Instructions for Smocking on Gingham

Written by kim nentrup
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Instructions for Smocking on Gingham
Add smocking to your favourite blouse pattern. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Smocking is a traditional form of stitching that places embroidery on top of many pleats, usually for the front of a blouse or child's dress. It gives an elegant appearance to special garments such as a christening gown, but can be used on everyday clothing as well. Gingham is a perfect fabric to smock, because the lines serve as a guide for forming the pleats.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Gingham fabric
  • Milliner's needle
  • Thread
  • Water soluble pen
  • Embroidery needle
  • Embroidery thread

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  1. 1

    Prepare three times the amount of gingham material you would normally need to make the garment.

  2. 2

    Draw on the back of the fabric eight lines parallel to the top of the fabric one inch apart. These are the pleat thread lines. Pleat threads are just what they say, the threads that will pull together the pleating. Mark these lines on the back of the fabric with a water soluble pen.

  3. 3

    Thread a milliner's needle and knot one end of the thread. Every inch along the pleat thread line, pick up 1/8-inch of fabric. Do this with a different thread on each of the eight pleat thread lines all the way across the fabric.

  4. 4

    Pull one side of all the pleat threads so that the fabric pleats up where you stitched. Tie the pleat threads together to secure the pleating.

  5. 5

    Cut an 18-inch length of 6-strand embroidery floss. Separate the threads so that you have only 3 threads together. Thread your embroidery needle, and knot one end.

  6. 6

    Make your first smocking stitch on top of one pleat. Go under the fabric one stitch ahead and come up. Backstich into the place where your needle last went in the fabric. Continue across all the pleats. Make eight lines of backstitching.

  7. 7

    Remove the pleat threads.

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