Trend Alert: silk threads and smocking

If there was a Time magazine issue for textiles, we're calling it now: Silk is going to be the Thread Of The Year. It is durable, strong, and takes dyes on a deeper cellular level than any other fiber (that means you get really rich, gorgeous colors). While silk has been used in needlework for centuries, tastes come and go…and right now silk is on the scene. We are seeing it used more in everything from fly fishing to knitting, needlepoint, cross stitch, weaving, and smocking.

Remember smocking? It's making a comeback too. Did you see the cute little smocked jumper England's Prince George was wearing on his visit to Australia? Smocked sundresses are a staple in little girls' fashion, but fashion-forward children aren't the only ones wearing the style. Vintage-inspired embroiderers are embracing smocking for everything from wedding dresses to home decor and handbags. "I am on a campaign to get the word out that smocking is so much more than children's clothing," says teacher Barbara Meger.

From the Middle Ages onward, smocking has been an embroidery technique with pretty but practical virtues. It may look like simple elastic-like pleating, but the sculpting effects, embroidery stitches and eye-catching patterns make smocking extraordinary. The most popular threads in smocking are cotton and silk, but you can use other threads as well. In her store, Barbara sells Threadworx overydyed floss and Kreinik metallic threads, for instance.

The photos shown here are designs from Barbara's company, Classic Creations. This smocking and bead embroidery bag is created with Kreinik Silk Bella, a 100% pure very thin, fine silk thread. The design is called "Beaded Van Dyke Reticule."  Barbara will be teaching it at the Smocking Arts Guild Convention of America (SAGA) Convention in Orlando in September.

As you peruse Pinterest, Flickr, Google, blogs, magazines, and stores this summer, keep your eyes open for smocking. It's another beautiful embroidery technique where silk threads shine.

For more information:

Side note: Kreinik's production facility and offices are closed this week for summer holiday. We will be back July 7.

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News direct from thread maker Kreinik Mfg. Co., Inc., located in Parkersburg, West Virginia. Visit our factory outlet store when you are in the area; call for hours 1-800-537-2166.

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