No, I didn't miscalculate the length of fabric this time :-) I wanted to make a smock sampler to get some more practice and then I thought “Why not turn it into an apron for my daughther”? (She's almost 2 now).
Here are some of the things I've learned along the way:
I used 60 cm of fabric with 0,5 mm pleats and I ended up with a piece of embroidery of 20 cm wide. This means that for my own apron, I need around 2 meters of fabric
I can't make these stitches in a straight line without help. The first row of honeycomb stitches looks really wobbly... That's when I decided to use a ruler and a soft grey pencil to draw lines on top of the pleats. This helped me to keep the lines of stitches straight
I put the apron in the washing machine at 40C. It came out well and clean :-)
I used both a fine and a thicker linen sewing thread. I like the fine thread, from Bockens, for the honeycomb stitches and the ticker one, from The Mulberry Dyer, for the stem stitches (horizontal lines and diamond panes)
And this is what I've learned from Trude (thanks!!!):
In my first attempt (which was so horrible that I threw it away) I pulled the embroidery stitches way too tight over the pleats. She didn't say this, but I realized this when I saw her apron
If you want to embroider the diamond panes, it works best to embroider the horizontal lines first. These “set” the pleats, so it's easier to embroider the diamond panes next
Isis showed me this link to the pleatwork embroidery website, which focuses on the 14th – 16th century. Really worth a visit!