Toddler's smocked dress "Triple Ripple"

Contributed by: The Embroiderers' Guild of WA Inc

"Triple Ripple" Front view "Triple Ripple"  "Australian Smocking" magazine,issue 21, Winter 1992 page 8 "Triple Ripple" rear view "Triple Ripple" Close up Smocking
  • Australian dress register ID:

    567
  • Owner:

    The Embroiderers' Guild of WA Inc
  • Owner registration number:

    2013.040
  • Date range:

    1992
  • Place of origin:

    Perth, Western Australia, Australia
  • Gender:

    Female
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Object information

Significance statement

This smocked dress, known as a baby dress bishop top, was based on a pattern by Margaret Herzfeld in the 1990s for the "Australian Smocking and Embroidery" magazine and for smocking lessons. The name 'bishop top' comes from the clerical surplice, a roomy gown with a gathered neckline. It is an easy garment for a child to wear, because it is loose fitting and allowing for growth. Through her teaching and publications, Margaret helped to keep the old skills alive, adapted them, and made them available to new generations when they were not longer taught in schools. She used her considerable talents to teach in Western Australia and interstate, designe d original garments for “Australian Smocking and Embroidery" magazine and established a business making smocked garments for many Perth children until illness cut her life short in 2005.

Between 1990 and 2003, Margaret’s designs appeared in twenty one issues of “Australian Smocking and Embroidery” magazine.  Two of these outfits made the front cover, and one was voted as one of the “Great Smocking Designs of Australia”. For each of these issues, a photo shoot took place in Adelaide: garments and the detailed instructions had to be ready well ahead of the publication date. Correspondence confirms that Margaret was always well prepared and that her instructions were easy to follow. Margaret’s dresses won prizes in Australia, the UK and the USA. Her year book records that in one year she worked on 408 smocked garments.

Margaret's smocking designs became a recognizable icon for quality children's wear throughout Australi a in the 1990s. She was a person who valued history. She researched smocks and smocking techniques in the United Kingdom and became an authority on the smocks that had travelled to Australia and were later included in local and national museums. No doubt a definitive guide to historic smocks in Australia would have been forthcoming had she lived longer.

 

 

Author: Prepared by Gaynor Ashford , 1/03/2015.

Description

This smocked bishop dress is worked in one piece. The 'ripple' effect is created using back smocking. The triple ripples are three scalloped rows of trellis stitch combined with outline and stem stitches. Embroidered rosebuds using French knots and bullion stitch complete the design.

History and Provenance

Births, deaths, marriages, children or family information

Margaret English Clarke was born in Southampton, UK on 9th January 1939. With her parents, Phyllis and James, and little sister Mary, the family migrated to Perth in November 1946. Clarko, as she soon become known, attended Presbyterian Ladies’ College from 1946 until 1956. After leaving school she attended Business College.

In 1960 she married Michael Herzfeld, at Guildford Grammar School chapel. After he graduated as a civil engineer, they worked in Northam for two years where their first child was born, then Derby where their second child was born. They moved to Claremont in 1969 where their third child was born. The family continues to live in the nearby suburbs.

Margaret died in 2005.

How does this garment relate to the wider historical context?

You are 24 years old, married to a an civil engineer and  living in the Kimberley in the north of Western Australia. You have a baby and a toddler, the dreaded “two under two” and want to dress them in something other than the limited choices available. So you learn smocking from a “Semco” magazine. (Semco being an Australian company specialising in embroidery fabrics, threads, pattern and  instruction books.)

Twenty years later, you now live in Perth; your three children have grown up; you have studied smocking to the high standard expected from the Embroiderers’ Guild (UK), and smocking is fashionable again. What do you do?

Well, Margaret used her considerable talents to teach in Western Australia and interestate, designed original garments for “Australian Smocking and Embroidery" magazine and established a business making smocked garments for many Perth children until illness cut her life short in 2005.

Between 1990 and 2003, Margaret’s designs appeared in twenty one issues of “Australian Smocking and Embroidery” magazine.  Two of these outfits made the front cover, and one was voted as one of the “Great Designs of Australia”. For each of these issues, a photo shoot took place in Adelaide, so the garments and the detailed instructions had to be ready well ahead of the publication date. Correspondence confirms that Margaret was always well prepared and that her instructions were easy to follow.

Mind you, in her teaching, she had a neat line to ensure students returned for further classes, by only giving information sufficient for the day, and inviting them to come along to the next class. Historically, smocks were worn by trades people, with the embroidered pattern showing the symbols of  their trade or craft. Margaret taught wearing a smock she had designed, incorporating the tools of her trade in the embroidery.

Margaret’s dresses won prizes in Australia, the UK and the USA. Her year book records that in one year she worked 408 smocked garments.

