To Make My Smock
made my smock with some linen that I managed to get quite cheaply.
Linen is the most authentic fabric as it was widely available during the
sixteenth century, but most people use cotton if they can't get hold of
linen. You will also need something to fasten the cuffs with, I used
two pearl buttons for each cuff.
started off using Drea Leed's custom pattern generator on her Elizabethan
Costuming web site (see Links section).
Drea's pattern pieces
are basically three shapes, a rectangle (for the main body), two trapeziums
(for the sleeves) and four right angled triangles (for the gores in the
2. My alterations:
I found that the shape
of Drea's main body pattern, made the sleeves start too far down my arms,
so I altered the shape of it. I also altered the shape of the sleeves
to make them fit into my new armholes:
3. Sewing it all
After cutting out the pattern pieces, I sewed it all together. As
the smock is not usually lined, it is important to use french seams to
keep everything neat. To do this, sew the wrong sides of the
fabric together first, then turn, iron and trim the seams, the sew the
fabric right sides together to hide the seam.
Firstly, sew the gores to the bottom of the main body. If you sew
bias edges together, the item of clothing is likely to stretch quite a
lot along that seam, so I sewed the bias edge of the gores to the main
body, which was not cut on the bias. This ensured that the edges
of the gores were not together when the smock was eventually sewn up.
Next fold the main body together and sew from the bottom up as far as the
arm holes - remember to french seam everything.
Now make the sleeves by sewing the long edges together with french seams,
then sew them into the arm holes - this is most easily done by hand sewing.
4. Finishing it all
To finish off the neckline, cut out a square of fabric 5 cm larger than
the neckline. Cut a smaller square out of the centre of this, 5 cm
smaller than the neckline. Hand sew it onto the outside of the smock,
then cut the corners off, fold inside the smock, and hand sew it to secure
it inside. I am going to decorate the neckline of my smock with some
To finish off the sleeves, from the wrist upwards, unpick approximately
10 cm of the sleeve seam and hem this neatly. Now make the cuffs:
To make the cuffs, cut out two rectangles of fabric long enough to fit
around your wrist comfortably with an extra 1.5 cm either end for seam
allowance, and about 6 cm (+ (2x) 1.5 cm seam allowance). Fold down
the seam allowances and iron them to make the cuffs easier to work with.
Machine sew one long edge of the cuff to the outside of the sleeve - you
might have to incorporate a couple of pleats to make the end of the sleeve
fit the rectangle of fabric. I fastened each of my cuffs with two
small pearls and rouleaux loops, so if this is what you are going to do,
you need to make the rouleaux loops on one end of the cuff, and sew in
the pearl buttons to the other end now. Hand sew the inside edge
of the cuff to the inside of the sleeve to finish it off.
To finish off the whole smock, hem the bottom edge - and try it on!
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