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Honeycomb Smocked Pleat How-to Demo


Embroidered pleat-work (smocking) and what “appears” to be honeycomb smocking was a common element in garb and aprons of the 15th and 16th centuries in Germany. Visit my article “Was it Honeycomb Smocking on 16th c. German Clothing, or something else…” for a discussion. I created this hands-on demo in January 2020 to present at SCA events, and it covers basic fold pleating technique and honeycomb smocking (aka spot style). The text, pictures, and diagrams in this article are the authors; this is an introduction to established techniques and is very similar to techniques used today (Fabric Manipulation: 150 Creative Sewing Techniques by Ruth Singer). There are plenty of resources on the web for historically accurate techniques, see links at the bottom for more in-depth tutorials.


Fabric (16 x 8) inches, marking pen (water erasable preferred), ruler, needle, thread, scissors.


Fabric showing dots and running straight stitch.
Fabric with running stitch thread gathered to create pleats.
Marking 6 rows of dots 1/2 inch apart marking stitches.

Start in upper left and work down then up toward right side.

Start in the back on the first upper left dot, come up and stitch over the adjacent pleat to the right.

Terminate the second stitch by moving down in the pleat to the next row down.
End the second stitch on the lower row by moving the needle up inside the pleat up to the dot above.

Examples of pleat-work and smocking in finished garb!

For more detailed tutorials and information to start your own project, visit:

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