I’ve been experimenting with smocking, and I thought the suppleness of the silk velvet would work really well on the sleeves of a Regency dress.
There’s a great Smocking Pinterest board if you want to do a bit of exploring yourself.
I decided on Canadian smocking, and used the lattice pattern, and I think it looks great. The finished sleeve is shown on the left.
Below is a tutorial, in case you want to try it yourself.
The smocking reduces the size of the fabric when done, so you need to extend your sleeve pattern to about double the size I tried this out on an old sheet first, then made a copy of the pattern on some sturdy wrapping paper.
I marked the paper with the lattice grid, and cut holes to mark the stitch points, then laid it on the reverse side of the sleeve pattern. You’ll remember that sleeves are mirror images of each other, meaning you need to match the notches, remembering to turn the paper over for the other sleeve. you can see the double back notch in th eleft of the image here.
Lattice smocking is worked from the reverse side. I used the holes to mark the stitching points – leaving the underarm parts of the sleeve clear. Then I joined the dots according to the lattice patten – best to practice this on some scrap first!
Here’s the result – from the reverse. You can just see the machine stitching lines at the top and bottom of the sleeve, where it will be gathered. Below is the good side, and the sleeve gathered and ready for finishing – lovely thing to make – well worth the effort. This would also be great in a taffeta or a muslin. I did think to use it at the bust – but its too droopy. Might work at the hem – more on that later.