Top 5 Tutorials of 2012 – #5

Happy New Year!

For the first 5 days of 2013, I thought it would be fun to rest on my laurels (ha!)   take a vacation (double ha! I am sewing up a storm!) make sure you got a chance to see the most popular tutorials I did last year. Yes, they’ve each spent quite a bit of time floating around in my Popular Posts widget and been pinned lots of times, but you might be a new subscriber, or you might not have been on Pinterest yet (and if you’re not, may I politely ask what’s wrong with you?) (But please, feel free to pin and share). So from now through January 5, I will be presenting the

And for most of these I will at least be adding a new picture or something so this isn’t just a complete re-run snoozefest.

And first up is #5…

The smocked Fields of Gold Dress I did for Earth week in Project Run and Play.

Thoughts on the project now: Nine months later, and this is still my favorite of the PR&P looks I did. And it was the one I didn’t have planned from the beginning (my original ideas for this challenge are here and here). And it caused me to fall in love with mustard and turquoise (as evidenced here, here and here). So I can definitely say that it is not only one of your top 5 for the year, it is also one of mine.

This smocking pattern doesn’t involve any special skill, just hand sewing and lots of time and patience. And I didn’t invent it, in fact there are other tutorials on the internet that you can find.

I started with a size XL men’s t-shirt. First, you mark out a grid of dots, these are where you will place your stitches. I just used washable Crayola marker for this.

2. Next, thread your needle. You will take a stitch at each of 4 dots in the order numbered in the picture. When you take the stitch, go from the outside of the dot at an angle toward the center of the square, like you were going to make part of an X with your needle. Then take a fifth stitch in the same place as the first stitch.

3. Pull the thread. You can see the flower shape starting to form. I found it useful to use a knitting needle to smooth out the folds and make sure this was really like a 4 petal flower.

4. Pinch the petals together like so and take another stitch across the middle

5. Now string a bead, and stitch across the middle and down through the back (direction indicated by arrow). Turn the fabric over and knot the thread on the back.

6. Cut the thread and repeat many, many times.

I also found it useful to use my knitting needle to smooth out the petals between flowers as I went. Sometimes when you pull the thread the petal gets stuck on the wrong side, so I would use the knitting needle to poke the fold up on the right side.

If you’re doing this on a garment, I suggest you not cut the pattern out until AFTER you’ve smocked – as you can see from my grid, this shrunk an XL shirt down to fit a size 6 girl. You lose about 1/2″ of both length and width for every one of these flowers you make, so allow a lot more width and length than normal when buying your fabric and planning your design.





Come back tomorrow to see what #4 was!

Hooray - you read the whole post! Wanna hang out more? Check out the best sewing pins with me on Pinterest, join our Facebook discussions, get your daily sewing fix and behind the scenes scoops on Instagram, and your weekly updates/free pattern access through the newsletter


  1. says

    This is so beautiful. Looks like a lot of work, but I think it may be a long cold winter. Mama may do some selfish sewing.
    Thank you for reposting this tutorial. Looking forward to the others.

  2. sorbetsurprise says

    This is fab, did it take the whole XL t-shirt to shrink it down or did you cut some off the sides. I was wondering how big a shirt you would need for an adult.

Share Your Thoughts:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *