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If you are bored with modern outfits like t-shirts, jeans, etc. It’s time to find out what is a smocked dress and why it is loved all over the world.

What is smocked clothing?

When talking about smocked clothing, people think of comfort first. But that doesn’t mean we underestimate their elegance and fashion.

Overview of Smocked Outfits

Smocked Outfits first appeared in Europe around the 12th-13th centuries. Initially, it was for shepherds and farmers living in rural areas across England, then gradually spread to a number of countries such as Italy and Germany.

Nowadays, we can find countless variations of smocked outfits. Smocked embroidery would adorn baptism and Christening gowns, girl’s bishop dresses, smocked coveralls; while adults would be seen wearing hand smocked casual and elegant embroidered clothing wear.

Fashion trends with smocked outfits will certainly continue to exist and develop. Especially when people increasingly appreciate traditional values. You can see fashion editors and street style stars wearing smocked outfits in every one of their shows since 2018. And it proves that you are completely wise to learn about this type of outfit.

What is a Smocked Dress?

Smocking is an embroidery technique on fabric with the purpose of creating effects and highlights for each pattern. When sewing smocking, the craftsman will use elastic thread to hold the folds in the fabric. When completing the sewing process, a smocked dress will have more elastic, flowing and beautiful patterns.

Smock embroidery is where fabric is taken and folded into an accordion fashion, these are known as pleats.

There are many types of stitching found on smocked clothing stitches known as, honey comb, cable stitch, and the smockers knot,… The areas of the dress, which were usually smocked, were the cuffs, chest, and waist areas. Smocking embroidered details will help these positions have a certain elasticity. This will transform the dress into an outfit that looks great on anyone.

Making a smocked dress has never been a simple job. Because it requires a lot of time and effort. Normally, workers have to hand smoked within a few days, even weeks, to create the highest quality product. But once completed, the dress will be a precious and luxurious item. That’s why are smocked dresses so expensive.

Entering the industrial revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries, people were able to create machine smocking products. While some machine-made products are truly lovely, the quality cannot match traditional hand-sewn clothes. That’s for sure, and you can easily recognize two types of hand smocked & machine smocked products with the naked eye: Machine smocked can only do simple and repetitive details.

Smocked Embroidery appears a lot in children’s dress designs

Obviously, creating machine smocking products also goes against the traditional values ​​that the tobacco embroidery technique conveys. Therefore, we do not encourage our customers to buy machine embroidery products, even though their quality is not bad.

A smocked dress can be worn by ladies in street outfits, but is most commonly seen on girls for everyday wear or on holidays such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter,…

After you understand what does hand smocked mean, do you want to know how to create them? Below are specific instructions:

How to make a hand smocked dress?

Smocking is an advanced embroidery technique that, although not too difficult, will take a lot of time to complete. Next I will share with you how to make a hand smocked dress in 8 simplest steps.

Step 1: Finding Your Material

You can use any fabric (linen, silk, cotton,…), but I have 100% cotton available here so I will use that. A tip for you is to choose fabric samples with symmetrical patterns, because you will need to mark the material to make the squares. Here, I also marked the location of the boxes for stitching in green.

The black dots are where you stitch

To make this smocked dress, I prepared a piece of fabric measuring 2 yards because it does take extra material because of the smocking. I also bought 1 1/2 yards of white material to line the dress. And a bag of pearls to add to each stitch. Total cost is about $75.

Step 2: Pattern

I selected a dress that I was certain would fit my granddaughter and created a pattern from it. It’s crucial to choose the right pattern before starting the smocking process in order to determine the appropriate amount to smock. In my case, I opted to smock the front upper portion of her dress. It’s advisable to smock a slightly larger piece than necessary because you’ll trim the pattern piece after completing the smocking. This pattern helps you maintain the piece’s size close to your requirements, preventing you from smocking a piece that’s too large.

Step 3: Smocking Tutorial

Here’s a concise guide to smocking on any fabric:

  • Use a washable marker to mark dots 1/2 inch apart both horizontally and vertically on the fabric.
  • Make the dots twice as large as your desired finished size because smocking requires extra material.
  • Start at dot 1 and move sequentially to dots 2, 3, 4, and 5, which brings you back to dot 1.
  • Gently pull the thread to gather all the dots together.
  • Secure the gather by stitching through a couple of the dots.
  • Optionally, add a bead (e.g., a pearl) or a few extra stitches.
  • Move to the next block of dots, starting at any point, and complete the circuit, ending at the starting dot.

With practice, your smocking process will become faster and more efficient.

