This is my first ever attempt at what is currently modernly referred to as smocking. I've read that in period they simply called it pleatwork. To start off I did some samples to get an idea of how much gathering would reduce the overall size of the material. I found that the pleatwork reduced the length of the material to one third its original size. For the "real" shirt I started by folding over a 2 inch edge and finishing it with linen thread. I then drew a grid along the entire 100 plus inches which will be the neck opening of the shirt.
These rectangles are 2 centimeters wide by 1/4 inch high. (Mixing measuring units, I know.)
I then ran a stitch in and out every centimeter, along every line to be used as gathering and reinforcement during construction.
Took a few hours to run all of these stitches in and out and I haven't even started the pleatwork yet. Ugh. What have I gotten myself into!?
I pulled on each of the strings to get an idea of the size of the neck hole. I'm really starting to like the look of the shirt though. Best part about this project is that it is obvious that it was hand done. I don't know of a sewing machine which would allow you to create such a look.
After all the gathering stitches were collected, I started the smocking. This will be a slow and tedious process, so I don't imagine I'll have any more updates on this one until it is about done.
I'm really liking the look of this, but during the testing phase of the neck I found that I'll likely have to add some material to the sleeves to get the fullness that I'm looking for. I used general guidelines and measurements from another blog I came across. I think I like the size of the neck, but I am sure that the sleeves will not be full enough for my liking. So far not bad for a first smocking attempt though.