Kathy Dykstra

Smocking plates by Kathy Dykstra:

Angelica, by Kathy Dykstra. From “Beautiful Bishops”

Bluebird’s Song, by Kathy Dykstra. Australian Smocking & Embroidery. Issue #82.

French Connection, by Kathy Dykstra. Australian Smocking & Embroidery. Issue #86.

Goodnight, Sleep Tight, by Kathy Dykstra. Australian Smocking & Embroidery. Issue #85.

Heidi’s Christmas, by Kathy Dykstra. Australian Smocking & Embroidery. Issue #81.

Hula Girl, by Kathy Dykstra. Australian Smocking & Embroidery. Issue #84.

Paisley Park, by Kathy Dykstra. Australian Smocking & Embroidery. Issue #83.

Peek-a-boo, by Kathy Dykstra. Australian Smocking & Embroidery. Issue #88.

Picture Me, by Kathy Dykstra. Australian Smocking & Embroidery. Issue #84.

Red Birds, by Kathy Dykstra. Australian Smocking & Embroidery. Issue #88.

Sail Away, by Kathy Dykstra. Australian Smocking & Embroidery. Issue #86.

Sandpiper, by Kathy Dykstra. Australian Smocking & Embroidery. Issue #88.

Temily, by Kathy Dykstra. Australian Smocking & Embroidery. Issue #80.



  1. sharon said

    Just finished Sail Away pattern from issue 86. Constructed romper according to directions. When I turn the romper to the right side the lining is on one side and the smocked front and back are on the other side. What have I done? The lining is not between the front and back?

    • Kathy Dykstra said

      AS&E printed a correction to the pattern sewing instructions. They made an error in the construction instructions.

      • julie reach said

        Kathy, I’m desperate for the correction — where can I get it? I was trying to finish the Sail Away outfit this morning, and can’t, due to the incorrect pattern directions — can you help, Please! Julie Reach 972.596.9241 jkre

      • Megan said

        I don’t know if she reads here, but she is pretty active over on the Martha Pullen forums. You might want to join up there to ask?

  2. Could you tell me what color and thread that you used on the ” Swiss Dot with
    Smocked Skirt” on page 16 of Sew Beautiful magazine. The colors are just beautiful so I wanted to copy.

    Thank you

  3. Could you tell me what type of thread and what the colors were for the “Swiss Dot with Smocked Skirt’ on page 16 of the July issue of Sew Beautiful. It is just beautiful and I wanted to copy it

    Thank you Cecilia Fraser

  4. Kathy said

    Julie – here’s the link to the corrections


    If you have any problems, please feel free to ask. I get emails if someone has a question here. 🙂

  5. Kathy said

    Celia – I used DMC threads and just chose colors to match the fabric for the pants. I didn’t take notes of which colors I chose since I was using an existing smocking design and not creating a new design for the magazine. I suspect that the colors were DMC 760, 761 & 819 for the flowers and 522 for the green. Hope that helps

  6. Angela Rojas said

    I loved the vintage top in the last issue of Sew Beautiful Magazine, the one with the two cute owls. My problem is that with a 4 X 28 inch strip to pleat I can only get 8 rows, the graph requires 11. Was it supposed to be half rows? I always get confused!

  7. Kathy Dykstra said

    I’m not sure what kind of pleater you use, but I used my Martha Pullen 16 row pleater and I can get 11 rows of pleating with it. Of course, the outside rows end up being in the seam allowance.

    If I were you, I’d cut a wider strip and pleat at least 10 rows, smock the insert and then center the design and trim off the excess fabric when you insert it into the blouse.

    If you have any other problems with it, please feel free to ask for help. I do get an email notification if someone posts here. 🙂


  8. Kathy Fareri-Darretta said

    Hi kathy, i have no idea how to smock. I am very interested in it. It looks very difficult. How could I learn? Just love your work. Kathy

  9. kathy said

    i would like to know how to learn to smock. how difficult is it?

    • Megan said

      Hi, I’m not Kathy but I thought I’d offer my advice. If you have any experience with hand embroidery (even something like cross stitching or needlepoint) I don’t think it’s difficult at all! The important thing is just to keep the proper tension as you stitch: not too tight and not too loose. It might take a project or two to get the hang of that, but after that it’s smooth sailing. The hard/tedious part is the pleating. And there are machines which make that easy: they’re not cheap, so you might not want to invest in one until you are sure that you’ll keep this hobby up. If you don’t have a machine, heirloom sewing stores will usually offer it as a service.

      The book I found the most helpful when I was learning to smock was The A-Z of Smocking, published by Country Bumpkin. They also published (just announced recently that they were ceasing, sadly 😦 ) a magazine called Australian Smocking and Embroidery. It’s great because it also includes all of the patterns for the smocked clothes in each issue. You can find back issues at most heirloom sewing stores.

      Good luck! It’s a fun hobby, and the results are always so lovely.

    • Kathy Dykstra said

      I would echo Megan’s comments – it’s not difficult if you have any experience/knowledge of any kind of needle art. The A-Z smocking book is the best (just my opinion). If you’re a visual learner, there’s lots of u-tube videos showing different smocking stitches – watch them as often as you need to. Definitely start with a simple geometric design and save picture smocking designs for when you’ve had a bit of experience and are comfortable with the geometric smocking.

      If you have a Smocking Arts Guild in your area, definitely visit the group and join if you can – they will provide a wealth of information.


      I have found smocking to be a relaxing and rewarding needle art and hope that you will as well.

  10. Joanna Lotts said

    I love “White Waves” in issue140 of Sew Beautiful. Do you think it would work in Dotted Swiss fabric?

    • Kathy Dykstra said

      It would be beautiful in dotted swiss fabric, as long as you don’t feel that the dotted swiss would be too sheer for the little girl to wear. 🙂

  11. Carolyn Ford said

    My granddaughter loves your Sandpiper design made out of white and natural linen in AS&E issue 88. The problem is the largest size is 5 years and she is a size 10. Is this design available in a size 10? If not could you let me know if enlarging it would be a nightmare or a possibility? She wants to wear it to her brothers graduation the 1st of June. Thank you so much for any help you can offer me.

  12. i would like to make your Sandpiper design in AS&E issue 88 for my granddaughter who wears a size 10. The largest size in that pattern is a 5 years. Do you think I can enlarge it proportionally to a 10, or is there another pattern I could substitute? That outfit is so cute and my granddaughter would love to wear it to her older brother’s graduation in June.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    • Kathy Dykstra said

      You should be able to size the pattern up as needed. I would be sure and make a sample muslin up of the dress base (without all the ruffles) to make sure that the fit is good before making up the actual dress. Because the lines are very simple and there’s not lots of fitting to this dress, it should be relatively simple to size up the pattern. Good luck!

  13. kathy said

    I have the opportunity of taking a lesson from a member of a smocking guild. Never had any experience at smocking, Is it still necessary to purchase A-Z Smocking?

    • Kathy Dykstra said

      You don’t need to buy the book, but if you enjoy smocking I suspect that you will want some sort of reference book of the stitches. Of course, there is a lot of information on the internet, so you may decide to use that as opposed to having a book in hand. Enjoy your lessons!

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