Smocking is a traditional decorative stitching used to control the pleats to be embroidered. It's elegant and very versatile and decorative.
Since the 13th or 14th century we can find in England smocking examples. It consist of not very thick fabric (cotton, linen, silk...) which is gathered into pleats, and then the pleats are held with embroidery stitches. These smocks were used as decorations on outer garments wear by farm workers, generally men and children. Any particular stitching indicated the origin country area and the embroidered designs also were symbols of the occupation of the wearers. The crosses were symbols of grave diggers, sheep for shepherds, or the symbols of the land for the farmers.
Cause the elasticity of smock it protected back, chest and sleeves of the workers from the winter wind and gave a good freedom of movement.