Smocked Bishop: First Day of School

Hello Friends, some of you guessed correctly the “big plan” I had for this smocked bishop.  I wanted to have this done in time for Miss Baby’s first day of school.



So it was a joint labor of love between myself and dear friend Annelle, mixed in with lots of prayer for the Miss.  I did the smocking, and Annelle expertly did the garment construction.  But there is a third person involved in this labor of love – it was Linda who gifted us with the pleated front that eventually became the dress.  Thanks again, Linda!


I just love the yellow gingham dear Annelle used for the neck and sleeve bands.  The yellow gingham gave just the right casual touch, without compromising the classic smocked bishop style.



I am sure I hadn’t blocked my neckline perfectly round prior to smocking, but I do want to show you what the smocking looks like if you fan out the dress.  Ideally, the neckline would be perfectly round.  But as Miss Baby would be quick to remind you — her Mom isn’t perfect.  So, please forgive me for the slightly skewed and wonky neckline.


Fortunately, the not-perfectly-round neckline didn’t seem to matter when the bishop was put on Miss Baby.


I think a great time was had by all on the first day of school.  The house was strangely quiet for a couple of hours after we dropped off Miss Baby at school.  I kept expecting to hear “Mom, could you please get me some milk?” etc…

If you have known me since my pre-Miss Baby days, you know this is a milestone for my little family.  Thank you all, whether or not if you have known me pre or post Miss Baby, for your ever encouraging support!  Love to you all.

Thanks for stopping by.  If all goes well, I hope to share with you a cover quilt tomorrow.

p.s.  We did finally find the Pentel white erasers!  Thanks to those who had written and asked, and especially those who had offered to send me some.  You are the sweetest bunch.  You do know that, don’t you?


End of summer…

Hello Friends, I have been spending the last couple of days catching up with work after taking Miss Baby to a pre-preschool bash!  I can’t believe summer is just about over.





Miss Baby was wearing the smocked bishop (lovingly constructed by dear friend Annelle) I had shared about here and here:


So what’s going on at your “summer” end?  Thanks for stopping by.  Hugs and blessings to you and yours.

Windowpane Bishop: Smocking Finished

Hello Friends,  I love stitching before the sun comes up in the morning.  I  enjoy the quietness.  I finished smocking Miss Baby’s windowpane bishop this morning at about 5am.


I am really loving the scalloped “windowpanes.”  In case you are wondering, the smocking plate I used and modified is called “Windowpane Bishop” by The Children’s Corner, Inc.


I have a rather special purpose for this bishop.  I will share with you once everything falls in place.

Thanks for stopping by.  I have got to get a few things done before mid-week is upon us.

Hugs to you all!

A little bit of smocking…

I started smocking toward the end of spring a pleated bishop graciously sent to me by Linda (Thank you, Linda!), and stopped halfway because I was stumped by the feather stitches as determined by the smocking plate.  I didn’t like how they looked.  [I have concluded the symmetry of feather stitches looks more fetching when stitched vertically than horizontally.]  A few days ago I took out the feather stitches (originally stitched in yellow), and started stitching the scallops to replace the feather stitches… as you can see in the following picture:


That’s all I have to share for now.  I spent another day just running errands, and I am beat!  And…. our local Target is out of the Pentel white eraser.   So our quest for a Pentel white eraser (mentioned in this post) continues… just what I need to add in my crazy schedule, ha!

Thanks for stopping by.  Hugs to you all!

UFO fiasco!

This is no joke – I started this smocking project back in 2006 while I was taking a trip to the East Coast.  It was my “trip project”.  Back then, I really thought I had a loooooong time before needing to get this dress done.  But of course that was 6 years ago, and a lot has happened in the last 6 years…


I got most of the smocking done way back when, except for one of the front pieces.  I am trying to get the remaining unsmocked piece smocked, and have just had the hardest time matching the threads — because airhead here (aka problem child when it comes to sewing) did not have things organized with the actual threads or information on the thread color attached with the fabrics anywhere.  Bad girl — and now bad girl is facing the consequence.  I think I got that light purple thread right, but for some reason I just feel like the stitching on the smocked pieced looks finer than the one I am trying to do.  I have tried smocking with one less strand, and verified that that wasn’t what is causing the stitching to look finer.  I am thinking I might have used a different needle… maybe that’s it.


I even brought out the “crystal ball” to try to get to the bottom of things.  The crystal ball is this magnifying thingamagic my husband uses to look at electronic circuit board… things seem to look fine.  And… you will notice the blue row isn’t stitch, because the jury is still out exactly which shade of blue that is, even after hours of looking at things through the crystal ball!


