Making an Artists/Fishermans Smock

Since I put my original post out in blogland with the pattern to make this smock I have probably had more blog hits with this search than any other. Several people have asked for more detail as to how to actually make the smock so with apologies to those who don’t need this I will go ahead. This post is of necessity picture heavy – if you aren’t interested in how to make a smock I will have something else to show soon (but it has been such a success that it needs to be laundered before I can get a photograph!).

So, assuming you have cut out your pieces (remembering to add seam allowances to my pattern) we will make a start. Don’t forget to press as you go.

I prepare the pockets first by neatening the sides (overlocker in my case), and turning 1cm then 3cm the opposite way so it is RS  together to get a clean finish on the top edge. The little piece of fabric shows this. Seam the top edge, press and turn through like the right hand pocket in the photograph. Stitch the turning to secure if you want (like the left pocket).

Pocket Detail

Pocket Detail

Stitch the pockets into place on the front piece, like below.

Pocket sewn onto front.

Pocket sewn onto front.

Next sew your shoulder seams BUT stop the seam width away from the neck edge. Sew the collar piece into a loop. Press seams open. Neaten the shoulder seams if you wish, and now would be a good time to neaten any other edges that need it.

Sewn shoulders and collar loop

Sewn shoulders and collar loop

I place the collar seam at the centre back point and pin the collar to secure whilst I see it in place. By keeping the body sides on top you can spread the shoulder like it is shown in the photograph below and sew the collar seam so that you miss the join by a hairs breadth. This ensures you won’t get a hole.

Collar/shoulder join

Collar/shoulder join

By working the collar seam in this way you will get a nice smooth finish at the join. If you had sewn the whole seam you always end up with tucks at this point.

Smooth join at shoulder

Smooth join at shoulder

Turn under 1cm to neaten the collar edge, then fold the collar in half and catch it in place just in the ditch from the right side. If you edge stitch this just inside the collar it should all be secured in place. Feel free to tack this in place if it will enable you to continue with confidence.

Turn and pin collar

Turn and pin collar

While it isn’t essential I like to stitch around the top edge as I think it gives a neater finish.

Finished collar detail

Finished collar detail

Grab the sleeves and pin them into place. Again you must start and finish your seam the seam width away from the sleeve edge. Now, the gusset. This seems to be the part that upsets many people but stay strong. Don’t think of this as something that needs to be sewn all at once, it can be broken down into four parts.

I suggest that you buy yourself a Frixion pen and use it to mark the seams into the corners of your gusset. Use a pin as a guide to pin close to the sleeve/body seam and pin the gusset to the sleeve. Again you need to stop your seam at the corner point marked. Once you are happy you have the gusset correctly attached to the sleeve turn the garment through 90* so that you are able to use the pin again to locate the matching point on the body. You might find it easier to sew from the garment side so you can see where the other stitching starts.

The dreaded gusset

The dreaded gusset

This is what it looks like from the right side at this point….

Sewn to sleeve and body

Sewn to sleeve and body

…. and from the wrong side. Now fold the sleeve right sides together and you will see where the third seam must be sewn. Use the techniques you learned on the first two sides to complete all four sides of the gusset.

Gusset - wrong side view

Gusset – wrong side view

Once you are satisfied that the four sides have been sewn accurately you can sew the sleeve and body seams. I tend to sew towards the gusset which enables you to see exactly where the seam needs to join the gusset, make sure you don’t catch the gusset edge in the seam.

Sewing sleeves and body

Sewing sleeves and body

Once sewn you can see how the gusset makes a triangle shape in the underarm which allows free movement.

Finished - wrong side view

Finished – wrong side view

Gusset - right side

Gusset – right side

All that needs to be done now is to hem the sleeves and the bottom of the body. I clean finished the sleeves (in the same way as the pocket top)  but just turned the overlocked bottom edge as the pockets would have made this very thick if turned twice. Press it all tidy, allow to cool and set up your easel!

Finished smock

Finished smock

I made this smock from cotton twill (the first couple of photos give the best representation of the royal blue colour) basically to show the techniques here. If anyone is interested in buying it from me for £40 + postage please let me know.

I would also be able to create a ‘kit’ containing the pattern and sufficient baby cord shown in my original post in either chocolate brown or a beige colour which would cost £15 + postage. When I work out how it is done I can offer PayPal details.

I hope this answers any questions that people have asked but if you have one I have missed please point it out to me!

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16 Comments on “Making an Artists/Fishermans Smock”

  1. Fabulous tutorial! Some of us “fraidy-cats” might be inspired to make this smock with the dreaded gussets! Love the brown baby cord, have a dress in mind that would be a perfect candidate.

  2. Mike Eaton says:

    Many thanks, even I can’t make a mess of this. . . . . . . . . there again it is me – all fingers and thumbs in the wrong places! Whoops! Watch this space, maybe one day soon. . . . . . . .

  3. Fareeha says:

    Amazing tutorial. You make it look so simple to do

  4. Harry MacLean says:

    Are you still doing the kits for the smock. I am a Large. Size 40-42 male.

  5. Hi I love the images of the smocks you have made. have been hunting a pattern for making a fishermans smock for ages and drawing a blank. ( I have totally given up finding actual garments in my size and in a fabric I like so I thought I’d have a go at making one). I am now struggling to find patterns in plus sizes though. Could I buy a pattern from you that would fit a size 24 woman? Thank you SO much. X Henrie.

    • Kim says:

      The pattern is on the blog and is fairly roomy. I would think using a bit of maths to enlarge you could grade it up – it’s a very simple shape. Good luck 😃.


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