My First Smocking

Smocking is a big deal in Indore. Where I come from, every other shop displays kids’ clothes, women’s night gowns in fancy smocking. My mother had taught me how to do this some time ago, but I never got around to actually doing it.


Then my mother-in-law began asking me to do smocking on a piece of cloth that she wanted to sew into a frock. This was a piece of an old aquamarine saree with maroon checks.

If you know smocking then you would know that this is a good type of cloth to begin with. The checks naturally allow you to determine the placement of the knots. With a plain cloth, you either have to manually draw the lattice on the cloth, or use a graph paper. Polka dots is good too, but for beginners like me, it helps to draw certain lines even on the dots so you don’t get confused.

For a basic idea of smocking, read this.

The video tutorial which best explains the latticework and how to do basic smocking, is this video tutorial by Rose.

This is the cloth and my supplies.

sewing supplies

sewing supplies

You can see my sewing dabba here. I have threads in most colors, a piece of elastic band and elastic thread. You can only see a couple of compartments, but this is actually a 3 x 4 compartmented box. You can also see that I have a range of colourful buttons too. You never know when a button on a dress gets lost in the melee called play-time. I usually save old buttons if they are still good, too. There’s a basic hand-operated sewing machine in my home too, which belongs to my mother-in-law. I do sewing projects too from time to time. It has become cumbersome now, because of Sayalee having found her step, and a newfound independence. 😦

I also had maroon beads to match the checks on this cloth. I used them along with the smocking for a nice look.

Pretty decent, no?

Pretty decent, no?

It is in no way the best smocking ever, but it is decent considering it was my first time. Really enjoyed doing this, and looking forward to making and sharing more exciting patterns.

Some other cool smocking patterns I found while doing my research:

Style N Sketch : Lots of tutorials, and step-by-step instructions here.

Call Ajaire: Lattice smocking tutorial

Ikat bag: Oooooooh so pretty! I hope to make something like this for the girls someday!

Make it love it: Shirring tutorial, which is pretty much smocking on a machine with an elastic thread. The resulting fabric is stretchy and looks neat on a sundress.

This is a dress for Sayalee I had once made by shirring the back. I promise you, once you know how to shirr, you will want to use it every time!

Shirred halter neck for Sayalee

Shirred halter neck for Sayalee


So what do you think, guys?




6 thoughts on “My First Smocking

  1. OMG! What are you made of? Where on earth do you get the time with being a mum to two kids, wife , daughter in law and being Gauri to make all this stuff? When I was in India, I mocked my friends who would sulk if their bais would not be there since I do everything here on my own, when I say everything I mean everything! And look at you! Excellent you are is piratical, keep it up. Kharach masta!!

    • nahi ga… it took me less than an hour to make this… I do it when the kids and the family are sleeping… Sleep isn’t that much of a necessity for me 🙂

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