sharon’s smocked chai tee

Sharon is back from the Advisors Circle to show the clever smocking modification she made to the Chai Tee sewing pattern.

Hello from Sharon! A few years back, I saw this gorgeous vintage peach organza blouse that had the loveliest hand-smocking detail on the front yoke. For anyone who does not know me, I am am a sucker for anything vintage with smocking. Smocking is not something that is seen a lot now in women’s fashion, so I love it when I’m able to incorporate it into my wardrobe.

How to smock the Chai Tee pattern.

A Chai Tee I saw in the Liesl + Co. Facebook group gave me the idea to use this pattern for my inspiration blouse. The pattern was a wonderful base line; I did not have to alter it all to achieve this look.

I went up one size for the blouse top and graded two sizes up for hip area. I didn’t have to alter the shoulder yoke, but I did even out the top of the bodice to be a straight edge for my pleats. (The original bodice top has peaks and valleys to allow it to form a straight edge after making the tucks.)

How to smock the Chai Tee pattern.

I used a lovely drapey peach organza, so I lined the front and back side of the blouse to give it some stability. It is still transparent but has a nice soft look to it now. I also paired this top with the Extra-Sharp Pencil Skirt. They look fabulous together for a nice date night on a hot summer evening. I really love the look of both of these patterns paired together.

When I prepped my shoulders for smocking, I pleated full and half rows. I pleated eight rows total, including the holding row. I used one full, or two half rows, for my holding row. I then worked my smocking on the half rows for a total of five half rows of baby wave smocking.

How to smock the Chai Tee pattern.

I also added a lace detail to the sleeves. The lace is off white but I added it inside the folded sleeve so it has a peach tone to it. I basted the lace in place before I sewed the sleeves on. I also basted the layers of the front and back bodice of the blouse before sewing the blouse.

All in all, this was really simple and lovely to make. If you have not sewn with organza before I do recommended that you take it slow. It has a lovely drape but also frays easily. To make working with the fabric easier, use a cutting mat and use a rotary blade to cut all the pieces out. This helps reduce shifting and fraying of the fabric while constructing the garment.

I really adore the fit of the Chai Tee in woven with the Extra-Sharp Pencil skirt. Both pieces are a nice staple to have added to my wardrobe.


Labels: ,


  1. Enbee

    Wow – this is gorgeous! And I love the sheer effect of your fabric choice – perfect match for the smocking.

  2. MARIA

    Lovely, Sharon…!

  3. Erica

    The smocking is so lovely, and what a clever way to incorporate it into the Chai Tee pattern. I still haven’t had a chance to learn how to do smocking, but this inspires me!

  4. Marosie

    That is really lovely! Both the smocking and lace really are beautiful details. I am sure you will get many compliments whenever you wear it.

  5. Silver Sews

    This is totally perfect sew. The Chai Tee is crafted perfection. So glad you shared your work with us. I am very reluctant to use organza. But you have such great success I will rethink my concerns.

  6. Joyce

    What a fabulous version of a Chai Tee. Clever features with the smocking and the lace, I love it!!!!

  7. Mary Inchauste

    This adaptation of the Chai Tee is fabulous! How creative to add the smocking & lace! It’s a lovely summer outfit with the skirt and top. Good job!


    I’ve been wanting to do some smocking for myself. I smocked for years for my children. Your top is gorgeous. Thanks for sharing your idea.

  9. Susan Terrill

    Sharon, you made such a beautiful heirloom with your creativity and skills. I used to smock all of my little girl’s dresses. I still have my pleater . I taught lessons as well. I love the lace as well. So lovely.

    And the fabric is not easy to handle,is it?
    Thank you for sharing. Susan.

    1. Sharon K

      Thank you! It is not the easiest fabric to work with but if you take care work slowly it is very rewarding to use and both wear. It is one of my favorite choices for blouses.

  10. Sharon K

    Thank you ladies! This was definitely one of my favorites garments that I have made to date.

  11. Barbara

    This is absolutely gorgeous!

  12. Ann

    Wow! I love this shirt. Well done!!

  13. Laurie Scherer

    How gorgeous! I usually sew for my children/grandchildren and have always tried to think of ways to incorporate smocking into my own garments. Thanks for the inspiration!

  14. SShaw

    Truly inspirational. I love that you were able to incorporate your beautiful smocking work into the blouse and without it looking at all juvenile. Nicely done!

Post a comment