Tuesday, June 22, 2010

How to do Canadian smocking

In Canadian smocking folds are created by pulled stitches alternated by slack stitches at equal intervals using a grid of dots as guide line. Usually it is worked on the reverse of the fabric except for ” The flower “design. When fabric is gathered from the back side beautiful pattern is formed in the front .This type of smocking is not as elastic as English smocking. Beautiful cushions and bags can be prepared with this type of smocking. Canadian smoking is also called North American smocking and Lattice smocking. This type of smocking is very quick and easy to do . The neatness of the work depends upon the grid of dots that is marked on the fabric. I prefer to draw square graph of required dimension. It is easy to draw squares of required width by using ruler of the same width. That is if you want to draw squares of 2” use a scale of 2” wide.

Preparation of the fabric

Step 1

Iron and remove wrinkles if there are any.
A margin of required width is left by drawing margin lines on all the four sides of the fabric using a tailor's chalk.Now we have to mark squares of required width.

Step 2

Use a scale of required width and draw parallel lines to the margin of one side.

Step 3

In the same manner draw perpendicular lines
Thus the fabric is divided in to squares of required width.I prefer to produce the lines beyond the margin lines as it helps while finishing the work.
Now the fabric is ready to smock.

In Canadian smocking folds can be created in three ways.
1. By joining two points
2. By joining three points and
3. by joining 4 points.
Further variations can be made under each method by changing size of the square, by leaving gaps between rows or columns and by drawing rectangle grid instead of square grid. Using flower type stitch in-between.In my next post I will explain the method of smocking various designs.



  1. thankyou.that was really helpful.im going totry to learn this!

  2. Amazing Smocking!!!! I am inspired!!!!!

  3. thank u for sharing ur time n knwledge. im going to try this :)was searching' bt couldnt find how to calculate meterial for this project

  4. There is a list of labels on right hand side there you can see topics "method of calculating...........

  5. Thanks for sharing. My sister did canadian smocking years but she has since died and I am trying to learn. These directions were very helpful and I have starting drawing the graph using 1 inch blocks. I would have liked to send you a photo when I am finished. Once again thanks for sharing.

  6. Dear Vani,

    Thanks for your step by step tutorial.
    This is my first time doing any kind of smocking. I am not able to cut the cloth straight even with a rotary cutter and a ruler and I don't seem to be able to draw straight lines on the cloth. Which is easier using an ink pen for the fabric or a fabric chalk?Pls help

  7. Fix the cloth to a table with mask tape so that the selvage is in line with the edge of the table. Keeping this as the basis draw other lines.Then you will be able to cut the cloth straight. In the beginning you find it difficult.Later on you will do it correct.