How to Use Elastic Thread to Make Smocked Fabric
Smocked fabric by the yard is very popular… It is so easy to purchase it, make a seam, and voila – a cute little dress or top. The downside is that these fabrics are expensive and sometimes the selection isn’t that great but it really isn’t that hard to create your own!
The style of the tops can be very versatile, too! Babydoll or form-fitting with sleeves, straps or just a tube… So simple! A piece of fabric can be smocked and inserted into another top at the neckline, or sides, or where ever!
Today, I’ll share my method of creating gathers with the elastic thread…
- Elastic Thread
- Cotton Thread to match the fabric
- 1 yd of Cotton Fabric
- Sewing Machine
- Several Empty Bobbins for the machine
Let’s get started!
Start by prewashing and drying the fabric to remove any sizing and to shrink the fabric.
Square up the cut edges by using scissors or a rotary cutter, or by tearing a small strip off the edge. Determine the top edge of the fabric and make a small hem.
Hand wind the elastic thread around the bobbin without stretching it. It is helpful to have several bobbins with the elastic thread before beginning to sew. Because of the thickness of the elastic, the bobbins tend to run out very quickly!
Load the bobbin into the machine as usual and thread the machine with the thread chosen to match or contrast with the fabric…
Determine the width of the gathers – in other words, if you want them to stop at your waist, hold the fabric up to your body and place a pin where the gathers will stop. Start sewing a straight line. Do not pull the fabric or force the fabric to feed. Let the feed dogs do the work. The elastic thread will stretch and create the gathers.
If the bobbin runs out, carefully pull the thread and elastic to the wrong side. Start a new row and continue to sew. When the rows are completed, pull all of the thread and elastic tails to the wrong side.
They can be tied together and sealed with a little bit of Fray Check to keep it from unravelling, them trimmed away.
Sew multiple rows by stitching to the end of the fabric, turn the fabric and make a few stitches, turn the fabric again and using the foot as a guide, stitch the next row. Continue stitching the rows until the stopping point (pin mark) is reached.
Sew a seam along the selvedge edges …
and hem the bottom of the fabric.
Add straps or cute flutter sleeves and there you have it – a cute, easy, inexpensive top!
Until next time,