Thursday, October 29, 2015

Smocking and Cartridge Pleating

Smocking was NOT another skill that I had really thought about picking up. Even though I knew that some Italian camicie may have been reverse smocked in order to achieve the tiny perfect pleats that you can see in the details of the artwork, and even though I really wanted an authentically made camicia, I just wasn't compelled to go learn smocking.

Then I started looking at partlets, particularly Italian partlets.

Take for instance the lovely partlet that can be seen in two different portraits of Isotta Brembatti:

I don't know if she just really liked the partlet, or it was the only good one she had, or it was by sheer chance that she wore it in two different portraits so many years apart, but either way if you really look at the details of the partlet, you can see that it appears to be loosely pleated with four rows of trim or embroidery on the inside. 

In the upper portrait these lines of pink trim have a zigzag effect, which is reminiscent of the look that you get with ric-rac (mmm...I'm thinking not so likely) or with a basic cable stitch...and now I'm hooked.  I've got to go learn how to smock. It may not have been how that partlet was done or even the one below, but it is certainly plausible and I'm going to give it a try.

Another gorgeous partlet that appears to be smocked with additional embellishment.  

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