Gaynor Ashford, September 2014 using information in the eulogy for Margaret, given by her daughter. Additional information from Valerie Cavill, Curator of the “Historic Textile Collection”, The Embroiderers’ Guild of WA.

  1. Place of origin:

    Perth, Western Australia, Australia

  2. Owned by:

    Margaret Herzfeld

    The Embroiderers' Guild of WA (Inc)

  3. Occasion(s):

    Publication photoshoot

  4. Place:

    Adelaide

  5. Designed by:

    Margaret Herzfeld

  6. Made by:

    Margaret Herzfeld

  7. Made for:

    Publication

Trimmings / Decoration

Embroidery

Cable stitch. Trellis, outline and stem stitches. Back smocking, French knots and bullion stitch for the rosebuds.

Fibre / Weave

This dress is made from a light weight poly/cotton batiste in a pale cream colour called "champagne".

  1. Natural dye
  2. Synthetic dye

Manufacture

The garment comprises five sections - front, left and right back and two sleeves. Firstly the sleeves are pleated prior to smocking and attached to the front and back sections using an overlocker. The front and back are then pleated. The garment is laid out flat and the pleats adjusted to form the neck circle. The smocking can then commence with cable stitch to hold the pleats in position. The scallops are worked by wave shapes of cable stitch on the front. Back smocking is worked on the reverse of the fabric giving the ripple effect. The sleeves have four rows of wave pattern worked in stem and outline stitch forming diamonds. Each scallop has an embroidered rosebud decoration.

The garment is then constructed by joining the side seams (French seams) and making a six centimeter hem. The back opening has a pop fastener at the neck and below this, three buttons and hand worked buttonholes.

The neck edge is neatened with a bias cut strip of the same fabric, machined to the raw edge, folded over and hemmed on the reverse side by hand.

  1. Hand sewn
  2. Machine sewn
  3. Knitted
  4. Other

Cut

The main garment is cut on the straight. The neck band is a bias cut strip.

  1. Bias
  2. Straight

Fastenings

The fastenings are located at the centre back of the garment. A metal pop fastener is attached to the bias strip at the neck edge. Three cream plastic nine (9) millimetre buttons are handstitiched 60mm, 100mm, and 100mm  from the neck edge. The burronholes are handworked.

  1. Hook and eye
  2. Lacing
  3. Buttons
  4. Zip
  5. Drawstring

Measurements

dress
Girth
Neck 310 mm
Chest 670 mm
Cuff 110 mm
Hem circumference 1450 mm
Vertical
Front neck to hem 375 mm
Back neck to hem 370 mm
Sleeve length 190 mm
Horizontal
Cross back 210 mm
Underarm to underarm 330 mm
Fabric width 1150 mm
Convert to inches

Dress Themes

This little dress was originally designed for Margaret's grandaughter's first birthday. Although the entire garment is easily washed by hand or machine, it could be treated as suitable for a formal special occasion or Sunday best.

Additional material

Articles, publications, diagrams and receipts descriptions

You are 24 years old, married to a an civil engineer and  living in the Kimberley in the north of Western Australia. You have a baby and a toddler, the dreaded “two under two” and want to dress them in something other than the limited choices available. So you learn smocking from a “Semco” magazine. (Semco being an Australian company specialising in embroidery fabrics, threads, pattern and  instruction books.)

Twenty years later, you now live in Perth; your three children have grown up; you have studied smocking to the high standard expected from the Embroiderers’ Guild (UK), and smocking is fashionable again. What do you do?

Well, Margaret used her considerable talents to teach in Western Australia and interestate, designed original garments for “Australian Smocking and Embroidery" magazine and established a business making smocked garments for many Perth children until illness cut her life short in 2005.

Between 1990 and 2003, Margaret’s designs appeared in twenty one issues of “Australian Smocking and Embroidery” magazine.  Two of these outfits made the front cover, and one was voted as one of the “Great Designs of Australia”. For each of these issues, a photo shoot took place in Adelaide, so the garments and the detailed instructions had to be ready well ahead of the publication date. Correspondence confirms that Margaret was always well prepared and that her instructions were easy to follow.

Mind you, in her teaching, she had a neat line to ensure students returned for further classes, by only giving information sufficient for the day, and inviting them to come along to the next class. Historically, smocks were worn by trades people, with the embroidered pattern showing the symbols of  their trade or craft. Margaret taught wearing a smock she had designed, incorporating the tools of her trade in the embroidery.

Margaret’s dresses won prizes in Australia, the UK and the USA. Her year book records that in one year she worked 408 smocked garments.

Gaynor Ashford, September 2014 using information in the eulogy for Margaret, given by her daughter. Additional information from Valerie Cavill, Curator of the “Historic Textile Collection”, The Embroiderers’ Guild of WA.

Condition

State

  1. Excellent
  2. Good
  3. Fair
  4. Poor

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