Image credits

Swee Yew

MA Fashion work by Swee Yew

Smock Evolution

The word ‘smocking’ originated in England in the 13th century and describes decorative stitching which was used to control gathers on loose-fitting outfits.

This technique is used to suppress material to fit the form and eliminates the need for darts. My main objectives in this project were to experiment with smocking and pleating techniques to achieve excessive volume, inspired by the dramatic scale and proportion of Elizabethan costume, in particular the neck ruff.

Rather than using linen or cotton the fabrics used in traditional smocked garments, I have used light weight, fluid fabrics that allow me to emphasise the drape, movement and volume within my designs. I have experimented with pleating and smocking techniques in a variety of scales to achieve the large amounts of volume I wanted.

My colour palette took initial inspiration from an original aged and sun faded smock dress from the study centre which inspired me to look at the graduating colours and tones within minerals and rock formations.

I have used the above fabrics and techniques to achieve a range of simple garment silhouettes which allows me to have more drape and movement, yet still be able to achieve the volume I wanted and still looks simple and romantically beautiful.



– Swee Yew, MA Fashion


– Swee Yew, MA Fashion