At this point, I just want this dress smocked for the next step because pretty soon, it will be too small for Miss Baby.  And I hope people wouldn’t look too closely at how close the color shades match or how symmetrical the stitches are when the dress is on Miss Baby.

The moral of the story is don’t do I what do and always keep your UFO’s organized.  This post is lovingly dedicated to my heirloom sewing teacher Annelle!  She has known me in my sewing journey as one who will “invent” a problem when there is none, and so here I am again!

Now, please tell me you don’t have episodes like this when you work with your UPF’s…, but if you do, please share so that I can feel better about myself.  Thanks for stopping by.  Love you all!

Baubles, Baubles: Sneak Peek #2

Happy Friday, Everyone!  This week has gone by just as quickly as all my normal weeks.  I have been doing mostly behind-the-scenes stuff in order for my quilts to happen!  So I don’t really have too much to show for, but here is a snapshot showing my Baubles, Baubles quilt being quilted.

And before I go, here is a progress picture of the smocking on Miss Baby’s “Marbled Paper” dress.  I am not sure I like smocking 5 and 11-step trellis, but it’s too late for me to change the smocking plate now.  So, I shall just stick with it:

If all things go well, I will be getting a pair of linen cupboards this weekend to store my fabrics!  I am super super excited!!!   I hope to have pictures to show you next week.

Have a great weekend, Friends!  See you Monday.

Smocked Angel-sleeve Bishop: Marbled Paper

I started smocking a new dress for Miss Baby over last weekend. I am only wanting the smocking to add a bit of texture to the fabric print, thus the color scheme of the smocking is subdued instead of bold and loud.

The fabric is Woodrow Studio’s (UK) Marbled Alchemy collection.  The print is licensed by Cockerell Papers, the oldest established marbler in the UK.

Doing a bit of trolling in the internet, I found the marbled pattern is called “Peacock” according to the Decorated and Decorative Paper Collection of University of Washington.  Hmmm… the pattern is definitely a candidate to be interpreted as quilting motif, but I digress.

Paper marbling is quite an interesting art form.  If you are intrigued by it as I was, Wikipedia has an interesting write-up on the history of paper marbling.    Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you have a fantastic day!

Another smocked wrap-around sundress for Miss Baby

I showed you Miss Baby’s Petite Flowers sundress a couple of weeks ago, and the “saga” associated with the dress!

Well, here is another one with sort of a saga story.  Like Petite Flowers, this is another one pulled out from the “still a long way off” pile that Miss Baby wore to church last Sunday.  And like Petite Flowers, this sundress is exactly the same style, just different smocking on the front.  Honestly, I don’t remember the reason for the same exact style for the dresses.

I took with my sister years ago at a supermarket’s fabric section in Southeast Asia, and learned only how to somewhat smock regular cable stitches and a bit of trellis.  And after I returned to the States, I picked this design to smock for my first real dress!  Okay, so, I have a knack of picking out tedious designs — it’s in my blood, and I can’t do anything about it!  HELP!

There are 100 bullion roses in this design.  And I duly worked on all of them over the course of many many months!  Although I am thoroughly thrilled with the effect of bullion roses, I do not like working on them one tiny bit.   Completing the smocking for this dress was certainly a test of endurance for me.

Now the upside of this saga is that I won a blue ribbon and was paid $6 (hahaha!) in the local county fair for best smocking or some award.  My husband teased me about all that work, and I was paid $6.  :)

Jokes aside, there is no sweeter feeling than to see Miss Baby in a dress made just for her.  Looking back, I think of the prayers offered up on Miss Baby’s behalf while I was working on the dress, and years before she was even in the picture.  I recorded some of those prayers in my prayer journal, and need to flip and see how the prayers have been answered.

That’s it for now!  I am hoping to finish my Sweet Scoop quilt later this evening – so I’d better run!


Smocked Wrap Around Sundress: Petite Flower (AS&E 63)

Good day, dear Friends!  Some of you had written me weeks ago and asked if I was working on an Easter dress for Miss Baby.  The answer is I had every intention to do so after our return from the trip to Asia, but I ended up working A LOT after being gone for a month.  Long story cut short, my initially planned Easter dress didn’t happen.  But…. enter Petite Flower!  Sorry I am not able to take a more crisp-er picture of the dress.  Sometimes it’s hard to take pictures of small print fabrics. Hopefully you will get a better idea what the dress looks like in the subsequent pictures.

