Gathering Threads

Tutorial: Multi-Coloured Smocking Plates in Illustrator Pt 3

Posted by on Mar 29 2011, in Smocking, Tutorial

OK.  I owe everyone an apology here.  I’ve been crazy busy with work lately.  Throw in a dash of travelling, a couple of magazine articles, sewing, writing and, every so often, sleep, and sometimes something slips through the cracks.

See, I’ve had this blog post ready for a couple of weeks.  I set it up to post automatically.  That’s great – except for the fact that after I wrote it, I forgot to switch it from “Draft” to “Scheduled”.  So while I was going about my life, thinking everything was hunky-dory with my Illustrator tutorial, it was languishing in electronic never-never land.  Thank heavens for the sharp eyed Bobbi A., who emailed me and asked (very politely, of course) “Uh, where is it?”

So here, after a totally unintentional delay, is Pt. 3 of the Multi-coloured smocking plate.  Enjoy.


40. Create a new layer between the Picture and Row layers. Rename it “Embroidery”. Lock the “Cable” layer. Highlight the “Embroidery” layer.

41. In the colour palette, change the fill to “none”. Click on the stroke box and change the colour to the CMYK colour you created in Step 27.

42. Hold down the space bar and move off the page, to the blank workspace.

43. Change to the Pen tool (Hotkey: P).

44. Create the first petal of a six-leaf detached chain flower. Click in the blank workspace and drag the Bezier handles. While dragging the handles, click Alt to transform the point into a corner.

45. At the top of the petal, click and drag the handles sideways while holding Shift. The handles will stay level.

46. Close the shape by clicking on the original point. Even out the Bezier handles on each side of the point so that the petal is symmetrical. Use the Direct Selection tool to nudge the handles into place (Hotkey: A)

47. With the Pen tool (Hotkey: P) draw a small line perpendicular to the top of the petal, duplicating the holding stitch of a detached chain.

48. Leaving the petal highlighted, activate the Rotate tool (Hotkey: R).

49. A small blue bulls-eye will appear in the centre of the petal when you activate the rotate tool. Click on the bulls-eye and holding down the mouse key, drag the bulls-eye to the bottom of the petal.

50. With the rotate tool still active, a small black cross mark will be visible in place of the cursor arrow. Click and rotate the petal approximately 60º while holding down the Alt key to copy.

51. Duplicate the petal by clicking Ctrl+D four more times.

52. Using the selection tool, select the entire detached chain flower.

53. With the flower still highlighted, group the flower into a single unit by clicking Ctrl+G.

54. If necessary, scale the completed flower down using the Selection tool. (Hotkey: V). To do this, click on the shape to reveal the bounding box. Put the mouse over one of the corner points and decrease the size of the flower so that it is the right size for the smocking plate.
55. Click on the “New Symbols” button in the Symbols window.

56. Rename the symbol clicking on the symbol itself.    A small pop-up window will appear.  Rename the symbol “Detached Flower” and click OK.

57. Randomly place seven or eight copies of the new symbol on the present.

58. Lock the cable layer. Unlock the images layer.

59. Zoom in until the present fills the entire workspace.

60. Using the selection tool (Hotkey: V), highlight the outline of the bow. Copy the bow shape by clicking Ctrl+C.

61. Unlock the cables layer and highlight it. Paste the bow outline onto the cable layer Ctrl+V. Using the selection key, drag the outline until it aligns with the cables.

62. With the bow still highlighted, open the Stroke window (F10) and change the stroke weight to 2pts.

63. Lock the cable layer. Unlock the “Embroidery” layer.

64.Drag the “Title” symbol from the symbols window onto the work space. Click on the “break link to symbol” button.

65. Select the text tool (Hotkey: T) and rename the plate “Birthday Present” and your name.

65. Select the “number” symbol from the symbol library and centre it at the left side of the plate over the uppermost row.

66. Open the Preferences window (Ctrl+K) and change the keyboard increment to 16mm.

67. With the numbered box on the uppermost row still highlighted, duplicate the box by holding down the ALT key and tapping the down arrow until every row so that a ‘number’ box symbol is on spaced evenly down the left side over each gathering row .

68. Select all the elements on the page Ctrl+A.

69. Click on the “Break Link to Symbol” button again.

70.   With the text tool selected (Hotkey: T), renumber each row, including the two holding rows.  Save completed file as “Birthday Present”