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How to sew a smocked version of the Amuse Boho

Smocking the Amuse Boho Top from One Thimble Issue 14

As soon as I saw the sneak peeks from this issue I knew exactly what I wanted to do with the pattern to hack it, to accommodate some smocking into the centre front panel.

I have what you would call a love/hate relationship with rayon lol!!   It looks great, it drapes beautifully but oh gosh, its got a mind of its own. 

If I had thought about it before getting so excited, I probably would have smocked a little on the back as well – but that can be for the next one I make.

Making a smocked Amuse Boho Top

Lesley from Cherub’s Kiss does the most amazing handsewing.  In Issue 6 she wrote and article on making an heirloom version of the Mem Rose skirt from Issue 4 and in Issue 14 she has written an article on how to sew a bullion bunny.  I’m so happy to have her guest posting today and sharing her pattern hack for smocking the Amuse Boho Top

This hack assumes that the sewer has basic knowledge of smocking and smocking construction.

For this version the following changes have been made to the pattern.

  1. Put a pleat into the back yoke
  2. Altered the front yoke to accommodate for smocking
  3. Alter the neckline with a smart little v shape wedge.

Preparation – cutting out

First up trace all your pattern pieces in the size of your choosing.   If you are between sizes, size down.  This is a loose fitting top.

Next I have made some markings on the front piece.  Basically what you want to do is make the centre front piece, its own piece.  To do that you will need to draw a vertical line from the top to the bottom of the piece where the front pattern piece has the cut out piece.    Ensure that your side seams  and top edge are straight and even.   Hemline to match the version you have chosen.

Amuse Boho Pattenr Hack single pattern piece Amuse Boho Hack two pattern pieces

Then go ahead and add a line 1cm on either size of this line, this will give you a seam allowance of the now two pieces. Please see diagram 1.

As I was smocking the front insert section and because the fabric was lightweight I added some width to the smocked piece.  For me – I like my fabric about 3 times the finished width of where I am to insert the smocking – so I added to my size (which is XL) 5 inches to the new centre front piece.   This was probably a little bit too much, but smocking is something a bit of trial and error – making it again in this same fabric I would add 4 inches.   If you are using a finer or thicker fabric, this amount may change to suit.

For the back yoke, as I’m adding a pleat, I cut the fabric having moved my pattern piece in by the size of the pleat, in my case I’ve allowed 2 inches from the fold of the fabric.

Amuse Back Yoke - pattern hack

As my fabric is a border print I was conscious of the fact that I wanted my side seams to match, so take your time and match at specific points, generally a hemline or armsyce.

Matching Stripes - Amuse Boho pattern hack

I cut all my pieces out and then interfaced my facing piece.

So for pattern pieces for my hacked version you have

Back (altered for the pleat)

Front altered (you have 2 mirror image pieces)

Centre Front piece – this will be smocked (this is cut on the fold adding the extra fabric required for smocking)

Back yoke – original

Front yoke insert – original

Facing – original

Sleeves – original

Preparation – smocking

For the smocked piece, I pleated 10 half space rows with the top row 1/2 cm from the top.

Tie off to the size of the bottom of the centre front yoke piece.

I smocked in Van Dyke Stitch in two shades of blue – two rows of each using 3 strands of thread.  The smocking whilst it does take alot of thread, is very elastic and I smocked it in a night.  I wanted, for this garment, as the fabric is quite busy for the smocking to add texture rather than a design.  I also backsmocked the top row, using two threads in cable stitch, to aid construction.

You  will need to block the smocking to fit the front yoke, but as Van Dyke is quite elastic I didn’t really need to do this.  The smocked piece fitted the space perfectly.

Blocking smocking - amuse boho hack

Time to sew up the pattern.

  1. Sew the smocked insert to the two front bodices.  Sewing carefully and matching your stripes/pattern if necessary.   Finish your raw edges and press seams towards the side seams.
  2. Sew your front yoke piece as per the pattern, paying special attention to where the smocking joins the yoke.   You may find that you will need to clip into the corner to have the smocked panel lay flat once attached. Smocking Joined - Amuse Boho Hack
  3. Follow the pattern instructions to complete the front bodice.
  4. For the back bodice piece to construct the pleat. My pleat was 2 inches.  Sew for approximately 1.5 inches down.  Press the pleat open and baste to the top of the back bodice.   Continue making the garment as per the original instructions.
  5. When you are up to the facing – I decided that for me (I have a short neck and I’m a D bust) round necklines aren’t the best shape for me, so I added a little V into the neckline. Finding your centre front on both the dress bodice and the facing.   On the facing I have marked out 1 inch and down 1.5 inches and drawn an upside down triangle.  This will be your stitching line. V shaped - Amuse Boho Sew on your facing matching CB and CF, then trim, clip and unstitch.  .  Turn and press. Trimmed v shape - amuse boho hack
  6. Ta da! All finished.

Front of Lesley's Smocked Amuse Boho Top Hack

Lesley Amuse Boho Smocked Hack Back view

This hack is not  time consuming and gives a different look to the original garment.  I think the pattern would look wonderful also with an embroidered front insert and a smocked back yoke.

You can get your copy of the Amuse Boho Dress as part of One Thimble Issue 14 -> HERE 

or as a stand alone pattern -> HERE


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