At Liberty

Yes, at liberty to start another project!  The  sundress is finished at last.  Hurrah!

At Liberty All


What was expected to be a quick and easy project became a career, entailing  continuing education, extra hours, supply problems, and lowered performance expectations.

This all started with a child’s vintage filet crochet yoke.  Purchased at least 15 years ago, it was saved for a someday granddaughter. Now, I have the granddaughter, she is the right size and I was ready to go.  All it needed was a smocked  Liberty of London tana lawn skirt.   How hard could it be?

Before I got very far on the smocking, I thought it would be nice to add Florence Roberson’s smocked puffy pockets.  It took two full days to locate the pattern.




Before I pleated the pockets, the top may edge needed to be finished with a tiny hem or trimmed with lace.  Since I was using a crocheted yoke, a crocheted edge seemed in order.   My first and last crochet project was a pastel granny square baby blanket for my newborn daughter in 1978.  Hmmmmm….so I pulled out some how-to needlework books and learned some simple, basic crochet.  Continuing education is good!

NOTE: The links above take you to  earlier post about the sundress and  pockets, which are just sweet as pie.


At Liberty smock front


The skirt is smocked with Florence Roberson’s plate Diamonds, by Ellen McCarn.  Smocking on Liberty or any print presents the challenge of achieving enough contrast without “fighting” with the print.

I was pleased with the effect of sharply contrasting purple rows above and below the smocking. I had this mostly smocked when we went back to North Carolina to escape the heat, but managed to leave the dark purple floss behind!  Supply problem!!   So I was delayed in finishing it until I could pick up more floss at the life-saving WalMart in Boone.


At Liberty smock back


The back is smocked without the points.

Entredeux was joined to the outer edge of the yoke for ease in joining the skirt to the yoke.  Then it seemed like a good idea to use my newly acquired crochet skills to crochet around the yoke.  Talk about extended hours! I sat on the cabin deck for hours and hours trying to get the look I wanted.

My performance expectations were lowered as  I settled for three rows of single crochet and then picots.  I did get a lot more practice crocheting and was generally pleased with the results.  But I wish I had taken that how-to-crochet book along.


At Liberty crochet book


A tuck was added underarm at each side.  Opening that up later should give another year or so to the time Laurel can wear this.


At Liberty tuck


Overall, I am pleased with the dress, but it was a much bigger project than I had anticipated.  But isn’t that what usually happens?


This project is included in Elizabeth & Co.’s “Be Inspired” Linky party.  Check out all the inspiration there!



14 responses to “At Liberty

  1. Oh, Janice, I love everything about it! The white diamonds stand out so nicely on the print and refer back to the white yoke. The dark purple is lovely along the edge of the smocking. Are those buillon flowers? And you know I l-o-v-e the pockets! Is that really true: does using entredeux make things easier?

  2. Janice, the sundress is lovely! Everything on it looks so good together: the Liberty fabric, the smocking, the vintage yoke, puffy pocket, and your own crochet touches! I am sure Laurel will look gorgeous in this, and what a great idea to add the growth pleat. You always give such wonderful inspiration!

  3. Aw shucks–my head will be too big for a hat! But I’m glad you like it. The growth tuck on the side was an interesting after thought. The Liberty is only 36″ wide and the yoke is 12-1/2″ across the chest. And there still had to be a few inches for the armhole curve. Since it takes 3″ of fabric for 1″ of smocking, I knew it would be a challenge to make the skirt wide enough. So I smocked very loosely and didn’t smock into the armscye. But when I was finished, it was too wide, so the growth pleat was a perfect solution. The armscye was bias bound before the tuck so that it can be opened up easily.

  4. Thanks, Jo. Yes, adding entredeux to the ;perimeter of the yoke made it so much easier to crochet the edging. As a relative novice to crochet, I had trouble ascertaining just where to insert the hook into the finished yoke. I worried that I would stretch it or make it pucker with my stitches. The entredeux stabilzed it, offered large holes for the hook and guaranteed that the stitches would be evenly spaced. Those are not bullions, though I think they would have looked nicer. But the design would have required so many, and as I said in the post, the dress just kept on keeping on. So I stitched 6 cable flowerettes with diagonal straight stitch leaves and French knot centers.

  5. Janice, this is stunning! Everyone else has already said it so well, but this dress is gorgeous! I wish you had called me- believe it or not, I have the pocket pattern and knew where it was. Shocking!

  6. You had the pattern?!@#$%??? Isn’t there a song called “Where were you when I wanted you? Where were you when I needed you?” Next time, I will call Miss Organization first! Thanks for the compliments about the dress, Donna. I can’t wait to get Laurel into it.

  7. Merry Gay Lape

    Beautiful, beautiful dress, Janice! :>)

  8. Absolutely gorgeous dress! I, too, love everything about it! The fabric is lovely and I love the crocheted yoke. The smocking with the dipped lower front (V-front?) is perfect for this dress and perfectly smocked. Your attention to every detail is something I admire greatly. I can’t wait to see the modeled photos with your sweet granddaughter.

  9. Well worth all of the hours… and you told me you didn’t crochet!! I actually find that very peaceful! Another great project and naturally your perfection to every little detail is remarkable! Beautiful, now get a picture with Laurel wearing it!

  10. The dress is absolutely lovely! The smocking complements the dress beautifully, and the pockets are terribly cute. I really like the idea of that growth tuck on the sides. Now that you’re established as a chrocheter, will you make that parasol and bag?

  11. Oh, Cynthia, are you mocking me with that “established crocheter” moniker? I do love that parasol and if it could be done with a chain stitch and single crochet, I’d be right on it! Wouldn’t I look the proper Nana strolling the park with that parasol sheltering my little darlings from the blazing sun?

  12. Hi there- that is just so beautiful! I love the colors and the combination of smocking with other needle arts.

    I have a quick question about this and other smocking examples you’ve shown with smocking waves that cover a variable number of rows. Since there isn’t (I think) any way of continuously smocking those without a break, do you end off and restart new strands of floss for each row, even at the tip of the point? Or do you work the thread around with some form of backstitch?

    The former approach seems like it’d result in the neatest smocking on the front, but with knots on the back, while the latter seems to run the risk of producing uneven tension when the smocking is stretched out.

    Thanks in advance for any advice! I’ve tried both approaches now and neither seem optimal.

  13. As the smocking pattern progresses down the front and the rows become shorter, I usually start with a new thread and, yes, another knot on the back. But if the distance from the ending of the previous row and the beginning of the next is 5 or less pleats, then I back smock with cables very, very loosely. This seems to work for me, but knots on the back don’t trouble me. Thanks for your compliments on the dress and for reading my blog, Ro.

  14. Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co.

    Oh how pretty! I love the smocking detail!

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