stcharles on Apr 12, 2016
Well made. Lovely! I would buy from this shop again!
Kristi on Feb 21, 2016
Wonderful nightgowns from Sharon! She is a great pleasure to work with, and her products are very well made. Thanks for a great interaction again!
Little Studio in the Big Woods
100% a one-woman operation, all of my work is done from my dirt road backwoods home studio in the beautiful Lake Sunapee Region of New Hampshire. Smoke free but not pet free - my home is a fiber AND FUR home, but rest assured the fur is banned from the closed door studio!.
I'm a smocking and stitchery artist, juried with the League of NH Craftsmen. Sewing my whole life, I remember sitting on the floor next to my mother's chair, tack stitching doll clothes seams. And I really did learn machine stitching on a treadle! Later, as a stay-at-home mom, I did alterations and custom garments, I made all of my daughter's dresses, my sons' and husband's shirts and dress slacks, and I kept a small line of women's dresses and skirt & blouse sets at a local boutique. Nowadays, my smocked dresses can be found at League of NH Craftsmen exhibits and fine craft galleries. I've also discovered a love for teaching and demonstrating (who's going to do this when I'm gone?!). Smock & Sew Kits are available in my shop for those who want to learn and I'm happy to offer tips and advice.
Once at an open studio event I overheard a visitor mutter-sputter something about how can I charge $95 for a dress! (well, that WAS when they were only $95)... and it is important to educate people on what smocking is - many many hours of hand stitchery, hand embroidery, separating, waxing and smoothing floss, pleating, piecing, piping & trim making, binding, prepping, interfacing, pattern making, sizing, ironing, blocking, and machine sewing it all together. And guess what? I love every step of it!
Smocking is not shirring. They are completely different - not even related in my opinion. Shirring is when you thread a machine with elasticized thread and stitch it across a piece of fabric in several rows...and voila, you have an elastick-y stretchy piece of gathered fabric. That's it, takes about 10 minutes and they even sell them pre-done at your local Joanns. Smocking is two part: first, the fabric is carefully squared and pleated, either by hand with rulers and fabric pen, or with a hand crank pleater (I use a vintage 24 row Martha Pullen pleater). The pleats are blocked (steam heated with an iron to set the pleats) and cooled. Then you SMOCK. Smocking is the actual hand embroidery part. The back is smocked too with standard chain or trellis stitch to keep the pleats even, then the front is smocked with the pretty stuff. Depending upon how many rows and how intricate a design, smocking can take anywhere from 5 or 6 hours to 10 or so hours to complete just one heirloom lovely bodice. And..... it's FUN!
Note to remember: not all garments claiming "hand smocked" are actually HAND smocked. You will find lots of smocked dresses that have in fact been smocked by a gargantuan, complicated, industrial "smocking" machine (usually in places like China, Thailand, etc). No offense intended of course to any company wanting to make a profit, but it's quite disturbing, especially to us true heirloom hand smockers, to see companies claiming such a big UN-truth in "hand smocked" advertising. Check the back of a smocked garment. Most often if it is truly hand smocked it will have back smocking. Pretty much anything you buy in department stores (and sadly I see it even here on etsy!), will be done with the industrial smocking machine.
I hope you can visit New Hampshire and see my work, and possibly even see how it's done at one of my shows or at the League Fair. But until then, feel free to browse my etsy shop or my website at sharonjoan.com.
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Owner, Creator, Designer
I'm a juried stitchery artist working out of my home studio in the beautiful Lake Sunapee Region of New Hampshire. All items are made individually by me with fine imported lawns or USA out of print or vintage cottons.
Accepted payment methods
- Accepts Etsy gift cards