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The Art of Hand Smocking

Oso was founded from a passion for vintage children’s apparel – from clothes that were laboriously created by hand and made to last for generations to come. With details that were inherently made to span across growth spurts – for necessity and practicality. Beautifully tailored shirts for boys and meticulously sewn dresses for girls…we were hooked on the ways of the past. 

Baring from generations before us, we have long been in love with hand smocking, and cherish the hand-me down pieces from our childhood. Because of this passion, it was important to make sure we included that detail in our assortment, as well as fostered the incredible skillset in a modern world.


Why Hand Smocking?

Not only does hand smocking add a spectacular detail to any garment, but it also was the original split sizing. Before elastic was widely used, it allowed for garments to grow and stretch with the child, all while looking beautiful. The hand-done pleating allows for extra fabric to be encased in the panels of the clothing, creating a natural give to the garment.

 We believe that clothes should last longer, and span over multiple growth spurts so for us, hand smocking was a natural fit! It also allows for gorgeous and unique embroidery over our hand-painted prints and high-end fabric, making each dress more special and unique.

Where Are our Garments Hand Smocked?

We searched high and low for the best factory to partner with and have been so happy to have fallen into the incredibly talented hands of Angele in Madagascar. Founded by Angele in the 1990's, this factory is centered on empowering women artisans; offering great salaries, benefits, transportation, full health care to both mother and child, as well as aid to help these talented women establish and contribute to a retirement saving. Not only were we blown away by their story and commitment to bettering the lives of women in the community, but the beautiful craftsmanship of the garments is unequivocally the best of the best.

For us when deciding who to partner with, whether that is here in the States, or other countries, it is imperative to us that the factory is focused on the health and wellbeing of their community within their space and beyond.


How is Hand Smocking Done?

Hand smocking is done on the fabric level. First the fabric is hand stitched together making rows of evenly spaced pleats. Then, once the fabric has been pleated and pulled taught, the seamstress comes back in with embroidery thread and follows the designated pattern for embroidery, weaving in and out of the columns of pleats. Finally, when the meticulous work of the embroidery is complete, the newly smocked and embroidered panel of fabric is then sewn into the dress or garment. Hand smocking a singular dress can take a single artisan up to 35 hours, and that doesn't include sewing the actual dress!



The Result!

Each dress is a true labor of love, and we cherish that these designs were able to be brought to life so beautifully! We hope you love your Oso & Me hand-smocked items as much as we do and are able to pass them down generation after generation!