A few weeks ago, I featured this dress that my mother had smocked. And while smocks can be many things-from an artist’s garment to a lightweight covering to a bib–smocking, to me, has always meant my mother. (The best things usually lead back to our moms). My mom smocked my sister and I countless outfits when we were kids; and now that I’m grown, she has made countless bibs as baby shower gifts for me to give.
(Me in an Easter Dress Mom made)
Smocking is so akin to my mother in my mind that when I started researching smocks for my last post I was shocked to find out that there is a complete history of smocks that didn’t include my mother. (Yes, I am that loyal. And yes, smocks are worth researching. You can start here).
My sister and I in dresses my mom smocked for us.
Loves, we know that I am fascinated by the things that we keep in our closets. I’m also fascinated by the stories that the clothes we keep tell. Smocks, and my mother, tell the stories of my childhood: love, holidays, my sister, and everything that goes along with those things. My mother has kept all the Smocking that she made for us, and this month I got the chance to sit down and talk with her about it.
IP: Mom! Thank you for being a part of this! When I look back at all of the things that you smocked for Ruth and I, I see all the love and time you poured into us. When did you begin Smocking?
Mom: I began Smocking in the early 1980s. When you were a baby, we lived in Spain and while we where there, I fell in love with some of the smocked baby clothes for sale. I wanted to make something just as special and beautiful for you and your sister as you grew up. I started with dresses and aprons, and then I started taking lessons using the Smocking pleater and doing the picture pleating.
This allowed my mom to design clothes for my sister and I, with things such as crayons, dogs, bunnies, balloons, and all sorts of designs.
IP: What has led you to hang on to these pieces for all of this time?
Mom: Well, I hope to pass them on to other members of the family. Or, at the very least, I hope that you and your sister can keep them and know how much love was sewn into them.
IP: And you recently began Smocking again. From Easter egg covers to bibs, bonnets, and other baby gifts, what made you take this up again?
Mom: Now that I’m retired I have more free time. I have always loved sewing and Smocking. It makes me happy to make something with love that I can give to someone. So, with that free time I’ve decided to finish some things that I started and never got around to finishing. And to do some more projects that will bring joy to people.
I know that my sister and I will always treasure these pieces from my mom. They were some of my first “custom Desginer” dresses. And informed my love of fashion. What have you kept in your closet from your family? What fashion piece do you associate with your mom? I would love to hear about it and come tell the stories in your closet!!