Sotela

How to Care for Your Smocked Garments

Can you guess which garment is this year’s best seller? If you guessed the Oasis, you are correct! I knew from the moment I put the sample on it would be a hit. There is something wonderful and freeing about wearing a garment made in a flowy gauze that has tiers and elastic shirring. Elastic shirring, also known as smocking, is when fabric is gathered with elastic and thread sewn together like a chainlink.

I designed the Oasis to have elastic shirring across the bust so it doesn’t have to be worn with a bra. After 2020, my goal was to wear bras as little as possible.

The best feature of the Oasis is also its most complicated! After going back and forth with the decision to make the smocked bust in-house, we found a factory in Los Angeles that can make it faster and more efficiently. They have a 12 needle machine that wraps the thread around the elastic to sew 12 elasticated lines. Some dresses have to pass through the machine two times so there are about 24 lines of smocking across.

Once we pick up the smocked tops from the factory, we sew the rest of the dress (sleeves and skirts) to complete your order! Sonia (lead sewist) reinforces the elastic by sewing a safety stitch down the sides so it doesn’t unravel.

All that to say, the smocked busts need to be treated delicately! Remember I mentioned the thread is wrapped around the elastic like a chainlink? Pulling the thread can completely unravel the entire row of elastic. If you see a thread coming out, don’t pull it! Either cut the thread so it doesn’t completely stick out and tie it into a knot or return it to us to fix!

Our care labels say wash on delicate cycle, but it can be tricky if a thread gets pulled in the wash by something else. My advice would be to wash it by hand and letting it air dry!

So, to reiterate, please hand wash your smocked garments! It ensures the elastic and thread don’t get caught and subsequently unraveled. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!

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