so it's best to hand stitch everything, which does require a little bit of patience, but oh so worth the final outcome!!

Begin with a pattern that has good instructions.  I followed Diane F. Butcher's "Baby Booties"  pattern instructions for the little girl booties and the little boy's version is from Australian Smocking & Embroidery "Special Gifts" .

For the front, pleat and smock a piece of Batiste, 45" by 2 or 2.5" (depending on size 0-6 mo or a little wider for 6-12 mo), then block by using your pattern template.  Gather pleats in the top middle area as snug as you can.  

Make enough bias binding to cover the top and bottom edge of the smocked piece and also around the sole.  Cut bias strips 1", fold them in half and then fold each edge to the middle, or, use your Simplicity Bias Binding Maker with the 1/2" tip to do the work for you super fast.  I absolute looooooove this magic machine!  Be sure to starch the bias fabric really well for even and crisp results!

Once you have all pieces cut and the top smocked, hand stitch the two ends of the smocked piece together (back seam), carefully matching up the smocked design.  Do not remove the pleating threads yet.  Stitch top lining at back seam, then hand-baste lining to the back of the smocked piece.  Hand-stitch bias binding to the top edge of the smocked piece (from front middle out to the back for each side). 

For the sole, you will have a top piece, a lining piece and light cotton quilt batting in the middle (felt would work too).  Baste those three together, then hand-stitch bias binding around each sole.

Be sure to add 5/8" silk ribbon at bottom of smocked piece BEFORE adding the bias binding (yes, you can see in the picture above that I did not do that and had to carefully undo the bias stitches where the ribbon needed to be placed first).  Add bias binding carefully to the bottom of the smocked piece, paying close attention to even distribution of pleats and smocking.   Remove all pleating threads. 

Hand-stitch sole to the top with tiny, evenly distributed stitches.  I love doing this with Coats & Clark Fine Thread almost invisibly.  It's super fine but quite strong at the same time.  Secure the silk ribbon carefully at the top.  I secured them with a tiny bullion rose bud, or you can secure them with a tiny button.

Add a finishing touch in the front if you like.  This can be done easier before assembling the shoe, but I sort of like to see how embellishments look proportionately on the finished project and, most importantly, I like to leave the best for last!
Place rolled wrapping tissue paper in each shoe and steam very carefully while shaping each shoe.
Do not press down on any part of the shoes or ribbon!