How to smock with elastic

Written by christina inge
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How to smock with elastic
Smocking can be dressy with the right fabrics and embellishments (dress image by Gina Smith from

Smocking with elastic creates opportunities to make sundresses, girls' dresses, and tops from any fabric you choose. Although pre-smocked fabric is available from many retail outlets, the selection of prints and colours is limited. Fibre choices, too, with cotton/poly juvenile prints and plain knits predominating. Once you learn to smock your own fabric, you can create a sundress or top in designer fabrics, a favourite quilting print, or a graphic jersey.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Fabric
  • Bobbin elastic
  • Sewing machine
  • Strong non-elastic thread
  • Tailor's chalk
  • Long quilting ruler

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  1. 1

    Cut a piece of fabric one and a half times as wide as the desired finished width of the smocked garment. Using the tailor's chalk and long quilting ruler, mark the area of the garment that is to be smocked with straight lines, approximately 3/4 inch apart.

  2. 2

    Thread the bobbin of your sewing machine with the elastic, stretching it as you wind--not absolutely taut, but stretched approximately 25 to 50 per cent. Insert your bobbin into your sewing machine as usual.

  3. 3

    Thread the top of your sewing machine with the strong, non-elastic thread. Sew with a straight stitch along the lines marked on the garment to smock the fabric. Finish the garment as desired. You can embellish over the smocking by hand-sewing sequins or beads in an allover design, as well.

Tips and warnings

  • Choose a simple design for your first smocked garment, such as a dress made from a single rectangle of fabric.

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