Technique Tuesday: Knot Smocking

November 2, 2010

I had a couple people ask me how I smock Molly's Witch Costume skirt piece.

There are all types of smocking. This one seems to be the easiest for me. It's simply series and series of knots. It's easy BUT tedious. If I make myself do this I'm usually listening to my ipod for some brain stimulation. I recommend you do the same. 

This look also works great for pillows and I've seen bedspreads with the same look although I wouldn't recommend attempting that. Especially if you own anything bigger than a twin:)

29 {comments}:

Jessica at Me Sew Crazy said... Best Blogger Tips

Woot!!! So happy you posted this! I was curious after seeing that costume!!!

Julia said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks this is really neat! That would make an awesome princess skirt, too!

Allison said... Best Blogger Tips

Would dropping the feed dogs be an alternative to hitting the button to push it back and forth?

Grosgrain said... Best Blogger Tips

Unfortunately, no. It only works when the fabric moves back and forth while the needle is moving side to side. That's where the gathering happens. I thought the same thing at first but when I tried it I only got a flat stitch.

Laura said... Best Blogger Tips

I can't wait to try this on a pillow.
When you are using this method do you add inches to your fabric to account for the gathering or does it stay pretty close to the same size?

CarrieCae said... Best Blogger Tips

Very nice! I've seen decorator fabric like this and have thought it would be fun to sew with!

Kat said... Best Blogger Tips

Fun. Thanks for sharing. I love Knot Smocking!

Amy said... Best Blogger Tips

You're amazing with a sewing machine! I have a basic sewing machine and have nothing but trouble with it. I've read the online reviews and found out I'm not alone. Can you give some tips on selecting a sewing machine? I know you have a Brother, which model? Which capabilities are important and which aren't? Thanks so much! (I checked the Q&A and didn't see this in there)

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

thanks so much for making that video. i so wanted to know how you did the smocking and it looks easy enough. thanks for the time you spent making the video!

Grosgrain said... Best Blogger Tips

Usually I smock a large piece of fabric first then I cut out my piece because it does make the fabric smaller.

Author said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks for posting! I have recently been thinking of making some pillows like this but didn't know how. Also, I love your nail polish.

Grosgrain said... Best Blogger Tips

Miss Missy,

Nicole said... Best Blogger Tips

perfect! i been toying around with ideas for my daughters christmas dress and this is it!

Never A Plain Jane said... Best Blogger Tips

Novice question alert! Does every machine have feed dogs?

linda said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks so much for showing us this... it seems like something more involved, but seems quite simple! I guess when you repeat something enough times it turns into something fancy :) ahah...

Ana said... Best Blogger Tips

What a great technique!

Jessica said... Best Blogger Tips

LOVE this! My daughter has a shirt with knot smocking on it and I absolutely adore it! I wanted to replicate one in a similar color for my younger daughter and couldn't figure out how to do it. This is exactly it! Thanks so much Kathleen for posting yet another oh so helpful tutorial!

Love and Hugs, Jess

Meghan, Carson and the Kiddos said... Best Blogger Tips

Maybe a stupid question, but in your video, which side of the fabric was the 'right' side? Or does it matter.

Anne said... Best Blogger Tips

The smocking creates such beautiful texture! I linked to your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:


Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

I have one more question: does knot smocking significantly reduces the width/heigth of the piece? In other words, does the original piece need to be e.g. one and half times wider than the end width you're aiming at? Hope you can understand this...

Grosgrain said... Best Blogger Tips


Grosgrain said... Best Blogger Tips

Usually I smock a large piece of fabric first then I cut out my pattern out of the smocked fabric because yes, it does make the fabric smaller.

Julie said... Best Blogger Tips

Fantastic tutorial... will definitely be doing this for my girl-baby's Christmas dress... thanks so much!

Karen G. said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks so much for the tutorial video--I was so hoping you would do one on this! It looks much easier than the end result appears it would be. I can't wait to try it! One question--do you not have to knot or lockstitch in place to hold the stitch in before moving on to the next one? Or does it really not unravel anyway?
Thank you again!

Unknown said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi, thank you for the tutorial. I was wondering if this technique (or a variation of it) is possible using an older Singer sewing machine? I am pretty new to sewing and don't believe there is a way to go back and forth like that on my 403 Singer. Thanks

jhelene said... Best Blogger Tips

What types of fabric work best for this technique? Or more specifically, is there a type of fabric that does not work well?

Risa West said... Best Blogger Tips

i am a crazy person that really really wants to try this technique to make a bedspread/duvet cover. but. i have an old pfaff. when you say the fabric needs to go back and forth and you're hitting the button. my machine has no button, and so i wondered if that button you're using is what you would use to back stitch but for this application you are just doing it really fast??? does that make sense. i get that the fabric needs to go back and forth while the machine goes side to side, but trying to figure out how to work that with my older machine. maybe i'll just try it out on a scrap. thanks for the video... if i ever make that bedspread/duvet cover i'll have to send a pic.

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

I'm with Risa.. I don't understand the button that your pushing to go back and forth. I have a brother se-400 and I don't have that button either.... what do I do???

Grosgrain said... Best Blogger Tips

It's just the backstitch button. On your machine- what do you do when you have to finish stitching?

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