We are finally here – it is time to construct your ornament.
1. Right sides together, sew the seam joining the two short ends of your ornament. I did this by hand. Ideally the seam falls in the valley between the first and the last pleat, so you want to stitch it right up against those pleats.
2. Turn your ornament right side out, thread your needle with the floss that was left at the end of rows 3 and 9, and finish the row by stitching across the seam and stitching the last stitch of the sequence through pleat 1. This helps pull those peats together.
3. You can pull the pleats together by taking some additional compensating stitches on the cable rows, or by pinching the pleats together from the wrong side and taking a few stitches on the back with your sewing thread. Not perfect, but better!
4. Remove the pleating threads from rows 3-9. Don’t remove them from rows 1, 2, 10 or 11 yet!
5. Insert your ball – see how elastic the smocking is – no problem with inserting that ball! Get it positioned in the middle and insert a pin or two to hold it while you work on the ends.
6. Starting at one end, pull on the pleating threads to gather the ends. Smooth, pin and pull. Don’t be afraid to trim the fabric. (see how much I took off in the picture) Pull, pin and trim some more. Keep pulling, pinning and trimming until it all lies flat.
7. With a strand of floss that matches your background fabric, go around the top of the ornament in a circle, pushing your needle through the pleats as if you were adding an additional pleating row at the very top. Pull some more. Then take a few stitches back and forth across the very top. If a little of the ball shows at the top, that is no problem, it will be covered. You want to get everything to lie as flat as possible. Once you have finished stitching, remove the pleating threads from rows 1 and 2 if they show.
8. Repeat at the other end of the ball.
Tomorrow will be part 2 with pictures and options for how to decorate your ends!