Blackwork Embroidery on a Smock

She gave me 3yds and 12" of 59"(turns out it's only 54") wide 100% lightweight linen for the Smock. I have an embroidery pattern picked out.

Linen washed and put in dryer HOT, then ironed and I think my iron died while using it on this linen...sigh    No, it's OK!     The linen was cut 8" x 54", Marked out the dimensions needed for the collar and the 2 cuffs.

I traced the pattern onto the linen using a clear acrylic board and a micron 005 pen.  The micron ink is very permanent.




5-10-12   Started work on the blackwork.  2 threads of DMC cotton thread on 100% linen with a pattern of period elements.  circa 1570 - 1590  Using a tapestry needle #26. This linen is very fine weight so I don't need to pierce the fabric with a sharp needle.  I think I'll try a #28 as well.

I don't know what thread I'm using, it's not DMC.  It's very fine and will break on a dime, but I love the results so the Pea's will be done in DMC 2 threads and the Lilly will be mystery thread.  This will give a dimension to the work.  So I'll do all the pea's first. Well I found out that the mystery thread was Flosch!  It's meant to be used as a single piece and I was trying to pull it apart (no wonder it was breaking)  Flosch is not twisted which is why I was able to pull threads from it.  Now a lot of folk don't like it because of that feature, but that is what makes it perfect for Elizabethan Embroidery.  They used flat silks also know as filiment silks with hardly any twist.  I used backstitch on the lilly with this thread and I like it.

That done the plain band needs something.  So using #12 DMC cotton perle and 28 needle I made chain stitch on the top and bottom of the cuffs.  I put 2 bands on the collar then realized it might be too high for my small neck.  I may just turn over the collar at the 1st line and that will give me a line on the inside of the collar which may look pretty cool.

Even thought I measured out and used a hoop, this fabric is so delicate that it stretched so it's not perfectly straight.

They were kinda plain all by themselves The line of chain stitch sets them off so much better
Here is the whole strip of embroidery This is the collar embroidery                              5-27-12
Now on to making the rest of the Smock! The fabric is not as wide as I had thought.  It's not from, which is OK, but my thinking was that all linen fabrics are the same width....teaches me not to assume anything.
Got all the pieces cut out today.  I only have an odd piece left:  14.75" x 54"    They will hang for 24 hours                                                                5-30-12 cut out the ruffle pieces, making them 1.5" wide X 21", folded in half and attached to the cuff piece.
Order of Assembly

The gores are in 2 pieces, so that I can sew straight up at the end.  It is important to Remember to finish the Seam Allowances as the seams are sewn.  They will lie beautifully on top of each other then.

*Sewed the other sides to either side of the body using french seams

*Sew shoulder seams w/ neck gusset

*Sew sleeve to body while you can lay it out flat

*Assemble the sleeve cuff, ruffle etc

*Sew gusset at underarm to sleeve

*Sew underarm seam

*Cut collar neckline by making oval 1.5 - 2" drop in front

*Sew collar to body with inner facing free and to the inside

*Sew final side seams


*work fastenings at collar and cuffs


Got the sleeves sewn to the body.   Made string ties for the Collar of black & white threads

It was hard that I'd embroidered 3" too much on the cuffs and had to cut it off.

Very very frustrating

I have made lots of smocks, but for some odd reason, I'm having an issue with this one.  I've checked a lot of my notes but I don't remember how I did the's like I'm starting from scratch.

Broke a needle#70 and I'm replacing it with #70 which is what I have. It's a smaller needle size and may do better on this lightweight linen.

Plus the cable connection to my camera has died and my computer cannot read the memory card  (sigh)  progress photos will have to wait

Again I have to wait, I had to wet the cuffs to get the blue marker off.  I have found in the past if you don't do this and the mark is sewn inside, it does not wash out and you can see it thru the linen!  I cannot finish the ruff until it dries, sometime this afternoon.  (sign again)

After the cuffs dried sewed the ruffle to the cuffs and the inner facing.  Had to do it 3 times on one cuff.  Still they are not perfect, but I'm moving on.


Finally...the cuffs are mainly done, just the underarm seam to do.

Next the Collar though.  Broke another needle sewing the collar on!  Collar is on.  Now just the main seams up the side and the underarm seams.  Sewed the underseams of the sleeves and hand finished the SA while watching the last season of Law & Order: Criminal Intent.  At least they closed on a hopeful note, that Goren was not crazy and had a chance at personal happiness.  6/4/12

This morning I finished the handsewing on the collar.  Next I sewed one side of the gusset to the long side seam and finished the SA by hand, then the second side to close up the sides.  Again all finished by hand.                                    

So close to finishing, must remember not to rush!

All internal SA are done.  Just the neckline which I'm going to make deeper 5" is not enough and the hem!  Trimed up the hem and made the neck front go to 10" and did a rolled hem along the edges.

I need only to decide how the close the cuffs and get them done.


Closing a Cuff I've made a decision:  hook & eye .. Done   6-5-12
Things I've learned from this Smock

Know the measure exactly of the finished size so that the embroidery does not have to be cut out!

Do not sew to the very end to the very end of a multi point gusset, wait till they all come together to finish.

It is possible to make the neck gussets too wide.

I don't like the gathered look on me.

How to do a small rolled hem that looks good!

collar set in with handmade ties Collar open showing the blackwork inside
completed smock
  Done.  I used the rolled hem stitch
Not much left to finish.

This is an A & S competition Needlework Winner.

June 16, 2012 A & S event.




updated 6-5-12


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