Gathering Threads

Bound and Determined

Posted by on Feb 06 2010, in Smocking

Well, the dress I’ve been working on, on and off, since the holidays is finally complete.

Monkey Dress

Sort of.

It all started with the sock monkey fabric. I’m usually pretty restrained when it comes to impulse purchases but I saw and I lusted. Before you could say “Visa!” I’d bought three yards of the fabric. Now all I needed was a project.

The back wrap

Inspired by a vintage pattern illustration, I made this wrap dress pattern and smocking insert to coordinate with the fabric. It’s got a nifty little cross-over and a really twirly circle skirt. A little (well, a lot actually) bit of blue-and-white polka dot bias binding and a touch of powder blue baby piping helped tone down the vibrant print.

Side view

As with any project, there are details I love and details I’m still hemming and hawing over. It’s the sewist’s eternal debate: to rip or not to rip? Weighing the unhappiness of the problem spot against the agravation of the fix.

But let me show you the part of this project I love the most. It’s a very little spot, totally functional, and usually a spot that doesn’t get much love.

My buttonholes.

Beautiful, totally rectangular, bound buttonholes.

Bound Buttonholes

They warm me to the cockles of my heart. And believe it or not, they were so simple, I don’t know why I was so afraid of them.

They went together just like they were supposed to and when I turned them out, there they were, two perfectly symmetrical little blue lips, just waiting for a cherry red button.

So that’s the good. Now for the ugly.

I’ve tried and tried to convince myself it’s not the case but photos just don’t lie. The circular binding around my smocked insert is, well, ripply.

Picture Smocked insert

Not a lot. Just enough to aggravate me everytime I look at it. Sigh.

So I’m pretty sure my Saturday night will involve me re-doing the binding around the sock monkey face. But these monkeys deserve nothing less, don’t you think?


  • ShirleyC

    You have a very creative mind. That turned out just adorable. I would have never dreamed of using that fabric to make a dress. It’s so cute.

  • Stephanie

    Awesom claire, I’m afraid of bound button holes. Maybe post a tute on how you did this on cotton? Just beuatilful buttonholes. S in MI