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Smocked christmas ornament

Smocking isn’t only reserved for heirloom garments. We love putting our beautiful handwork on a gift that will quickly become a treasured Christmas ornament for many years to come. We provide a smocking plate for this design, but you can use any plate, including picture smocking, with up to 10 rows of smocking. Use this guide as you make your ornament.

Let us help you get started by purchasing a kit complete with a pleated insertion with white gathering threads, floss, smocking design (geometric), and double faced satin ribbon available in red or green.


5 ½” x 40” pleated insertion, pleated with thread to match the insertion fabric
Ribbon 3/8” wide - 2 yards
3” Styrofoam ball
Craft glue


1. Pleat 12 rows. Cut off any excess fabric beyond 40”. 

2. Pull pleater threads out one pleat from each end. Tie off panel two threads at a time so that the panel measures 7” wide.

3. Smock up to a 10 row design, leaving a holding row at the top and the bottom. Smocking will begin on the 2nd row of pleater threads. Back smock as needed.

4. When smocking is finished, remove all of the gathering threads except the top two and the bottom two.

5. Trim the fabric as close as possible to the top and bottom thread without cutting the tread. 

6. Place the fabric around the styrofoam ball. Turn under the seam allowance on one side edge and place next to the first pleat of the other side edge. Pin in place. Make sure that the rows of smocking matches, and whipstitch the two ends together.

7. At this point, it is helpful to have a tall drinking glass with a rim that has a 3” diameter. Sit the smocked ball on the glass so that you have both hands free. Pull the top two and bottom two gathering threads as tightly as possible and tie in a knot to secure. Drop a little craft glue along the top raw edges of the fabric.

8. To make the “topper” for the ornament cut three ribbon pieces 6 ½” long and cut one 12” piece.

9. Wrap each 6 ½” ribbon like a “crazy 8.” Place a small drop of craft glue at each layer. Repeat with the remaining two ribbons, stacking and gluing them together to create a fanned-out bow.

Smocked Ornament - 1

10. For the top ribbon loop, use the 12” piece of ribbon and make a small loop around your pointer finger. Continue looping this ribbon for a second time, making a large loop to be used as the hanger for the ornament. Glue the ends together

Smocked Ornament - 2

Smocked Ornament - 3

Smocked Ornament - 4

11. Secure the “topper” to the top of the ornament with a straight pin and a drop of glue on the pin.

12. Flip the ball over and place on the glass to finish the bottom.

13. For the bottom of the ornament, cut three ribbon pieces 6 ½” long and cut one 3” piece.

14. Repeat step 9.

15.  Use the 3” piece to make a small loop to finish the middle of the bow. Glue in place.

Designed by
Susan Whitman

Download the printable pdf instructions here: 

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