How To Make My Smock

      I 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.

    I started off using Drea Leed's custom pattern generator on her Elizabethan Costuming web site (see Links section).
 

1. Drea's Pattern:

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 main body):

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 together:

      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 off:

      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 blackwork embroidery.

      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!

Click to go back to Tudor Costumes Home Page