What a lovely day! Perfect for smocking and college football.
One of the things I enjoy most about smocking is the actual pleating of the fabric. It's sort of like Forrest Gump said, it's a box of chocolates. You can see in the next picture that after being pleated, the pattern repeats in this fabric are much more obvious:
Notice how there's just a bit of the navy showing? A thing like that can change your choice of embroidery thread. After this was pleated, I decided to use the navy as the main emphasis of the smocking in order to "spread" more navy across the smocked bodice. The color distribution is more obvious in the next picture:
This photo shows the pleats after blocking. Although some books instruct you to use spray starch on the pleats and then steam them, I don't do that. I have found it more difficult to smock if the fabric has been starched. I just pin the bodice down on the smocking board to the size needed, then steam the daylights out of it. This serves two purposes: one, the pleats are nice and even and easier to smock, and two, I get a free facial.
The next photo shows the front bodice guide overlaid over the blocked bodice. I always double check the size after steaming and I also baste around the armhole areas. That area will be cut away after the smocking is completed.
And here's where I was earlier today. I'm using navy and brick red. The fabric came from my favorite smocking shop, Sweet Treasures. Great ladies and more fabric in one place than you can imagine!