Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s: A Smocked Frock!

How many of you have tried your hand at smocking? In this tip from Ruth Wyeth Spears, frock fullness is artfully "gathered" with honeycomb smocking at the neckline and the hips. Using a typical technique for Ruth, you apply the smocking before you cut the dress. And as usual, Ruth's clear instructions make it look easy!

Smocking is actually a wonderful technique and there are magazines out there that are devoted solely to the art, especially in Australia, the UK, Canada, and South Africa, full of very cute smocking patterns.  Vintage patterns for smocked items usually included transfers that consisted of the dots that Ruth describes, which simplified hand marking the dots. Nowadays, there are pleating machines for smocking that make it even simpler.

But you don't need a smocking dots transfer or a machine to add smocking. Just follow Ruth's instructions to be successful!

Happy smocking!


  1. I LOVE smocking (haved used it on dresses and aprons), and have considered using it on my next 1920s dress! Thanks so much for posting this tip!

    1. That is SO exciting, Gabriela! Do share when you make your next 1920s dress (smocked or not)! :) I personally love the effect that smocking produces, and have even bought a magazine or two. But I have yet to attempt an actual project. :)