I’ve been moving a lot lately, as I transition from an apartment into a house, and the moving invariably involves a lot of stressing about furniture protection. It seems that no matter what you do, something always gets nicked, particularly nice wood pieces. I may be the last to know, but I recently discovered a cool repair trick. Guardsman makes a nick repair magic marker in all shades of brown, plus black and even white. It’s the coolest—you just color in the knick with a marker that matches your wood (test on a hidden area first.). Voila, stress gone and many dollars saved in refinishing costs. Buy Guardsman markers here ($5 for a multicolored 3-pack) or at Bed, Bath and Beyond stores.
Last week in my haute couture embellishments class we learned hand-smocking, and oddly, it’s a skill that I took to right away. It’s not the smocking is anything to mock—it’s just not something I considered myself to have an affinity for. But as my professor, Kenneth D. King, pointed out with great practicality, I can do it on the train. I’ve found a great link on smocking, but it includes a machine pleater.
If you prefer to pleat by hand, it’s easy. Mark a dotted grid on your fabric piece to be smocked, spacing dots 1/2 – 1 inch apart. Then sew a running stitch along each horizontal line in the grid, connecting the dots. Once you’ve stitched the parallel lines, pull the threads to gather the fabric into pleats. You can anchor 2-3 threads with a figure-8 shape around a pin. You’re ready to start smocking. Learn the technique here.