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.


  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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?

  4. 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

  5. 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,

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  7. 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…

  8. 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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  15. I am realy stuggling with the stiching part. Please can you do a quick video on it? It would help a lot, thanks

  16. I would love to do this but really can’t follow the instructions about how to do the stitching at all – I just can’t see what to do – can anyone clarify?

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