When you smock, your needle is always kept horizontal when you take stitches into the pleats.
This is what the smocking pattern looks like. The thread I like to use is called floche. It is made my DMC, but instead of 6 strands of floss, you only use 1 strand. Floche thread is cotton, and it is very silky. I think it lies really well on the pleats.
This is the back of the pattern, the instructions. It doesn't give you very much information, just some mathematical directions.
The pleating threads are used as guides for the different rows. I am worried that the pleats aren't going to stay together in the middle of the hearts, so I am going to have to do a row of backstitching.
On the back of the smocking, I did one row of cable stitch. That will hold the pleats together on the front.
The smocking is complete. This dress is size 3, a smaller size and I smocked next to the armhole on the dress front. There are blue lines drawn for the lower half of the armhole which I will cut after I have blocked the smocking. To block, I lay the front of the dress on the ironing board and match it to the size of the blocking guide. Then I pin the dress to the ironing board using a few straight pins. I spray the smocked area with some mild starch and spray steam the smocking. Let it dry.
Now it's time to construct the dress.
Look for that tomorrow : )