How to use a smock stitch on a sewing machine

Written by elena rakitskaya
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How to use a smock stitch on a sewing machine
Create a smock stitch with your sewing machine. (Sewing machine image by Kumar RR from

Smocking is an embroidery technique invented in England. A smock stitch gives fabric a beautiful delicate look, which can be functional. Fabric is gathered in such a way that it can be stretched. When elastic did not exist, smocking was used in the parts of clothes that did not have buttons, like cuffs and necklines. Now, a smock stitch is a decorative element in children's and women's clothing.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Sewing machine that has changeable presser feet
  • Satin stitch foot
  • Thread
  • Swatches of lightweight fabric

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  1. 1

    Choose a soft lightweight fabric such as batiste, gingham or challis. Cut the fabric three times the finished width.

  2. 2

    Select the straight stitch option on your sewing machine. Set the stitch length to "5," which means the length of the stitches is 5 millimetres.

  3. 3

    Sew the rows of straight stitches from 3/8- to 1/2-inch apart, across the area to be decorated with the smocking stitch. Before you start stitching each row, make sure you have a thread about 2 inches long. When you finish the row, leave a 3-inch thread tail. Tie the thread tails along one edge. For example; if you have five rows of stitches, you will tie the ends five times along the same edge.

  4. 4

    Select the decorative stitch for smocking. In your stitch chart, find the icon with a honeycomb pattern. Bring the needle to its highest position. Turn off the power switch. Raise the presser foot. Press the red button on the back of the shank. The presser foot will drop off.

  5. 5

    Place the satin stitch foot so the horizontal pin on the foot lies just under the groove of the shank. Lower the presser bar and you will hear a click when the foot is locked into the bar. The wide cutout of the satin stitch foot is designed to accommodate a dense stitch formation. Most domestic sewing machines such as Singer, Brother, Babylock, Viking, Janome, Bernina and Elna are equipped with this foot.

  6. 6

    Rotate the foot pressure dial from to "2" to reduce the foot pressure. Stitch between the rows of the straight stitches.

  7. 7

    Pull the ends of the stitching lines on the side which was not secured with the ties. Remove the stitching lines.

Tips and warnings

  • You can use elastic thread in the bobbin. Hand-wind the bobbin with elastic thread, but don't pull it. Use a regular thread for the needle. Step 7, in this case, should be omitted.

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