In 2009 and 2010, an exhibition was held at Pratt Institute to help explain the relationship between fashion and sustainability.

For this exhibit (called Ethics + Aesthetics = Sustainable Fashion), curators Francesca Granata and Sarah Scaturro (now Conservator at The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art) displayed garments from our Alabama ChaninSongbirds collection, and also from artists and designers like Susan Cianciolo, Andrea Zittel, Suno, and Bodkin.

Andrea Zittel’s Smockshop pattern was included in the “Rethink” portion of the exhibition and provided as a printed pattern at the back of the catalog. From page 36 of the catalog:

A simple double wrap-around garment, the smock as designed by the artist Andrea Zittel, is a versatile and utilitarian garment. For the Smockshop project, it is reworked by a number of artists who reinterpret the original pattern based on their individual skill sets and tastes. In line with Zittel’s motto, “Liberation through Limitations,” the smocks are intended to be worn exclusively for six months, but in an understanding of the idealistic nature of such a practice, the artist is at least hoping “to inspire a more frugal approach to design.” The examples in the exhibition are by the artist Tiprin Follett, who wore her smocks continuously and documented her performance in an interview with Zittel as well as through snapshots.

From Ethics + Aesthetics = Sustainable Fashion catalog:

The smockshop offers a unique model for a collaborative clothing workshop that encourages the adaptation of a basic “uniform” to be worn for long stretches of time.


We found the interaction among the designer, maker, garment, and user to be inspiring, creative, and refreshing.

We encourage the same reinterpretation of our garments and projects from our Studio Book Series. Take a pattern and make it your own.

For DIY Thursday, we share the pattern for Andrea Zittel’s Smockshop. By sharing this project, we continue Tuesday’s discussion on sustainability, homesteading, and making one’s own clothing.

We are thrilled with the finished smock- which takes a very similar shape to our Maggie Dress. The Maggie Dress is featured in our Denim collection, but is not currently offered as a DIY kit. If you love the shape and silhouette of the Maggie Dress, Andrea’s smock pattern makes a beautiful garment.

To make your own Andrea Zittel smock à la Alabama Chanin negative reverse appliqué:


Andrea Zittel’s Smockshop pattern (via the Ethics + Aesthetics = Sustainable Fashion catalog)
3 yards of 60”-wide 100% organic medium weight cotton jersey for top layer (you will have some yardage left over)
3 yards of 60”-wide 100% organic medium weight cotton jersey for backing layer (in same color as top layer or in contrasting color – as desired)
Button Craft thread
Alabama Chanin Anna’s Garden Stencil
Textile paint
Basic sewing supplies: fabric scissorsembroidery scissors, pinsneedlesruler, rotary cutter

Cut out your pattern pieces from your fabric for the top layer and repeat by cutting matching pattern pieces for the backing layer. Stencil your cut top layer of the smock with our Anna’s Garden stencil and textile paint. Pin together the top and bottom layers of each pattern piece, right sides of both layers facing up.

Following instructions for negative reverse appliqué found on page 99 of Alabama Studio Sewing + Design, straight stitch 1/8” inside the edge of the stenciled shape; then cut the top layer of fabric 1/8” outside the edge of the stenciled shape, leaving a ¼” sliver of top-layer fabric beyond your stitching line.

After all of the pattern pieces are completed, sew the dress by hand using a double strand of Button Craft thread and following the Smockshop instructions–included with the pattern.

We used binding around all edges of the garment rather than leaving the edges raw. We chose to use ties to fasten both the inside and outside of the smock; however, we use snaps in the inside of the Maggie Dress. A simple safety pin will also work. We also used cotton jersey pulls to tie the front of the dress. To make these ties, use your cotton jersey scrap fabric, cut into strips from 1/2” to 1” wide, (we cut with the fabric’s grain). Pull the strip so that it curls into a rope. Attached the ties to the dress with a straight stitch after you have sewn on your binding.


Fabric weight – 100% organic medium-weight cotton jersey
Fabric color top layer – Navy
Fabric color backing layer – Navy
Stencil – Anna’s Garden
Treatment –  Negative Reverse Appliqué
Textile paint – Black
Button Craft thread– Navy #13
Knots – When you start and finish a length of thread, double-knot on the outside of the garment.

Get your copy of Ethics + Aesthetics = Sustainable Fashion
Guest Curators: Francesca Granata and Sarah Scaturro,
January 2010
9 x 10 inches, 42 pages with free smockshop pattern inserted. Full color  $10

Artists and designers: Alabama Chanin, Bodkin, Loomstate, SANS, Slow and Steady Wins the Race, SUNO, and ULURU, and by designers and artists such as Susan Cianciolo, Kelly Cobb, Zoë Sheehan Saldaña, and Andrea Zittel and Tiprin Follet, smockshop

Made possible at a special price of $10 by a generous grant from the Coby Foundation, Ltd.


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Click to read 12 comments
  1. Kelley

    Actually, the link you provided to buy the pattern only seems to take you to a PDF of the catalog in which the pattern is not provided. Do you have a link where the catalog can be purchased?

  2. Jen

    Did you guys alter the smock pattern at all? Their pattern sttes that you should wear a tank top under it (I assume because the arm holes are large) Just checking if you guys tightened that up a bit or if it adjustable enough to snug it up under your arms. Thanks for this great inspiration!

  3. Donna

    Last week I attended the Textile Society of America’s Symposium in Washington, DC. Sustainability was the topic of many of the sessions I attended and created a great deal of discussion. For me that was very exciting. I wore my Alabama Chanin skirt one day and my top the next day and some of my naturally dyed clothes the other days. Each day during the discussion where it was appropriate, I mentioned that what I was wearing was one of your pieces and mentioned your work and philosophy. I had people coming up to me wanting to feel the pieces I obtained from you and writing down your website.

  4. Brenda Marks

    Beautiful dress! I looked around at the Smockshop project and am sad that it seems to have ended. What a terrific idea!

  5. Denise

    Thank you thank you thank you thank you!! This is the ONE pattern that I have been thinking and scheming and dreaming about! I LOVE the smocked dresses on your site and now I can make that dreaming and scheming come to life!!

    Yep.. that gets you a fangirl…Squeee!

  6. Claudia

    When I was at the workshop I kept thinking that maybe I should’ve chosen this one as my project; I took a photo of the dress to help me remember it and potentially recreate it, but hey, it’s all here for me! I love the versatility of it and plan to make it my next Alabama Chanin project.

  7. Denise

    Got the copy of the catalog and pattern in the mail today! Itching to get a smock started, but first in line for my hand sewing skills is getting numbers on some Webelo scout uniforms! Motivation!!

  8. Nikki

    I love this! I have wanted a Maggie dress for the longest time, and just now found this post! Can’t wait to give it a try. I also want to try to make a shorter tunic in this style as well.

    THANK YOU!!!