Learn how to use the Canadian smocking technique to create a beautiful woven effect for pillows and other sewing projects.
Begin with a piece of fabric 50-60% larger than the desired finished piece. There are many varieties of Canadian smocking textures. Some patterns don’t shrink symmetrically; check to be sure you begin with a large enough fabric piece.
Draw a 1” square grid on the fabric wrong side. Ashley discusses how to draw your own Canadian smocking pattern using varying widths to create different looks. The larger the grid, the larger the texture. A stiffer fabric can sustain a wider grid of up to 1 ½” square.
Thread a hand sewing needle with thread that matches the fabric. Tie the thread ends together. Leave the first 1” around the perimeter of the piece unstitched, to allow for a seam allowance once the fabric is smocked. Ashley demonstrates how to mark lines in alternating squares to denote which corners of each square to stitch together.
Take a small stitch, only two to three threads of the fabric, at one marked corner; knot the thread. Take another small stitch at the marked diagonal corner. Pull the corners together and take another small stitch through both corners together; double-knot the stitch. Ashley discusses the time-saving benefits of not clipping the threads between each stitch, but simply leaving enough thread slack between each stitch. Continue stitching the marked corners of each marked square together, knotting each stitch.
Stitch left to right or top to bottom to avoid confusion. The more fabric that gets smocked, the easier it is to accidentally miss a square that should be stitched.
Get the pattern to make smocked pillows in four different styles. For more textured fabric embellishments, learn how to create pintucks.