Smocking Tips and Tricks?

January 1, 2015

What is the best stitch to smock on the sleeve of a baby's bishop dress? How many rows should be smocked?

By Bryn C.


June 29, 20180 found this helpful

I haven't thought about this in years! Back then I had to sit with a friend to learn. Now there are great YouTube videos. Maybe this one can help:


I need to refresh my memory on the techniques! Thanks for reminding me about a past sewing soother!

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June 29, 20180 found this helpful

You do long stitches in the back and short stitches in the front to gather fabric that is three times the width of the finished product. Instructions are here.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

Any smockers available to lend a hand? I am smocking a high back yoke and need to know if I smock across the back or leave a space (center back) to put in the button placket after the smocking is completed? There is no back seam and the smocking is done directly on skirt section (no insert).


Also, when should I remove the pleater threads on a bishop I have completed the smocking on? Before or after applying the neck binding? What about the same on the sleeves; before or after sewing the underarm and side seams.

As you can see I am new at this smocking stuff. Embroidery by hand and sew everyday but just learning the smocking - loving every minute of it.

Nelwyn from Bunkie, LA


By Philene (Guest Post)
May 24, 20060 found this helpful

You may have gotten an answer to your questions by not--or have just on and finished the best you could. When smocking the back of a yoked dress I leave 3 pleats in the middle of the back unsmocked. That gives room to cut and insert a placket. Then I put buttons on the yoke.

As for the pleating threads on the bishop. I remove all but top two rows (I always pleat one row near top and do cable on it with 2 threads to hold pleats in place--this ends up under the bias). I remove those last two just before putting the bias strip on.

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