22 April, 2010

Pleating Material for Smocking

My newest obsession is smocking. Smocked dresses are beautiful garments that have been pleated first then embroidered then sewn into darling dresses for beautiful girls. I have had many friends ask how you get the material to gather so nicely and this my lovelies is how!!

Step 1. Space needles according to the pleating instructions.
Step 2. Thread each needle with cotton. Double it over and allow plenty of length
(these threads were 2 metres long because I was pleating several pieces of material onto
the thread).

Step 3. Carefully roll the fabric onto a broom handle (there are proper dowelling that all the professionals use but Lisa and I just use a broom handle). Pass the broom handle through the arms of the pleater and line your fabric up with the edge.

Step 4. Carefully feed the material into the cogs. Wind the handle with one hand while keeping tension in the fabric so it pleats evenly.

Step 5. Carefully slide the material off the needles and onto the threads, then continue winding. Stop when you have about 1 cm of material pleated tightly and slide it off the needles.

Step 6. Continue winding then sliding the material off the needles until your material looks like this! Tada!! Now it is ready to start smocking!! I will continue to add photos of this dress as I do the smocking and then the construction!


  1. This is so interesting. I have seen people do smocking with elastic thread on a sewing machine but have never seen real smocking. I'll be back to see the rest. =]

  2. The correct term for this type of smocking by hand is English smocking. Been doing it for years.