Even if I say so myself! Actually, many friends have commented on how good it looks, so here it goes...
When making my posh pet en l'air, I was using the same silk throughout as I had plenty of it. So when it came to making the stomacher I wanted something with a bit of texture for it to stand out. My first idea (zig zag gathering) failed completely...twice! This meant I had to come up with a different idea. I settled for smocking.
I found the perfect pattern and instructions which meant none of the complicated and precise gathers that normal smocking requires. This is the pattern and instructions I used.
The only complicated bit was ironing the pleats. You have to have a LOT of patience and a hot iron. Oh, and LOADS of metal pins. I don't think it mentions pins, but I highly recommend pinning each individual pleat once you've ironed it otherwise they wont stay in place!
Once I had all my pleats in place and ironed to within an inch of their death, I drew around the pattern of the stomacher onto the silk then tacked down the areas I would NOT be smocking and also along the top and bottom. This meant I could take out all those pins.
The first stitches the instructions say to make, I used matching thread, and I made my rows an inch apart as I thought it would look more dainty. For the stitches to form the 'honeycomb' effect, I used gold thread to add a bit of 'bling', I'm hoping this will show up under the right lighting.
You will find that the stomacher ends up smaller than the pattern, but this is ok because it stretches to its intended size. I also found that it is far easier and neater to bind the edges when attaching the interfacing and lining as it lies better and the binding allows for it to be pinned into place.