Thursday, July 8, 2010

Preparing Your Floss for Smocking

Today I will share with you some tips on preparing your floss for picture smocking. I have tried several different flosses over the years and still return to good ole DMC floss. It is inexpensive, I can still find it at Hobby Lobby and the quality has not changed over the years.

Cut a piece of floss about 18 inches long and look closely at each end of the floss. One end of the floss will tend to be fluffier than the other. You will not want to try to thread fluff through the eye of the needle, so drop the fluffy end and work with the other. Holding the non fluffy end of the thread in one hand, gently pull out 4 strands of floss ONE AT A TIME. Lay the strands out side by side and smooth them out before threading the needle.

But is the best tip of all! Before threading the needle, lay out the strands side by side on the ironing board, lightly spray starch the floss, and gently pull the floss under the hot iron. This step smooths the floss and will give you the feeling that you are smocking with a tiny ribbon. With each stitch you can now see if your thread is starting to twist and you can pay attention to keeping the thread smooth. This will help your stitches cover the fabric and not leave gaps peeking through!

Yes, I still starch and press my floss. It is worth the little extra time to keep my stitches smooth!



Zanna van der Merwe said...

I am so curious to know why are you using 4 strands to smock? I was taught to use only ONE strand. I have always used one strand, doesn't the smocking look 'bulky' when you use 4 strands?
I have discovered your blog and now I am sitting on it for the past SIX days. Just cannot get enough of your beautiful work and patterns.

Rachel E. Holmen said...

You might want to check out DMC's "Coton a Broder" which Lacis carries -- it used to come in several weights (12, 16, 25) but I believe Lacis now only stocks 25 weight. Nonetheless, this is a superb thread for smocking, smooth and strong, in a limited but very nice range of DMC colors.

-- Rachel Holmen, Berkeley, CA, USA


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