Rosalind Atkins - Smocking and Dorset Buttons  Smoking

Traditional English Smocking - History

  • used since the late 18th century for the production of practical, working garments in rural areas of Britain.

  • developed as a functional method of holding fullness whilst allowing some elasticity for ease of movement.

  • adds thickness to the garment, making it hard wearing and weather resistant.

  • latterly used for classic infants and young children's clothing. 

English Smocking

  • decorative technique of surface embroidery where stitches are worked in rows on a pre-pleated fabric, each stitch picking up just the top of every pleat.

  • each stitch is essentially a back stitch, making the work strong and resilient.

  • skilled procedure requiring precision and patience.

  • gives rich textural quality.

  • can be worked in one colour, as traditional for smocks, or patterns can be built up using many colours and stitches.

Traditional Smocks

  • I have over 30 years experience of smocking.

  • I make traditional smocks to order, often basing my designs on existing garments.

  • there are three main styles of smock: the round smock which is completely reversible, it was turned around if one side got soiled; the coat style, with a fully buttoned front opening and the hybrid, placket front with a short buttoned opening. For examples please see images in my portfolio.

  • all smocks are hand embroidered with Dorset feather stitch panels beside the smocking and finished with hand worked Dorset buttons.

Contemporary Smocking

  • I make special occasion garments for children using luxurious Dupion silk, the rich colours of the silk are intensified by the smocked work.

  • Orders may be taken for christening outfits and bridesmaids dresses.  Items available on-line at my shop on Folksy.

  • sell a range of items featuring smocking from hair clips to covered photograph albums and sketchbooks and rag dolls, see below for examples.

Kits and Workshops

  • Kits available for a postcard sampler and a baby's bib to have a go yourself.

  • I have been teaching for about 20 years and throughout the year I offer workshops, either as a visiting tutor for embroidery groups or bookable for individuals at the Dorset Centre for the Creative Arts in Poundbury, Dorchester.  All materials required and full tuition provided. Please check events for forthcoming workshops.

  • Beginners workshop - Postcard Sampler. 

  • Follow on advanced workshop - Smocked Slip Cover for a Book.