Modern Smocking by Debbie Shore is a guide to Canadian smocking, otherwise known as North American smocking or lattice smocking. It gives a modern take on a traditional skill. It is an e-book, in two parts, published by Vive Books. Part 1 and Part 2 are each available for download or as CD-Roms. Part 1 is a stand-alone book with instructions on marking and knotting as well as various patterns, whereas Part 2 is a follow-on book of additional patterns.
Debbie Shore will be known to many of you as a popular presenter on Create and Craft TV and its sister channel, Ideal World. She is an experienced stitcher who has had several books published including Sew Bunting and Half Yard Heaven and has released several sewing-related DVDs. In addition, Debbie has a well-subscribed channel on YouTube.
The book is a well-written guide to the art of Canadian smocking. It begins with tips on using the e-book. These are ideal for someone like me who is usually happier with a hard copy of a book. It explains the various links within the book which will take you to videos included within the e-book itself or to external websites. Usefully, the Contents page is interactive so that you can easily navigate to a particular chapter. Following on from this
are a few words from the author about how the books came to be written, a short description of Canadian smocking, an introductory video from Debbie, herself, and some examples of various smocking designs.
The next section covers tools that will be useful when working the smocking. What I particularly like about this section is that there is helpful extra information given in a concise and straightforward way, for example, use a plastic tape measure not fabric as it can stretch. The list ends with a kettle, for a cuppa – well, sewing is a relaxing hobby!
Debbie has based her instructions on the assumption that readers will be making cushion covers and has calculated the amount of fabric that will be needed for projects on that assumption. This is very sensible as readers will immediately be able to use what they produce to make a pretty item for the home. In fact, she has incorporated instructions for making cushions covers (including mitred corners and inserting a zip) within the book.
There are ten embedded videos explaining how to mark the necessary grid onto your fabric measuring by hand and using transfer paper and also how to work the majority of the smocking designs.
All of the instructions in the book are clearly written, simple to understand and accompanied by clear step-by-step photographs. Debbie’s experience of doing Canadian smocking shines through, particularly when she shares practical tips about the sorts of issues that can and do crop up. The text is easy to read and to follow making the book ideal for beginner and more experienced stitcher alike. There are printable grids for each of the eight patterns in the book.
Of course, the best way to test a book like this is to attempt one of the patterns. I chose to try the Lattice pattern. I printed out the grid and measured and marked my fabric. When marking the diagonal lines I started rushing and so made an error but soon realised what I had done. The first section of two columns that I stitched was fairly straightforward. The next section I found a little awkward due to the pleated first section, but by the time I had reached the third section I had found my rhythym. Full marks Ms Shore on the clarity of your instructions.
|My attempt at the Lattice design|
I would have no hesitation in recommending this e-book to any stitcher, new or old. There is plenty of support and information presented in a reader-friendly style with lots of visual aids.
For anyone who is worried about drawing the 1″ square grid on their fabric, Debbie Shore’s online shop Thimble Lane sells iron-on transfer paper with the grid already drawn. To buy it, click here.
Modern Smocking Part 1 by Debbie Shore
Download file: 637.29 Mb
Format: .pdf or CD-Rom
Publisher: Vive Books
Part 2 is also available at the price of £15.00.
Vive Books are currently offering a special price of £25.00 when buying both books together.
** The e-book reviewed above was provided to me at no cost by Vive Books. All views expressed are entirely my own.