This week I'm working my way through the instruction book for my sewing machine (8 years or so after buying it!) to finally discover what my machine can do!
Over the past two days I have posted about rolled hems and blind stitching hems.
Today I want to share what I learned about smocking!

Smocking is basically 
pretty decorative stitching on gathered fabric.

Smocking provides a way of gathering wide fabric to a suitable width for your needs, and making it pretty at the same time.

So here was my quick try of smocking on my machine!

First you run several rows of stitching across the area on the fabric to be smocked.  Use your longest stitch length and don't run your stitching forwards and backwards at the beginning or end of the rows!

Then pull the threads at the ends to ruffle up your fabric:

Then you use a decorative stitch between the stitch lines on the ruffled fabric:

(Please don't look too closely at my wonky stitching - remember this was just a test piece!!)

Then you simply pull out the threads from the original rows of stitching, leaving you with a piece of smocking!

Ok - so my ruffles aren't exactly even, but you can see the general idea! I think this would be a nice effect to add to clothing, and bags perhaps!
Something else to tuck away for later consideration and use in my future sewing projects!

If you would like to read more about smocking, there's a good article here.

Also - the fabulous Rikka from Ricochet and Away recently hosted a fab folds contest - which involved using among other techniques - smocking!

To see some of the contest entries and their amazing examples of smocking go and take a look at this gorgeous book cover from Nisabell Necessary

Although this wasn't a special foot or setting on my sewing machine - it's something else learned !

Have you ever tried smocking?


  1. You've just given me lots of ideas, Jill. Looks so easy!!!

    1. Thanks Pam! It really is easy - the trickiest bit would be to get your pleats/ruffles even (if you want them even that is!)

  2. Oh, I love smocking! Though with two boys, I've done very little of late... I hope you are well, Jill!

    1. Thanks Gwen! Yes I can't imagine many boys clothes with smocking......

  3. Jill, thanks for all the explanations, you have made everything look easier.
    Thanks for having placed the picture of my smoked pillow here, it is an honor for me to find my project on your site. Now I finish this message and I will continue enjoying your tutorials, I love your blog.

    1. You're so welcome Marisa - your smocked pillow is just amazing!!!


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