honeycomb smocking tutorial

I thought that I would show how I make honeycomb smocking, the technique I used while smocking the leather belt thing.
smocking leather - overview

honeycomb smocking - 1
Start with drawing a net of dots on your fabric, I do the dots directly on the fabric but many makes a paper patterns with squares first, and then uses the corner of the squares to mark out the dots.

my squares are 1*1 cm (0,4 inches), it is a bit small to work with, so if it is your fist try it can be good to start with some larger squares such as 2*2 cm (0,8 inches). With a lot of smocking techniques one usually marks on the back of the fabric, but now we mark on the front.

honeycomb smocking - 2
You need a needle on a thread that is knotted in the end.

honeycomb smocking - 3
Stick the needle up in the first dot.

honeycomb smocking - 4
At the same place, pick up a few millimetres of fabric (just like 3 threads or so).

honeycomb smocking - 5
Go to the dot beside it and pick up some fabric here to.

honeycomb smocking - 6
Pull together.

honeycomb smocking - 7
Sew some stitches and secure the “fold” you just made.

honeycomb smocking - 8
There, now on to the next stage.

honeycomb smocking - 9
Stick the needle down from where it just came from.

honeycomb smocking - 10
And stick it up the dot under it.

honeycomb smocking - 11
Now you are not going to pull the threads together, let it lie loose on the back.

honeycomb smocking - 12
Secure the thread again.

honeycomb smocking - 13
Pick up some fabric, go to the next dot and pick up some fabric there.

honeycomb smocking - 14
Pull together, sew some stitches and secure the thread.

honeycomb smocking - 15
Stick the needle down the hole it came from again.

honeycomb smocking - 16
And stick it up the dot just above it, remember to let the thread on the back lie loose.

honeycomb smocking - 17
Secure the thread.

honeycomb smocking - 18
And continue this way all the way to the end of the row.

honeycomb smocking - 19
This is how it can look when you come to the end.

honeycomb smocking - 20
Stick the needle down the hole it came from, skip one dot and come up the next.

honeycomb smocking - 21
Secure the thread. Remember that all the thread you do not pull together should lay loose on the back.

honeycomb smocking - 22
Pick up some fabric, go to the next dot and pick up some fabric there, pull together, sew some stitches and secure the thread.

honeycomb smocking - 23
Down from where it came from, and then down to the dot directly under it.

honeycomb smocking - 24
Pick up some fabric, go to the next dot and pick up some fabric there, pull together, sew some stitches and secure the thread and move on.

honeycomb smocking - 25
If one keeps going like this, this is how it will look like, and now you hopefully know how to make honeycomb smock.

92 thoughts on “honeycomb smocking tutorial

  1. Hi,
    I have become a follower of your webpage. The tutorials are so detailed and make everything look so easy. That is what made me think of you when trying to make a pick up skirt. Do you know how to make pick up skirts? My daughter just loves such dresses, but I don’t know how to make it, and tried very hard to find it online. Not much is available online on pick up skirts. If you can add a tutorial on this topic that would be a great help for sewing enthusiasts like me.

    Looking forward to see what new things you are doing with scissors and fabric now.



  2. Hi webmaster – This is by far the best looking site I’ve seen. It was completely easy to navigate and it was easy to look for the information I needed. Fantastic layout and great content! Every site should have that. Awesome job

  3. cheers from a fashion student, never really got this technique, thanks for your help!

  4. Olá!
    Gostei muito deste bordado. Já fiz e ficou perfeito.
    Tenho uma confecção de vestidos para criança em Ponto smock ” GuiguiriKa”.
    Depois vá ao meu blog e veja.


    Tika Marques

  5. That was a really wonderful tutorial.The pictures are explanatory and the honey comb is much easier than smocking.I was surfing the net for some good tutorial and I bumped into this site.Thanks a lot for the lovely tutorial.I am planning to work on a short top.

  6. Thanks for the detailed tutorial,i am planning to do on chudi top,Regards uma

  7. excellent. now i know. i was wondering if smocking is as difficult as ironing and pleating and all that. thanks for showing us that it is easy.

  8. Hi, I love your tutorial, I am very new to sewing and even greener on hand sewing. How do you secure the thread?

  9. Are there different designs of honeycomb smocking? I want to make cushion covers with different designs. Any suggestions?

  10. Rachael
    to be honest I did not measure it before and after, but yes I do believe that it would have been reduced to 7 cm. Either that or just slightly more or less.

  11. Hello Leonor
    You could use different ratio between the dots. having 1cm between the dots horizontally and 2 cm between the dots vertically will give you a smock with a different design. One could do endless different designs that way; by just changing the measurement between the dots :)

  12. I think honeycomb smocking is beautiful. I am glad I saw this on the internet. can’t wait to try it.I am new @ sewing, but like new and challenging things.

