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How to Smock

A Simple Illustrated Guide on How to Smock Fabrics the Right Way

Want to learn how to smock a fabric? Here is a step-by-step procedure for the same. Just get the material required and start this smocking project.
Mamta Mule
Last Updated: Mar 7, 2018
Smocking a fabric is a popularly used embroidery pattern for years. This type of embroidery pattern is widely used in making clothes more fashionable. It is used to fancify skirts, shirts, frocks, kids wear, and pillows as well. You can either smock a fabric using a sewing machine or with your hands. If you are wondering how to smock a dress or a pillow, by hand or with elastic, then this article will answer all your questions.
Sewing Machine And Red Fabric
A Step-by-Step Guide
Material You'll Need
  • Fabric
  • Cotton thread
  • Needle
  • Fabric pencil/chalk
  • Elastic
  • Pearl pins
  • Smocking pleater (if available)
Step 1
The first step is to pleat it. You can mark the starting and ending point of smocking with a fabric pencil. While using a smocking pleater is an easy way of doing this, you can also do it without this equipment. While working on the fabric just remember 3:1 ratio, and start pleating the fabric. This means, that you have to take 3 inches of un-pleated fabric and then 1 inch of pleated fabric. Go on doing this.
Step 1
Step 2
Pin the pleats with pearl pins as you move on. Keep 3 inches of fabric plain from both the borders. The total number of pleats formed must be even. Now, mark a horizontal line along the length of the pleats.
Step 2
Step 3
To keep the pleats in place use a running stitch, which you can easily remove later. Go on removing the pearl pins used previously while pleating the fabric. Mark the required number of rows for smocking on wrong side using a fabric pencil/chalk.
Step 3
Step 4
Now, thread the needle with 3 strands of cotton thread, tie a knot at the end. Take a narrow elastic of the size smaller than length of the fabric you have, after pleating. Now, place the elastic thread on the wrong side of fabric, over the marking of second row. Go on stitching it in a row. Once you reach the end, put a back stitch so as to secure the stitches properly. Now, put a knot and cut off the remaining thread.
Step 4
Step 5
Start working on the next row below it in the same way with elastic and thread. Go on doing this till you finish the number of rows that you have marked for the project. The fabric is ready to be used. Instead of using thread and elastic you can use an elastic thread as well.
Remember that if you want to smock a particular part of a dress, first smock this part and then join it with other pieces to form a dress. Also, make all the marking on the wrong side of the fabric that won't be visible. Usually, the cuffs or sleeves of a dress are smocked. This gives a classy touch to the outfit. You can have variations in the pattern. You can have wider or tiny pleats to have a detailed pattern. You can try this on a rough piece first and do variations as desired on the final fabric, to have a fantastic pattern ready!