DIY: How To Diamond Smock Your T-Shirt

Post image for DIY: How To Diamond Smock Your T-Shirt

UPDATE: This previously ran on October the 30th but as we know everyone likes to update their basic tee every once in a while we wanted to bring it back.

Smocking has always been a craft that has intrigued me, I love how it creates more depth and volume in flat fabrics and the pattern is so pretty when finished. This decorative technique developed in England and was extensively used in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in work wear. It has developed over the years and now is incorporated into modern designs. This weekend I wanted to add interest to a plain white shirt I had, so I grabbed a needle and thread and smocked the waist. Here’s how I did it:

What you need:

A white t-shirt that is slightly oversized


A needle


A ruler with 1cm dimensions

A fabric pencil


Step one: Turn your t-shirt inside out and mark with the fabric pencil rows of 1cm squares, you can have as many rows as you like, I chose four.

Step two: Draw a line going through every other square diagonally from top left to bottom right and then on the next row make sure you go in the other direction from top right to bottom.

Step three: With your needle and thread, sew the corners of each marked square together, depending on the direction. then do a tight knot.

Step four: Keep doing this on every row, making sure you’re going in the direction of the line through the middle.

Step five: When all the rows are complete, turn your t-shirt right side out and see the pretty diamond pattern that has been created.

It’s a great way to give a little bit of a waist to a plain t-shirt, so if you are a little bored of your basic tops, try this, it’s easy and satisfying.

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Somchiyah -October 30, 2012, 10:44AM

I love it! absolutely creative!!!!!!! I am def doing this!!!!

Kelly -October 30, 2012, 10:44AM

This looks amazing! Also a bit difficult but I will definitely save this for when I get bored. Thanks!

Mackenzie -October 30, 2012, 10:49AM

Such a cute idea thanks for sharing :)

diyearte by L & S -October 30, 2012, 12:04PM

woooow great idea!!!!

DIY and more:

kay9311 -October 30, 2012, 12:18PM

Wait, do you leave the back unsmocked? silly question yes

Zaggora Girl -October 30, 2012, 3:48PM

This is simply AWESOME!

Julie -October 30, 2012, 3:55PM

Amazing, really effective on a plain t shirt!

Mandapanda -October 30, 2012, 5:23PM

Ok I know this is a stupid question, but do you leave the back plain?

Rachel -October 30, 2012, 5:46PM

Such a wonderful idea! Questions though: Steps 3 and 4 are a bit confusing. How do you start the sewing (which row do you start on) and do you go in the same directional line as the ones drawn in each box? I’m starting to think that a video tutorial would be good for this DIY.

Stella -October 31, 2012, 7:11AM

Wow!!! You are just fantastic. You made a simple dress beautiful with your creativity.

FP Jemma -October 31, 2012, 8:56AM

Hi Kay9311, yes I left the back un-smocked so it just looks fitted at the front

FP Jemma -October 31, 2012, 9:09AM

Hi Manda, yes I left the back plain but if you want it more fitted you can also smock the back

FP Jemma -October 31, 2012, 9:11AM

Hi Rachel, I started the sewing on the top line, this makes it easier, and yes you sew in the same direction as the line you draw in the box. Hope this helps

mandapanda -October 31, 2012, 11:01AM

Do you cut the string after every knot?

fp jemma -October 31, 2012, 11:37AM

Hi Manda, yes you do :)

Jaqueline -November 1, 2012, 4:02PM

The sewing must be done by rows?: acording to the drawed lines, go over every squared on the same row an then start to sewing the row under the one you have finished?

kay9311 -November 3, 2012, 12:39PM

I did this to two shirts, and I have decided it looks better on woven fabric. The shirts I used were knits, but the shirt in the tutorial is a woven. Knits don’t have enough body for this in my opinion

Cristina -November 7, 2012, 6:43AM

Oh!! It’s a very beautiful solution for simpli Shirts!! I think I’ll do that in twice of my shirts!

Why you don’t pass to my blog???

Have a nice day,

ABI -November 12, 2012, 11:06AM

This is a very original way to create a new top! :D

Heidi -November 26, 2012, 11:21AM

This is a wonderful idea. I love the smocked look. Thank you for posting.


fitri -December 10, 2012, 3:01AM

and wonderfulllll

Gédane -February 15, 2013, 1:53AM

it’s not cool! take the idea and the picture without mentioning the name of my blog

Fenwyn -June 24, 2013, 7:08AM

I did it, turned out pretty awesome but works only with elastic fabrics.

Not -July 11, 2013, 2:36PM

Do you stitch a straight stitch at the bottom?

Danielle -September 13, 2013, 12:55PM

This is so cool! Definitely doing this!

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Meaghan -May 2, 2014, 8:31PM

It looks like the close-up picture (with the needle going through the fabric in the center row) is taken from a different project. The lines crossing through the middle of the squares is different. In the close-up, they’re just dashes, but they’re very precise in the other pictures. It just seems strange to me…

kellbell -May 18, 2014, 1:04PM

So we cut the string and tie a knot on each square with a line or do we sew through an entire row and then cut the string?

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