I've almost had it UP TO HERE!
My SIL asked me if I could make a dress like this
(Another disclosure: Bug is not growling at the camera, but is indeed "smiling" saying "CHEEEEEEEEESE". I'm not sure where this whole growl look came from, but I'm blaming the Hubba-Bub.)
Back to the drawing board...
This time I decided to do some more internet hunting for a pattern and techniques. I didn't find ANYTHING! Ok that's a lie. I did find things, but NOTHING FREE!!!! Then I happened upon a sewing forum which the ladies were discussing smocking measurements. SCORE! They suggested that I use 45" fabric for each the front and the back and of course half that for the sleeves. I thought it was a bit extreme, but they said it made the pleating very full and tight (what I was lacking my first run through), so I go with it. Here's what I have now:
It wasn't the smocking that took forever. That was fun. What took forever was the pleating by hand. I'm convinced that I'm going to tackle this and become a smocking pro and to help me get there I'm going to be purchasing a smocking pleater. I probably won't be getting it until I go back to work in less than a week, but better late than never.
Now I just have to find time to drive an hour to civilization one way and buy an actual pattern. I WILL master this.
Anyone out there have some tips for pleating/smocking?