Smocking Inspiration

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Smocking is a traditional pleated needlework technique that’s been around a while, and every now and then seems to make a resurgence. I’ve always wanted to try smocking, so today I did a bit of searching to see if this was something I could pick up easily by following a few online tutorials.

Patterns for smocking range from simple to highly detailed, and I wanted to start with the basic supplies I had on-hand – needle, thread, lightweight fabric and DMC Embroidery Floss. Here’s what I found…

MellySews will show you how to make a little girl’s dress out of a mens’ t-shirt in hand smocking her tutorial. I had no idea one could smock on stretch fabrics! Melissa Mora walks you through the entire process with her clear, step-by-step photos. What a fun idea – I need to try this…

Sew Daily has a terrific tutorial by AmberStitch for learning to smock, complete with diagrams. After marking the fabric with tiny dots (you can mark them by hand, or use iron-in transfers made specifically for smocking), work the smocking using one of the two diagrams provided. I’m going to work my first stitches on small test-swatches.

TipNut also has a really good section on smocking, with a variety of beginner to advanced stitch options. There are so many to try!

If you don’t want to mark the fabric, try smocking on gingham! The perfect little squares in the weave of the fabric are easy to use as a guide.

Check out this adorable blue gingham dress made by Lorraine at Ikat Bag. The process was an experiment for the designer, and in her blog she walks you through the entire process, from concept, to design, and on to the finished project.

Even basic smocking is just so pretty – and the Honeycomb Smocking Tutorial from Dorie at Tumbling Blocks makes it look so easy.

Watch as she measures, fold, presses and pleats her way to perfection with this beautiful tan design.

I’m inspired and ready to give it a try!


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