Sunshine Smocking

comments: 59


Smocking this one by hand. In the Japanese craft book Smocking for Beginners (ISBN 978-4-8347-257-0) the smocking stitches are actually gathering the fabric as you go. I'm doing pattern #3. This has been a lot easier to manage, tension-wise, now that I've smocked some stuff on the pleater-pleated pleats. I must say that there is something sweet, rustic, and just incomparably charming about the non-pleater-pleated hand-smocked work, especially on gingham. Gingham, why are you so awesome? You always make me happy, especially when you are yellow. Especially when you are smocked by hand with dark gray. More on this piece to come.

We had a little Superbowl party yesterday which was really fun. Andy made spinach dip, shrimp crostini, smoked salmon, and had lots of fresh vegetables. Our friends Petra and Maria brought Romanian dessert bars that Petra's mom made. They were called Regina Maria (bars), and are like a thin layer of walnut cake, topped by a layer of custard, topped by a layer of chocolate ganache. That was when I begged Petra to ask his mom if she would teach me to make them. I can't find a recipe for these on-line anywhere. There were three bars left over and I almost hustled them off to a secret spot in the kitchen before anyone got the idea to have seconds. Petra and Maria got married this past summer, and the food at their traditional Romanian wedding reception was hands down the best food I have ever had in my entire life.  


I am so glad you've taken up smocking. It's one of those things I've always wanted to try, but was scared of (for obvious reasons). But now that you're going to blaze a trail for us and dig up all the best resources, I'll just be your very best blog student. Count me in - I'm taking notes.

This reminded me of being a little girl again. My mum made me gingham dresses in every colour for the summer - not smocked very often though. Gingham has that crisp, clean but comforting feel and look to it - love!

the regina maria sounds so freaking yummy! enjoying your blog.

Gingham is awesome...isn't it?!!!

What a joy it was to come to this site and see a beautiful burst of happy yellow. Happy smocking.

That is so very sweet done by hand, and on that yellow gingham. It made me remember the curtains in Julia Child's kitchen (in the movie "Julie & Julia") which were the most adorable blue & white gingham! Hey, now that is an idea...smocked curtains!! :) Those dessert bars sound incredible too!

I love Gingham! It's so homey. I find much comfort in the folds of gingham. All that food sounds delicious! Unfortunately, I missed the Superbowl, and all the wonderful food that comes along with it.

Alicia, I found this link to Regina Maria "bars" or cake as they seem to call it--it sounds similar or possibly the same? (On second reading, I don't think it's the same; it's for "Prince Michael" cake.) The recipe is in English if you scroll down the page.

I'm sure there are others out there; it's the first one I found via doing an advanced Google search and only looking for pages in Romanian. I'm off to look for more possibilities...

love the smocking. Something on my list of things to learn

Okay, I figured out that in Romanian, it's called retete (recipe) for Prajitura Regina Maria (Pastry Queen Mary). When you do a search for that, a bunch of different ones pop up. You can try translating the pages, but unfortunately, some of the ingredients still don't read in English. Good luck! :)

Oh! I like the gathering-while-smocking look so much better than the hyper-accordian of the pleater. This is precious.

Yellow gingham is just the antidote for gray winter days. :) The regina maria bars sound similar to something my mom makes, Prayer Bars:

Very sweet smocking, so cheery. Those bars sound delicious.

Tell Andy he had me at shrimp crostini!

I agree- yellow gingham is the happiest of fabrics!

Thanks, Alicia. Now I won't be able to sleep until I've been invited to a traditional Romanian wedding reception...

I totally forgot about the SuperBowl until I called my mom and there was this yelling in the background and I asked her what that was. She said, "Oh, it's your father yelling at the colts." And I was so confused. They don't live on a farm and there aren't horses around for miles...

Your yellow gingham smocking reminds me of a yellow gingham smocked handbag I started to make when I was in grade school. I think that got wadded up and thrown across the room, too. Good thing I don't get frustrated with my harps, they could do some damage.

we make those in Canada! except we call them Nanaimo bars, after the city in British Columbia :D they are my all time favorite bar!!!

Aaaahhhh, yellow gingham...
or bright green...or red...
baby pink...
pale pink...
O.K. any color of gingham makes me
VERY happy! :)

I agree, Regina Maria sounds an awful lot like Nanaimo Bars. See They are awfully good.

Wrennette A. says: February 08, 2010 at 08:22 PM

I grew up wearing gingham. I made my own dresses when I was in school...and I liked aqua gingham the most...but I rotated all of the colors thru the years. I so agree with everyone matter what the weather, time of year, dresses or curtains, gingham always pleases. I've seen smocked dresses and pillows but never had something of my own...I guess I'm never too old to learn. Thankyou Alicia

I wasn't even tempted by the pleater
but the hand smocking is up my alley.
Really cool.

The dessert sounds really good too.

Yellow and gingham! It's like my kryptonite! I love it!

That looks so pretty - hooray for sunshiney fabrics

I love gingham. Can't even explain to you why or exactly how much. Sun yellow is breathtaking.

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at