16th century English women's smock


 The cut and pattern of embroidery of this smock is based on the original smock (1560-80, Victoria and Albert Museum, London) but has differences with some stitches I used. The smock is made of white linen and has a high neck and collar, long sleeves with cuffs, and side gores. The collar and cuffs are decorated with hand embroidery with red silk. Absolutely all stitches are hand sewn with linen thread and red silk thread. The edges of the sleeves and gussets are turned and whipped over the edge then linked by interlaced stitches. 


Front/back making

1. Cut out the main body of smock in white linen, adding 15 mm seam allowances all the way around. The front neck is split open and the edges rolled into 3 mm hems, and embroidered over the edge with red silk. 


2. The gores of original smock have the selvedges forming the side seam of the gored side panels. They are owersewn together with tiny stitches. In my case the front gored side panel and the back gored side panel are sewn together with a fell seam. 



3. Use the same seam for joining the gores to main body of smock.

4. Hem bottom of body 




5. The edges of armholes are turned and whipped over the edge with red silk.




Collar making


1. Cut the neck ruffle and two separate layers of the neck band in white linen

2. Finish one long side and both ends of the neck ruffle with a narrow hem.



3. Embroider the neckband on both sides, double layer of material. 




4. Gather the neck ruffle to collar measurement. Pin gathered edge between both collar bands, and sew into place with backstitch. Leave short edges with pins.




Collar and neck joining


1. Sew neck gussets into body and then embroider the seams in red silk. 




2. Gather neckline to fit collar with running stitches.

3. Pin gathered edge between both collar bands and felled with linen thread.




4. Embroider the ends of the collar bands over the edge with red silk (like the split of the front neck).

5. Embroider the bottom of the neckband with backstitches.




Sleeves making

1. Cut two sleeves and two gussets. 

2.  The long sides and the top of the sleeves are turned and whipped with red silk. 

3. All edges of the underarm gussets are turned and whipped with red silk.



4. Join long sides of sleeves with openwork insertion seams - from the mark of the gusset to the mark of the wrist. 

5. Make and embroider the cuffs like the collar. 

6.  Sew on cuffs as for collar



7. Join underarm gussets into sleeves with openwork insertion seams 

8. Join sleeves to the body with openwork insertion seams 



1. Janet Arnold. Pattern of Fashion 4. The cut and construction of linen shirts, smocks, neckwear, headwear and accessories for men and women c. 1540 - 1660. 2008.

2. http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O110103/smock-unknown/

Making - Natalya Skornyakova.

Photographer - Irina Nikitina.


You can order this smock in our Etsy shop.