I got a bit emotional over Easter weekend seeing Miss Baby wear Petite Flower to church.  You see, I had smocked that dress way back in 2004/2005!  The notion of children was still faraway for me then,  and I definitely didn’t expect (thought I was hoping I would) to eventually have a daughter that would wear the dress.  And yet, there she was, telling me on Easter morning “Beanniful tress, Mom” as I put the dress one her.

When Miss Baby was born, the dress was put away in the “still a long way off” pile with the other pieces of clothing that are of larger size.  When the intended Easter dress didn’t materialize this year, I suddenly realized we might have something in the “still a long way off” pile that might work — and Petite Flower fit Miss Baby perfectly!

The dress is an exact replica of Petite Flower from Australian Smocking and Embroidery Issue 63.  She was most impressed with the “tracks”  (i.e. railroad tracks) I have smocked.  I have never looked at the smocked columns as tracks, but I do have a daughter who has engineering bent!

Thinking back on the years that had gone by, I am again grateful for the encouragement I have received along my sewing journey.  Back in 2005, I had no idea how to hem a dress.  Great friend Annelle came along and did the hemming for me.

I re-dedicated myself as a mother over the weekend after realizing just how fast my little Miss Baby is growing!  I am starting a new smocked bishop for her today.  Will show you pictures when I have had some substantial work done on it.

Thanks for stopping by!  I will catch up with later – I am also starting a new quilt today.  Anyone care to come by and babysit while I work?

(Last) Year in Review #6: Miss Baby’s dresses

You can see for yourself I didn’t do as well in sewing for Miss Baby in 2011 as I did completing quilts for magazines.  I am really  going to strive to do better this year!

Please click on the links to see more pictures of individual outfits.

1.  Monogram (Limoges) Smocked Bishop

2.  You are my sunshine play outfit

3.  Zoo play outfit

4.  Candy Corn Fall Jumper

5.  Woodrow Studio’s “The Magic of Christmas” Bishop

6.  Boughs of Holly Smocked Bishop

Which is your favorite?

Christmas Bishop: Boughs of Holly

Quick update:  Hello Friends!  I am immensely touched by your sweet comments left on the last post.  I also want to thank you for all your prayers.  We are doing well.  I am still not back in my regular routine.  Currently, I am not able to reply to my emails even though I am able to view them.  So, I will be slowly visiting you on your blogs (if you have one).  I will not be able to reply to your emails until late next week.


Many of you were so sweet – you wrote and asked if I completed Miss Baby’s Christmas Dress in 2011.  Answer is “yes!”  I managed to get the dress done 45 minutes before we were supposed to leave for church on Christmas morning.  How WILD is that?  Without any delay, here it is…. :)

The smocking plate is Holly Berry by Cross Eyed Cricket.  It is a delightful plate.  I added an extra green row at the bottom of the design to give the green a little more presence.  The berries are 4mm glass beads, purchased from Cross Eyed Cricket to give the holly berry sprigs a three-dimensional look.

The fabric I used is Spechler-Vogel’s Swiss Satin Batiste (white).  I don’t really like to smock on satin batiste because the fabric always feels so flimsy, and doesn’t really stiffen when starched after I block the bishop on the smocking board.  But the fabric does feel and look beautiful because it has a nice sheen to it.

Now onto the drama…. I forgot to cut the dress longer like I usually do.  So I was needing to add some length to the dress.  My sewing mentor Annelle’s suggestion is to add a bit of lace insertion.  Great idea!  I got my lace and extra fabric ordered.  It was Christmas Eve when I realized I hadn’t ordered enough lace and entredeux.  So the insertion was out of the question, and it was too late for me to order any extra lace!   I pulled out all the laces in my meager collection, and finally came up with enough to make a lace band to add at the bottom of the hem.  The laces are a mixture of French-made Val laces, and Swiss-made embroidered lace.  I also followed Jeannie Baumeister’s way to embellish the entredeux in the lace band.  I like the “candy cane” effect a lot!

I am going to try REALLY hard to get Miss Baby’s Christmas outfits done ahead of time this year.  Really! :)  Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you have a lovely weekend!  No promise yet, but I hope to get back to my regular blogging routine next week!

Boughs of Holly Bishop: Sneak Peek #1

Hello Friends!  I hope you are doing well.  I am trying to finish a Christmas dress for Miss Baby for Christmas.  You can see that things are a bit hectic over here judging by my progress, eh? :)  I have been telling myself while stitching that I really need to get next year’s the Christmas frocks completed by Sept next year!!

Meanwhile, I thought I would share with you glimpses of Christmas at our end, little touches here and there:

Thanks for stopping by!  I hope you have had a lovely day.  Have you wrapped your presents?