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Smocking, a Must-Have Tool for Creating Stunning Costumes

May 16th 2022

In her new book, Smocking Secrets, cosplayer and costume maker Maggie Hofmann proves that smocking can be used to create a wide variety of effects that are perfect for cosplay.

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At first glance, Hofmann says, the intricacies of smocking make it look like a complicated process. But she says it actually is an easy technique to master, requiring more patience than anything else after you learn the basic stitching skills.

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Arrow-smocked sleeves made and worn by the author, who is on Instagram as @PaisleyandGlue. PHOTO BY:  Alexandra Lee Studios. COSTUME SOURCE: Original design by the author based on Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty

Hofmann demonstrates how to stitch 20 designs that can add incredible details to your next costume build with step-by-step photo instruction

Smocked details are beautiful and can add fullness or stretch to a garment, as in the collar, cuffs, and waistline of this costume.

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English-smocked neckline, cuffs, and waist band featuring cable and diamond smocking, made and worn by Sophia Khan. PHOTO BY: Christa J Newman. COSTUME SOURCE: Costume: Original design by Sophia Khan

Smocking can be an important addition to a wide variety of techniques used in a garment, such as this skirt and sleeves featuring beginner-friendly shell smocked details.

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Sleeves and skirt featuring shell smocking, made and worn by Archaic Costumes, PHOTO BY: Dan Arango. COSTUME SOURCE: Costume: Based on Sabrina from the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

And look at how the honeycomb smocking in this skirt works perfectly with the other elements in the costume.

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Skirt with honeycomb smocking, made and worn by Pro of Pros and Cons Cosplay. PHOTO BY: Noah Smith Images. COSTUME SOURCE: Original design and character, Juliette, by Sakizo

And the designs are so versatile! An overall arrow pattern really brings the drama to this cape.

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Arrow smocked cape, made and worn by Lady Kitz Cosplay. PHOTO BY: Alexandra Lee Studios. COSTUME SOURCE: Costume design by Hannah Alexander based on Daenerys from Game of Thrones

And here the arrow pattern is again—just right for these eye-catching snakes.

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Appliquéd arrow smocking in the snake detail, made and worn by Sarcasm-himé. PHOTO BY: Elemental Photography and Design. COSTUME SOURCE: Original design by Sarcasm-himé based on Crowley from Good Omens

Shop Smocking Secrets

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