The Honeymoon Smock



Maiju Tahkolahti


(click images to to enlarge)

Outline the story …

Nature has always been an integral part of my life and a constant source of inspiration. When I started my sewing journey the most inspiring thing was learning about natural fibers and their outstanding properties. Keeping this in mind, I wanted to choose a project that would honor the theme not only in design but also with the choice of material. The other factor reflected in my design choices is sustainability. I strongly feel that when pulling inspiration from nature we should also remember how to preserve it. When designing and producing anything new I aspire to make choices that reflect that ideology. I want to make sure that the items I make are of quality materials that serve the purpose, can be mended and would ideally last a lifetime. For these reasons I have come to love historical clothing.
My project of choice was to make an Elizabethan era smock with blackwork embroidery. I came upon blackwork embroidery on Pinterest and fell in love with the juxtaposition of geometric and mathematical designs combined with natural themes. My goal was to finish the garment in time for my honeymoon trip. Both me and my husband were born in autumn so I wanted to reflect that in the embroidery as well. I combed through a multitude of resources and found a pattern for a lovely acorn design from 16th century Germany. I opted to shorten the length in order to wear the smock either with trousers or a skirt.

Outline the construction…

With sustainability in mind I set myself a goal to acquire the necessary materials locally. I found a beautiful 100% linen fabric in a tiny local fabric shop. Silk thread would have been the historically accurate choice, but unfortunately it was not locally available so I opted for cotton instead. All of the hand sewing was done with a pure linen thread.
The process of making this garment included a ton of new things for me. I had previously only sewn a very simple viking era dress so I felt this was an appropriately challenging step forward when it came to the technical aspects of construction. This was my first time using an actual pattern. Having previously only sewn by hand I also wanted to challenge myself to use a sewing machine on the seams that would not be visible. I used a pattern by Margo Anderson and found additional help in Morgan Donner’s Elizabethan shirt video on Youtube.
The biggest hurdle for me was the embroidery. I had never embroidered before, so starting with such a thin fabric was a challenge. The pattern was a counted thread pattern, so counting the warp and weft yarns of the fabric to ensure uniform stitching was very time consuming. I estimated approximately 40 hours of embroidery.
The finished garment is far from perfect (oh, to get even gathers!) and there are still many things I would like to improve, but all in all I’m very happy with how the smock turned out.




  1. Avatar Desirée Desirée Holmberg on April 26, 2023 at 9:00 pm

    I said it before and I’ll say it again – love all of this!

    • Avatar Maiju Maiju Tahkolahti on April 26, 2023 at 10:08 pm

      Thank you, you spectacular human<3

  2. Avatar Stanislava Stanislava Pilkova on April 26, 2023 at 9:25 pm

    The embroidery looks like you have been doing it for ages and not learning it.

    • Avatar Maiju Maiju Tahkolahti on April 26, 2023 at 10:09 pm

      Thank you so much for your kind words!:)

  3. Avatar Sarah Sarah Coombs on April 26, 2023 at 10:18 pm

    Very neat and well-executed, especially the blackwork embroidery. Well done!

    • Avatar Maiju Maiju Tahkolahti on April 26, 2023 at 10:40 pm

      Thank you so much, your feedback means a lot!:)

  4. PK Reynolds McKnight P.K. Reynolds McKnight PK Reynolds McKnight P.K. Reynolds McKnight on April 28, 2023 at 3:45 am

    So beautiful!

    • Avatar Maiju Maiju Tahkolahti on April 28, 2023 at 6:14 pm

      Thank you so much!:)

  5. Avatar Catherine Mueller on April 28, 2023 at 8:43 pm

    I’ve always wanted to try blackwork embroidery. This is inspiring!

    • Avatar Maiju Maiju Tahkolahti on April 28, 2023 at 9:17 pm

      Thank you for your kind comment! I absolutely recommend trying blackwork, it’s so rewarding!:)

  6. Avatar Stella of Stellarland on April 30, 2023 at 11:41 am

    The photography complements Your amazing work!

    • Avatar Maiju Maiju Tahkolahti on April 30, 2023 at 2:41 pm

      Thank you so much for your kind words!:)

  7. Avatar Lowana O\'Shea on May 7, 2023 at 10:01 am

    I love everything about your entry! The embroidery is stunning, and the style of the smock suits you so well. I adore your photography too. Well done!

  8. Avatar Anna-Catherine Sendgikoski on May 7, 2023 at 6:11 pm

    Blackwork is rather fascinating to me! I am a person who loves color! Give me ALL THE COLOR! Sorry…
    This is a gorgeous work that I know you are proud of, as you should be! Lovely!

  9. Avatar Holly Holly Delaney on May 10, 2023 at 7:48 pm

    Lovely piece! So feminine! The black work embroidery just makes this already lovely piece so special. Great job!

  10. Avatar Susannah Allanic on May 12, 2023 at 8:33 pm

    Lovely and well done!

  11. Avatar Joey on May 15, 2023 at 7:08 am

    Sleeves and neckline divine

  12. Avatar Eirik Pellock on May 17, 2023 at 10:12 am

    Beautiful work and beautiful photos too. Very well done very clean.

  13. Avatar Isabella Ferretti on February 5, 2024 at 7:42 am

    Exquisite! And inspiring! I also like how the shoulders are not too dropped, I feel that would be more comfortable to wear.

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