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Yes, You Can Smock!

Updated: Jun 14, 2023

We are frequently asked questions like "Do you really think I can learn to smock?" or "I smocked for my children 25 years ago, and now I am about to be a grandmother. Do you think I will remember?" Yes and Yes! Whether you are new to smocking or picking up the needle again for the first time in decades, we are here to equip you with the knowledge and notions you need to fall in love with this timeless craft.

Learning Basic Stitches

Start by checking out our FREE smocking video and learn the basic stitches with Melissa. Practice along with the video with our starter kit which includes: a small sample pleated insert, a smocking needle, one skein of DMC embroidery thread, and basic instructions to practice and refine your basic smocking skills. After you mastered a few geometric plates and want to learn picture smocking, watch Bonnie's stacking video.

Many towns still have great resources like a local heirloom sewing store or a local Smocking Arts Guild. Explore these resources as there may be classes available, or you may even connect with a fellow seamstress who would be willing to pass along her knowledge to you.

Needles – Smocking with well-made needles will help your stitches look better, and you will enjoy it more! Some of our favorite needles for smocking are Crewel #8 by John James or Crewel #7 by Bohin. If you prefer a longer needle, choose Darner #7 by Bohin or Darner #5 by John James.

Scissors – Sharp and small scissors are essential when you smock. We like the 4” Kai scissors with a straight or curved tip. The Thread Cutterz tool is also a very useful tool when you are doing handwork. Wear like a ring and you will never lose your scissors again.

Thread Magic – A wonderful tool for your hand embroidery and smocking projects. This thread conditioner works to reduce fraying, tangling, and static, making each stitch easier and faster. This is an essential notion for our smocking classes.


There are many great books with beautiful photographs to walk you step by step as you learn. A-Z of Smocking A-Z of Sewing for Smocking Ellen McCarn on English Smocking Ellen McCarn One Stitch at a Time Ellen McCarn Picture Smocking

Smocking Plates and Patterns

Beginning Smocking Plates – See our blog article about terrific plates to get you started. Children's Corner Patterns with Smocking – See a list of patterns that include smocking. The reward is worth your effort! So, jump in and start learning to smock.

Click the printer icon below for printable version.


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