How Do You Put A Smocked Insert In A Shirt

Although very few patterns of smocking include an insert, altering a pattern just to include an insert may sound time-consuming. However, there are good reasons why you should choose it. Just in case you’re excited to learn further, here’s your guide to putting a smocked insert into your shirt.

As you already know, smocking isn’t a design that’s responsible for controlling the fullness of your fabric. It’s also an ideal technique to add innovation to the fabric, in this case, your shirt. That’s the reason why adding a smocked insert in your shirt is a great move.

Putting a smocked insert to your sewing project (dress, blouse, pillow, or anything else) can be fantastic. But beginners should learn the method more intricately just to avoid confusion. For them, here goes the guide! To learn further, keep reading on.

How Do You Put A Smocked Insert In A Shirt?

As a thumb’s rule, you can use any material of your choice, as long as you can carry forward the sewing project carefully. That may include chiffon, cotton, linen, lawn cotton, silk knits, and more.

For smocking, a light to medium weighted fabric is the most seamless selection. But remember, whatever material you select, it must have a plain surface. Interestingly, you can also opt for a denim shirt, cotton blends, or even a plain cotton white shirt!

But if you’re a beginner, always remember to use cotton fabric. You may go wrong with other materials when you make an attempt for the very first time. Let’s narrate the method to add the smocked insert in the shirt. And to learn more, here’s presenting the method through the given narration.

When it comes to adding a portion of smock into your sewing project, it becomes fairly simplified. In smocking projects, this particular method is one of the easiest ones that any newbie can try.

After all, an insert is very easy to pleat. For projects where you need a solid colored background, a smocked insert becomes a safer bet. Moreover, for the times you plan for geometric designs, a smocked insert sounds better than anything else.

A majority of times, beginners are in need of pre-pleated inserts for their sewing project. On such a note, smocked inserts sound cool, plain, and simple! While there are other reasons indicating its advantages, here’s presenting the steps in detail. Let’s explore the easiest method to add a smocked insert in your shirt!

Step 1: Preparing For the Procedure (Things You Require Collecting)

To begin with the steps, you’re going to need a couple of sewing essentials. The following is the list of things without which adding a smoked insert to your shirt becomes impossible:

  • An iron on the mesh stabilizer (any stabilizer that works)
  • A ruler
  • Some pens
  • A fabric marking pen
  • A pair of sharp scissors
  • Your Shirt or T-shirt
  • Smocked insert
  • Cording
  • Your sewing machine

Step 2: Ironing And More

Now, let’s move on to the crucial part of the work. So, ironing on the stabilizer to the inside of the shirt is your foundation point. It may make the cloth easier to work with. Additionally, it holds the shape while sewing.

Do not forget to iron the stabilizer to the smocked insert’s back. After you complete this, it’s time to decide how much of the smocked insert you would like to use in the shirt.

Step 3: Drawing A Box

As a newbie, drawing a box using your fabric pen can be a helpful move. By using the pen, you can mark the area where you want to attach the cording.

Keep your patience level high as it will take time as a first-timer. Now’s the time when you would require making the cording to go around the insert!

Step 4: Measuring the Smocked Insert’s Length And Width

In this step, you must consider marking the measurement of two lengths and two widths of the smocked insert. After taking the measurement, add them together. And this will give you the required length of the cording.

Of course, the measurement may vary, and it depends on the smocked design’s size! Suppose you have 18 inches in length! So, it’s not necessary that another sewer will have the same length!

Step 5: Sew The Cording

After determining the length, you are required to sew the cording. For this reason, you have to use the zipper foot. What you need to do is, fold your fabric around the cording. Upon then, sew close to that cord in such a way that it creates a casing around.

You must continue sewing till you get the long cording that goes around the insert. After this, it’s time to trim that cording case to around ? inch from the stitching. Also, don’t forget to clip the cording such that it bends at all corners very easily.

Step 6: Attaching The Cording To Your Smocked Insert

After you finish sewing the cording, now’s the time to begin attaching that cording right to your smocked insert. Start by using the upper right corner. If you want, you can start from any corner because this is something that depends on your personal preference.

You must continue stitching! And until you reach the corner, leave the needle and lift the presser foot. Now, turn the cording and fabric. After this, you need to put the pressure foot down and then continue stitching.

One Quick Note:

Remember to repeat it at every corner until you complete sewing the cording alongside the insert’s edges. Also, you need to trim the excess fabric off of your smocked insert. Always remember that the results must look neat and clean.

Step 7: Taking Measurement of The Shirt

So, it’s time to take the measurement of the shirt. For this reason, you will have to measure the smocked insert design right from the corner of that cording. Now, you need to take the measurement for drawing the box cut-out on the t-shirt.

Now is the time to draw the box on the shirt. Remember that this size should be the size of the cording’s box. You need to mark the corners in accordance with your measurements.

After drawing the box, all you need to do is to connect the corner. Then, create the “X” right in the box’s middle.

Step 8: Cutting An X Right In The Center

As described, you need to cut the X right in the center of the box. You have to cut along it in the center. Be careful and avoid cutting any outer edge of that box. Fold along the outer lines of the box in order to make the square opening & iron for creating the fold.

Step 9: Pinning The Shirt To The Smocked Insert

After folding, it’s time to pin the shirt to the smocked insert. To do so, you need to experiment with what works the best for you. For better use, you can first pin it and then fold it. Honestly speaking, it’s the easiest process!

Right upon pinning, you have to start sewing from the top stitch with the zipper foot at any corner. Here, ensure that you catch the shirt as you stitch to prevent it from fraying.

Step 10: Sewing Around The Insert

This way, you should continue sewing around the insert. And while you finally reach the corner, leave the needle in a down position. After doing so, lift the presser foot & turn the shirt insert.

Now is the time to topstitch around that insert. When you complete it, ensure that it’s neat and clean. And that’s it! Now, you can try using the insert with the smocking project.

What Is Smocking And What Standard Hand-Smocking Stitches Are There?

Smocking is the work done before the garment gets assembled. As a matter of fact, it involves reducing the dimensions of the piece of fabric to 1/3rd of the original width, though changes can sometimes be lesser with thick materials.

Individual smocking stitches vary in tightness. Thus, embroiderers work a sampler for their practice and reference while learning the techniques of smocking. Smocking includes several sophisticated patterns. So, the following are the standard hand-smocking stitches:

  • Cable stitch
  • Stem stitch
  • Outline stitch
  • Cable flowerette
  • Wave stitch
  • Honeycomb stitch
  • Surface honeycomb stitch
  • Trellis stitch
  • Vandyke stitch
  • Bullion stitch

When Was Smocking Introduced In The Sewing Industry?

Smocking can involve any material, from linen, cotton, velvet, to lace, denim, and more. And you can find historical evidence of all the materials if you take them into account. That brings the discussion of the history of smocking. So, when was smocking first introduced in the sewing industry?

The term has got derived from smock (the work shirt of a farmer). Smocking got introduced in England and has been practiced ever since the Middle Ages. Today, it’s been practiced by seasoned sewing professionals. In the bygone days, smocking was practical for clothes that are flexible and well-fitted.



I'm Jessica Flores, a professional fashion designer and an expert seamstress. Crafting has always been a deep-seated passion of mine, one that has flourished and evolved over the years. I've dedicated considerable time to both studying and practicing in the realm of fashion and sewing, amassing a wealth of experience and skills. It brings me great joy to share these insights and experiences with you all, hoping to inspire and foster a similar passion for the art of sewing.

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