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Method of making Square cushions with Canadian smocking

Canadian smocking is not as complicated as it appears. Precession is very important.
Satin which is not too shiny is suitable for this. It can be done on any thick
material. If it is done on thin materials embossed effect will not stay long.
Follow the following steps and do the cushions of your choice.
Measure the size of the cushion.
Decide the size of the squares in the graph.
Select the design
Calculate the material needed.
Press the material so that there no wrinkles
Check whether the adjacent sides are perpendicular to one another .If they
are not correct them.
Fix the cloth on a table with sticky tapes all around so that wrong side is on
the top. Draw graph of squares of your choice. Do not forget to leave borders
all around.
I bought 45 cm long and 4 cm wide plastic scales and got them cut along the
length into 2 cm, 3 cm wide pieces .I feel 2 cm x 2 cm graph gives good
Zigzag the edges or else the thread coming out of the edges hinders our
Smock the design column by column
There will be pleats all around the design. Arrange the pleats in an order
according to the design. Check the size of the smocked piece tack the pleats
in place. This takes little time. Later on these stitches can be removed. The
lines in the graph help us while making pleats. I prefer giving lining to the
smocked material. This is front side of the cushion cover. Using matching
cloth for the back stitch the cushion cover.
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Canadian Smocking Tutorial With Graphs

In Canadian smocking folds are created by pulled stitches alternated by slack
stitches at equal intervals using a grid of dots as guide line. Usually it is
worked on the reverse of the fabric except for The flower design. When
fabric is gathered from the back side beautiful pattern is formed in the front
.This type of smocking is not as elastic as English smocking. Beautiful
cushions and bags can be prepared with this type of smocking. Canadian
smoking is also called North American smocking and Lattice smocking. This
type of smocking is very quick and easy to do . The neatness of the work
depends upon the grid of dots that is marked on the fabric. I prefer to draw
square graph of required dimension. It is easy to draw squares of required
width by using ruler of the same width. That is if you want to draw squares
of 2 use a scale of 2 wide.

Preparation of the fabric

Step 1

Iron and remove wrinkles if there are any.
A margin of required width is left by drawing margin lines on all the four
sides of the fabric using a tailor's chalk.Now we have to mark squares of
required width.

Step 2

Use a scale of required width and draw parallel lines to the margin of one

Step 3

In the same manner draw perpendicular lines
Thus the fabric is divided in to squares of required width.I prefer to produce
the lines beyond the margin lines as it helps while finishing the work.
Now the fabric is ready to smock.

In Canadian smocking folds can be created in three ways
1. By joining two points
2. By joining three points and
3. by joining 4 points.
Further variations can be made under each method by changing size of the
square, by leaving gaps between rows or columns and by drawing rectangle
grid instead of square grid. Using flower type stitch in-between.

Will be continued...................
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I will not keep you waiting.

In the meantime learn "HOw to calculate the material needed for Canadian

Method of calculating the material needed for Canadian smocking for
cushion with design
Arrow head
Material need for Canadian smocking depends upon the flowing things
1. Size of the finished material we need.
2. Design we select.
3. Size of the square in the graph we use for smocking.
For each design I have arrived at a general formula using mathematics .By
just substituting the numbers in the formula we can calculate width of the
material by calculating how many squares we need in a row. We can
calculate the length of the material needed by calculating how many squares
we need in a column.
Diagonal of the square plays a great role in this. I will give you approximate
values diagonals of the squares we normally use.
Diagonal of a square of 2 cm =2 .8 cm
Diagonal will be for square of 2 .5 cm 3.5 cm
Diagonal will be for square of 3 cm = 4.2 cm
Diagonal will be for square of 4 cm= 5.7
Cushion size 40 cm X 40 cm
Arrow head design

Size of the square used in the graph= 3 cm

General formula to calculate width of the material
No of squares needed in row = (width of the finished smocked material
needed x 4) diagonal of the square

General formula to calculate length of the material
No of squares in a column = (length of the finished smocked material needed
X 2) Diagonal of the square

Method of calculating the width of the material
No of squares needed in a row = (40 cm X 4) 4.2 = 38 squares

Material needed for 38 squares =38 X 3 cm = 114 cm

Width of the material needed =114 cm + acme for seams =116 cm

Method of calculating the length of the material
No of squares in a column = (length of the finished smocked material needed
X 2) Diagonal of the square
No of squares in a column = (40 cm X 2) 4.2 = 19 squares
Material needed for 19 squares =19 X 3 cm =57 cm + 2 cm for seams =59
In this way you can calculated the material needed for any size of cushion
done using any size of square.
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Materials needed for Canadian smocking and method of creating shell pattern

Materials used should be thick and crease resistant. According to me thick satin is
the best. This type of smocking is done on velvet and Corduroy materials
also. It is mostly used for cushions. It can also be used for making hand bags.
There are many designs in Canadian smocking. The designs that I have come
across are Shell, Leaves, Matrix,Braid .Waves, arrow head, Bones and
Flower except the flower design all are worked on the wrong side of the
fabric. From flower pattern we can create many more beautiful patterns

Canadian smocking by joining two points

Shell pattern
Draw squares of required width on the reverse of the fabric.Mark the
diagonal lines as shown in the graph of the shell pattern.
In shell pattern two dots are connected with pulled stitches at regular interval
which are knotted and separated by a slack knotted stitch.
Mark squares of 2 .5 cm x 2.5 cm on the wrong side of the fabric. Mark the
red diagonal lines that represent pulled stitch. Mark the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4,
while learning, as it will be easier to follow the diagram.
Stitch with 3 strands of Anchor thread of the colour that matches the fabric.
Folds look good if satin material is used. Follow the steps from 1 to 8 and
stitch all the rows. 2 columns of the squares are used at a time.
Please excuse me for the patchy images.I have erased my blog's name from
there. continued...........
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Attached Images

Shell pattern continued.....

Here are the remaining steps.
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Canadian smocking Design "Arrow head "

Here are the images for the procedure for the design "Arrow head" I think the
images are self explanatory.If you have any doubt feel free to ask.Other steps
are in Post reply
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Last edited by artvani; 11th October 2010 at 02:22 PM.
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11th October 2010 02:24 PM #6

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Re: Canadian smocking Design "Arrow head "

Here are the other steps
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Canadian smocked cushion with Hexagons

I had done this long back while learning,I had made mistake while assessing the the
amount of fabric needed. needed.I added patches all around and stitched a
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Flower design in Canadian smocking

In Flower design folds are created by joining 4 points of a square. From this stitch
we can create as many designs as we want. It has got many names. One of
them is" Bee cottage."
Flower design is worked on the right side of the fabric. We cannot draw
squares on the right side of the fabric as it shows. Only dots should be
marked. Both the sides of this design are used to create designs.

Mark rows of dots 2 cm or 3 cm or 4 cm apart on right side of the fabric
according to the design and according to your taste. I find it difficult to mark
dots in the front. So as usual I secure the fabric to my working table with 3M
tape and draw squares back side of the fabric. Then I transfer the corner
points of the squares to the right side with the help of a light coloured carbon
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Re: Flower design in Canadian smocking

still more steps.......
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Re: Flower design in Canadian smocking

Please ignore the knots in the design.I had taken these images for another design
which I have used it here.
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