Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Technique - Lattice Smocking

As I mentioned in my earlier blog post, I started a pair of pants last September and I wanted to use lattice smocking on the hem. I had first seen this treatment last spring used on some tops in Macy's. Then kbenco used it on a top and posted a tutorial. Being a visual learner, I watched several videos on youtube and made some samples. It seemed very complicated, at first, but it's actually not that hard.

You sew the smocking stitches on the wrong side of the fabric. You need to create a grid - a striped fabric can help with this. I used my large Olfa ruler and an orange Frixion pen to draw the grid and the diagonal lines. The drawing won't show on the front, but the lines can be removed by steaming or washing the completed garment.

You can see my samples below. I took photos after one, two and three rows of smocking. I decided that I wanted three rows on my pants. I made my sample the same width as the pant leg so I could confirm that I could comfortably put my foot through the sample and that it would be comfortable to wear. The smocked area has some "give" but is not stretchy.

One row of lattice smocking

Two rows of lattice smocking

Three rows of lattice smocking

I measured the pant leg of the Loes Hinse Oxford and, for my size, I was able to make a 1" grid 20 squares wide, from inseam to inseam. You need an even number of columns for the smocking to work properly in a continuous round. The Oxford is drafted with 3/8" seam allowances, so I started and ended the grid lines 3/8" in from either raw edge.

Each row of lattice smocking requires 2 grid rows, so I created the grid with 6 rows, for 3 finished rows of smocking.

After cutting out the pants, I used the Frixion pens to draw the grid on the wrong side. I then constructed the pants. When sewing the inseam, the first and last lines of the grid are sewn together at 3/8". I then turned the pants inside out, and sewed the smocked pattern. Where there is a diagonal line, you draw those opposite points together and secure them with a knot.

Here is a video that shows the stitch pretty clearly:

Once you get into a rhythm, it goes pretty quickly.

If you do any interesting garment projects with lattice smocking, I'd love to hear about it! I still plan to make a longer version of this pant with the same effect.


  1. wow...thanks for the instructions! I think this is something I'd have to DO to understand it...

  2. ...everything that Margy said.....

  3. Thanks for this. I think this would look great as a sleeve cuff.

  4. Wow! The smocking is so cool and it gives the pants a certain je ne sais quoi. I really like this!

  5. Very cool tutorial! Thanks for the video! Might even be nice for a pillow.

  6. Thank you for the tutorial. I love smocking. Awesome!

  7. This is so crazy I love it. Beautiful and so interesting, perfect on your pants. You inspire me.

  8. So creative and beautiful. I love it on the ends of the trousers legs like this, and I loved it on kbenco's top too. And agree with Gail that it would look pretty fab on shirt cuffs as well...
    Thankyou so much for the link to that tutorial.

  9. Wow great technique to have, thanks for sharing xx

  10. Love the smocking on the plaid. I'm so crazy, I once did this as the heading on drapes!