One of noteworthy embroidery traditions in history is hand-smocking art which is embroidering on pleated gathering fabric. It has been taught and handed down like the classic nursery rhyme, lullaby or myth.

Smocked frocks appeared early from the late 17th century in Wales and England. They tended to be embroidered with symbols related to surrounding life of the wearer (flowers, farms, trees, animals..)

The Industrial revolution made the smock frocks as a popular useful clothing. It was developed to become a favorite style of fashion for the female.

The smocking pleater was created by a Canadian in South Africa in 1940’s to help tailors to make up the pleats first and then do the embroidery stitches.

Right in the early time, smocking included two types: geometric smocking and embroidered motifs to adore clothing. It takes tens of hours to embroider delicate and complex geometric designs of flowers and other embroidered embellishments.

Nowadays, smocking became a culture for not only English but also for the United States and other regions in the world.

People in the United States often use soft fabrics such as cotton fabric to smock. An excellent choice is linen. Heavier fabric is corduroy or velvet for cold seasons. We can smock patterns on fabrics such as gingham or stripped fabric before pleating.



Some notes to get started with smocking by yourself:


The most popular type is embroidery floss thread and stranded cotton that match with type of fabric like cotton or cotton-polyester blends.

* Embroidery

When focusing on gathering pleats on the body and sleeves, pleats should be placed evenly with embroidery stitches in direction of the needle. If two strands of thread are needed, do not double the thread in the needle, use separate strands to make embroidered patterns nicer.

For reference, let’s have a look at some smocking designs by Babeeni-the leading manufacturer of smocked children clothing. Feel cultural tradition of smocking fashion and enjoy timeless embroidery art:

Gorgeous geometric smocked floral dress 

with geometric hand smocked patterns around the neck, short sleeves, back buttons.

Gorgeous geometric smocked dress – BB1189

Feature: Gorgeous smocked bishop dress with geometric hand smocked pattern on the round neck, short sleeves, back buttons

Beautiful geometric smocked flower dress – BB1325

Feature: Beautiful flower dress with geometric and tiny flower hand smocked patterns,short sleeves

Baby smocked horse race baby pink gingham dress

Adorable dress in bishop style with smocked horse race on the chest, puff sleeves with ruffle, back buttons

Smocked forest animals lime green pink plaid dress

Adorable dress in bishop style with smocked forest animals on the chest, puff sleeves, back buttons, embellished with orange zigzag along the hem.