  13. This information is great, I’m an old lady but still love to sew, taught myself to sew when I married 64 years ago by trial and error and believe me there was plenty of that, so you young sewers don’t give up it will get better, just take pride. Sarah

  14. Lovely!!! Always wanted to try my hand at smocking,and you’ve made it too easy to believe. loving it. thanks.

  15. i have been looking for patterns on smocking,have not been able to find one.this is so very helpful and easy.cant wait to try it.On a childs dress,how much larger do I need to cut the pattern to allow for the smocking.Thanks so much


  16. Cathrin,
    I make historical costumes and one of my outfits has been featured here http://realmofvenus.renaissanceitaly.net/yourgarb/2010/Carol.htm I am in the process of writing up another submission for a market woman’s costume based on the paintings of Vincenzo Campi. One part of the costume is an apron that I have honeycomb smocked. May I put a link in the text I submit to the Realm of Venus web site to your very clear and detailed instructions on executing honeycomb smocking?
    Thanks, Carol

  17. Thank you so very much for the information on smocking. I have been looking for this information for month. It is perfect.
    Thanks again

  18. 27. Joyce Kovacs : How much bigger you need to cut your piece to allow for the smocking depends but is usually about twice the width but nothing on the length. The best way to make sure is to make a test piece, make a small square and see how much it shrinks .

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  20. what a fabulous tutorial…even I think I can do it. I want to make some scatter cushions (pillows) for my sofa and wonder if you can tell me what size reduction comes from smocking with this pattern?

  21. Ann says,
    More than 40 years ago I did smocking using gingham, I have completely forgotten all. I was so happy to find your tut.
    Ny question is how do I use the gingham( larger print I believe 1 inch ??
    To start. I want tomake an adult ladies hat for pool side. Small tight to he’d with about 2 or 3 inch brim?
    Any and all help appreciated.

    I have been searching for just this tut for the past year. Asking everyone and everywhere. And voila !! My angel with the smocking tut appeared.


    Ann from Ma.


  22. Thank you for your very explicit explanation and demonstration of this beautiful pattern, I’m itching to start.

  23. Excellent tut……been looking for a long time…..brought it all back to me……This was so good…do you do other type of smocking that would be easy to teach in here? If so….I will check back……..or just a though…anything else you might be doing you wish to share………

  24. Hello Cathrin. Your tutorials are absolutely perfect. Millions of thanks.

    I have a silly question to ask, I think it’s silly at least… If I was to do this technique for a dress, I would probably need to use elastic thread, right? Also, you recommend handsewing the smocked part of a dress instead of using the honeycomb option of a sewing machine?


  25. Hello and thank you.
    No questions are silly!
    This technique gives a natural stretch to the fabric so no elastic threads are needed, but it does not spring back as an elastic thread does. It is hard to explain in words so I recommend to do a text swatch.
    To do honeycomb by hand gives a very different look from doing it by machine with elastic threads, so it is all up to the look of the dress if you choose to do it by hand or on machine.

    But I warn you, smocking by hand is addictive! ;)

  26. Thank you so much. A great tutorial….thank you for putting it on white too – easy to follow. I have always wanted to know how to do this – I will try it now.

  27. Thank you so much. This was very helpful and I would like to definitely try this out. It was a good tutorial. Also I would like to learn the leaf like smocking design.

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  29. This tutorial is amazing – thank you so much! I have been wanting to do this type of smocking for years and it always seemed so difficult – you’re brilliant!

  30. Just found your tutorial and used it to update an old T-shirt. It worked perfectly, thank you!

  31. The simplicity of the tutorial on honeycomb is commendable, it inspires even a beginer to work on it…Thanks

  32. To save doing all those dots, you could have the fabric pleated at a heirloom fabric store.

  33. This has helped me a lot. Simple enough to get started. I have a machine that can do the harder stuff, but I wanted something portable to do while sitting in doctor’s offices. Thanks.

  34. do you have to do the smocking then cut out the pattern on the material. Or, how do you determine how much material to add to a project like a baby top?

  35. This looks like I should be able to give it a try. What about the loose threads on the back – why do they have to be loose? Do I need them for something later?

  36. Thanks for the smocking tutorial. I used it for rushing the top of linen curtains that I made and it looks so professional and expensive. It is very good of you to be able to share your talent with the world.

  37. Can u plz suggest any book available in India for smockin cushion patterns?…thanx in advance

  38. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and teaching me a valuable skill! Wonderful tutorial.

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  43. Hiii😄 your tutorial helped me a lot for my design and textile project, thank you very much💛

  44. Hi, I was wondering if this were to be done all around a sleeve, how much extra fabric would be required? (width wise)

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