Machine Picture Smocking                      
Instructions      for   Smocking Designs

...Always tear your fabric and not cut it. That way you get it straight
and not diagional.  If your fabric will not tear good it will not pleat good.
I tear a piece of fabric 7" x the width of the fabric (45)?, some is wider,
and pleat 16 rows. That way you have room to adjust your design
according to what condition the pleats are in after you fan
them....never short yourself!.. The pleated rows are 1/2" apart on my
pleater so if my design says it is 3 1/2 inches tall that will be 7 pleated
rows ...leave yourself 1/2 inch on each side and 1" on top and bottom
for insertion.  

Step # 1
We begin by taking the pleated insert and separating the pleats.
I use a  placemat that has a good stiff stabilizer inside.
Use masking tape to tape off  a 10" square as a guide for
fanning the pleats. (
The camera made these pleats look
gathered and distorted, but they have been fanned properly
and straightened

Step #2    Leave 1/2 for sewing on each side of the panel. Pin down
the corners on the right side and pull out the panel to a length of 10 ",
(including the 1/2 inch flat on each side).  Make sure the panel is
vertically and horizontally straight.
After expanding the panel 10 inches, secure the top and bottom left
corners with a pin. You will need to pin the panel on right and left
corners to make sure it stays straight.   

Note: see the green threads in the panel? This is why you use the
color thread that matches your pleated panel. The machine will stitch
over this thread and it will be impossible to get it all out. If you use a
matching color, what does not come out  will not be seen. If My thread
does not serve the purpose of securing my pleats then remove what I

Step # 3      Take the thread tails and tie in a knot and secure it taut
from the panel with a pin to help keep it straight.    Smocking panels
that you will get from me  or ones that you pleat need to be pleated in
white thread because the  machine stitches over the thread  and you
will have a tough time removing it.   I do  remove my pleating threads
as each row sews , and all others if they are not needed to secure the
pleats. Leave in the thread on the top and bottom of the borders.

Step # 4      After the panel is extended you can use a hair pick or
your fingernails to comb the pleats straight and separate them. The
pleats move easily and smoothly and you will find the slightest
unplanned move will move them. Check your thread often to make
sure it is taut. We do not want ruffles in the insert                       

Step # 5  
Take your hoop grid and make sure your lines are straight.
It is very important that your horizontal and vertical line is perfectly
straight or you will get a lopsided finished design.  Now cut and press
on your stabilizer.   Press very lightly, the paper adheres easily.
Use your grid to find the top ,side and bottom centers and mark them.
Match these markings with the notches in your hoop to center the
insert. You will be surprised to see you do not need a tight hooping.
The insert will stay in place and will not move. The stitching is very light
and not compact.  

Step# 6  Match your pencil lines to your notches in your grid.    

Now about the stabilizer.  You want to use a stabilizer that can
completely removed from the finished panel. You want your finished
panel to be flexible and comfortable to the wearer, any stabilizer that
you leave in place makes for a stiff panel.
I use a light press and hoop tear away paper. Sulky makes a good Iron
On Tear Away Paper called Totally Stable   It is perfect for smocking
and it tears away very easy with no stress to the stitches. You just
wantwhatever you use to dissolve or tear away very easily. You will
want to use a clear light WSS ( Water Soluble Stabilizer) on the top to
keep your machine foot from dragging and moving your pleats. After
hooping , place a piece on top of the pleats and pin down at the four

When placing your design in the machine make sure you rotate it so
that the top of the design points to your left. When placing the design
in my machine it top always shows pointing to the right. This will make
everything sew backwards, so i have to rotate it.

This is what your stitches should look like.  If your stitches are catching
more than 2 pleats then you have your pleats to close together. If you
are stitching NO pleats then you are spread to thin. About a 10"
spread should give you the right density.  
Remove your pleating threads as your design sews.
Remember the background step stitches should always be done in
the thread color of your pleated fabric.

Tear off your stabilizer and ......
There you have your finished smocked insert!  Enjoy!
Copyright 2005 Elizabeth's Embroideries
These smocking instructions are Copyright by Elizabeth's Embroideries 2005 Any copying or re-publication of these
instructions without expressed written permission from Elizabeth's Embroideries are in violation of the US Copyright Law.
Violations will be dealt with in the full extent of the law.
                                                      NOTICE! CLASSROOM  INSTRUCTORS ..and Students
Smocking Designs, smocking Freebies and other instructional material CANNOT be used in classroom instruction WITHOUT my
prior permission. Instructional material cannot be used in conjunction with work of other digitizers as a aid in instruction.   Please
call or email for permission   Thank you   
On to designs now that you know how this is done
Important Free Design Notice:  Trial smocking designs are given to you for your private use only and to be used  to
learn how to sew out my designs only. They are not given in order that you may, as a digitizer learn my methods of
smocked digitizing or my methods of instruction. My digitized techniques and instructions are copyrighted and if I find
these designs and instructions have been used for a purpose other than intended when sent to you, copycat violates will
be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law!These smocking instructions are Copyright by Elizabeth's Embroideries
2005 Any copying or re-publication of these instructions without expressed written permission from Elizabeth's
Embroideries are in violation of the US Copyright Law. Violations will be dealt with in the full extent of the law.
This photo was graciously submitted for
your review by Kathleen Bradford.

This photo shows how you use the
machine smocking designs on a full
skirt / bodice by pleating the bodice and
skirt together.  This is the best method
for dresses and the panel method best
for little boys rompers.