Step 4: Start Smocking

I used fabric with a pre-existing design, eliminating the need to mark dots. Instead, I followed the tutorial by executing 5 stitches, then pulling a stitch to tighten. Afterward, I created a securing stitch to hold the design together and inserted a pearl for embellishment. To ensure the pearl remained firmly in place, I added an extra stitch. I’ve included a diagram to illustrate the appearance of the stitch, which becomes straightforward with practice. Just be sure to mark your fabric and verify its alignment. I began at one end and initially believed there was room at the top, but I later discovered my material wasn’t straight, resulting in the loss of a smocking row.

Step 5: Start Sewing

Sew the dress pieces together after completing the smocking. Begin by cutting out all the lining pieces and carefully trimming all sections of the dress, except for the smocked front piece, to avoid any risk of loosening stitches. Attach the front lining to the top of the dress at the neck and armholes, then trim any excess fabric and turn the piece inside out. Proceed by connecting the back pieces to the lining, and finally, sew the front and back together. Your dress top is now fully assembled and ready to wear.

Step 6: Sew the Skirt and Lining

Stitch the skirt lining and the outer skirt together. Next, gather both pieces by sewing a loose straight stitch and gently pulling the thread. Then, sew the lining to the lining and the main fabric to the main fabric, ensuring the right sides are facing each other. Finally, flip the skirt, and your dress is nearly complete.

Step 7: Sashes and Buttons

Cut two pieces for the sashes meant to be tied at the back. Fold and sew along the top and side edges. To turn the sashes right side out, I found using a pencil helpful. Once turned, sew them into the side seam. In my case, I had to slightly adjust the seam since I forgot to include them earlier in the process.

Next, create your buttonholes. If you have a machine with a buttonhole stitch, that can be quite handy. If not, you can opt for snaps and then sew buttons onto the top for a similar closure.

Step 8: Hem and Finish

Next, I proceeded to hem both the lining and the dress. For the dress, I opted for a small hand-stitched hem. It’s essential to hem the dress first before adjusting the lining’s length. If the lining turns out too long, you can trim it accordingly.

To add a special touch, my granddaughter requested a bow. I crafted a bow and even adorned it with a few pearls to create a cohesive look. I also incorporated a similar bow into her headband. I completed the dress just in time for her to wear to a friend’s wedding this weekend. She was thrilled with the dress, so it looks like I might have to make another one. It’s incredible what you’ll do for your grandchildren!

Where to buy wholesale hand smocked dresses?

If you are interested in buying wholesale hand smocked dresses for girls, then you’ve come to the right place. K-Embroidery with more than 25+ years of experience as a leading manufacturer specializing in providing hand smocked clothing products is a great suggestion for you.

What makes our smocked and embroidered dresses so special?


100% Hand smocking

What makes our smocked and embroidered dresses so special is that they are 100% hand smocked by experienced Vietnamese workers. Each product is extremely creative and meticulously presented.

Limitted Editions

K-Embroidery does not create very large quantities of products. To ensure a certain number of products circulate on the market, we reset our models for every order of 200 pieces. You can see our website is constantly updated with new products. Contact our Sales team now to be sent a catalog with more than 500+ models.

High quality materials

We only use high quality and completely child-friendly fabrics such as cotton 100%, linen or silk. We also only use elastic embroidery thread from Trung Dung Brand.

Some of our featured products

Below are some of our most typical products, which are always popular and receive positive feedback from customers:

Smocked Bishop Dress

A common advantage of bishop dresses is that they seem to fit better than any other style of dress. To have an authentic smocked bishop dress, they must be hand-smocked from the neckline out to the shoulders with raglan sleeves. The front, back and shoulders are all smocked at the same time, creating a decorative round yoke. That is why K-Embroidery products always win the trust of customers.


Smocked Sundress

Sundresses are commonly crafted from airy and lightweight materials such as cotton, silk, or linen, making them ideal for warm and humid conditions. Typically sleeveless or adorned with thin straps, these dresses are tailored for hot weather comfort. Sundresses come in various hemlines, ranging from mini to full-length, although midi to maxi lengths are the most prevalent. Additionally, sundresses offer diverse neckline options, including wide necklines, v-necks, scoop necks, or halters, providing a range of choices for different styles and preferences.


Holiday dress

For special occasions like Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day,… K-Embroidery always offers special smocked dress models. We also have Spring Catalog, Summer Collection,… always ready. Therefore, contact us now or fill out the information form below the article to receive a free consultation!


May you so like: Red Smocked Rompers: Top 10 The Most Beautiful

So the above article has explained what is a smocked dress. Hope we have brought readers useful information. Hello and see you again in the next articles!