Woodrow Studio’s “The Magic of Christmas” Bishop

Hi Friends,  it’s good to have you visit again!  I love reading your comments – please know that I appreciate them.

I finished Miss Baby’s “The Magic of Christmas” bishop on Sunday, in time for her to wear to church.  She  has been saying “Mama working on tress, wear to cho-ch” whenever she sees me working on her dress.  So, I was quite determined to get it done by church on Sunday, and I did.  That is the high point.  The low point is, the construction turned out rather nightmare-ish!  I told my husband it was a project sent to torment me.

The fabric is from Woodrow Studio’s “The Magic of Christmas” collection, and it is a dream to stitch!  My needle had no trouble gliding in and out the fabric.  It feels very soft and smooth and satiny.  But my trouble really began prior to smocking when I realized that I should have left the sleeve alone and have them pleated first, and not sewed them with the other pieces.  My mistake was not reversible.  My sewing mentor Annelle suggested using elastic to substitute for the smocked sleeve look.  I am telling you, nothing catches Annelle by surprise.  She always has a solution for my sewing drama went wrong!  She is THAT good!!!  I had a bit of trouble doing that, but in the end I think I won.  But anything that doesn’t go according to plan bothers me.  So, it still bothers me to look at the sleeves even though they are perfectly serviceable.  That’s the short version of the story as I want to spare you the gory and trying details. :)

The smocking plate I used is Harmony by Carrie’s Closet.  It is amazing how different the final result looks with different threads on different fabric:

As I was taking out stitches with much frustration, I was reminded of the verse in 1 Corinthians 13:7 “(Love)… always perseveres.”  So, I kept going until the dress was completed…. all and only because I love my little girl.   How I needed that reminder to persevere…

I am getting ready to start another Holly/Berry dress for Miss Baby for Christmas Day!  I sure hope it isn’t going to be another project sent to torment me.  But even it is, “love … always perseveres.”

Thanks for stopping by!  Good day to you.

Thanksgiving Smocking: Part 1

Hi Friends, please don’t hate me…. I have been anti-social, deliberately!  I spent most of the weekend working on smocking Miss Baby’s Thanksgiving dress.  I made great strides – only a couple of rows left.  I am really striving for this dress to happen for our Thanksgiving weekend!

The fabric is from Woodrow Studio’s (England) The Magic of Christmas.  I love the richness of the fabric print.  Miss Baby is finally old enough to wear a dress made with a non-baby-ish fabric print.  I have to be honest – I have mixed feelings about that.  On one hand, I rejoice that my little one has grown, but on the other hand, I feel a bit helpless not being able to stop the time from swishing by me!  Nonetheless, the smocking sessions I squeezed in over the weekend were sweet moments for me.

I am going to be really scarce this week.  I have the dress to finish, and a new magazine quilt to complete!  Our second round of company is descending on us later this week.  I have an entire Thanksgiving feast to cook for – turkey, fixin’s and the entire range of desserts as our guests are coming out of town.  I will try to visit and respond to your comments (emails) as time allows.  I wish you a blessed week – despite the crazy busy-ness.  Blessings to you all!

Jane Ellen Smocking: almost there!

I stitched the last geometric stitch on Jane Ellen over the weekend.  I am just so super pleased with the variegated thread effect that I have to show you.  I do apologize for the crude picture…  but you now get to see what a smocked dress looks like in the “ugly duckling” stage.  Oh, please also excuse the safety pin – I have to leave it there to mark the dress center for when I add some embroidery:

I decided to leave the “bars” out that you see in the original Jane Ellen plate (toward the bottom part of the smocking).   You will see the difference by comparing this original plate with the picture above.

All I have left are some back smocking & embroidered flowers, and it will be ready for me to work my sewing klutziness to try turning the dress into a “swan”.  Stay tuned! :)

p.s.  Annelle, for sure you will be getting questions on this one! :)

377 patches and some stitching later…

I now have 13 completed blocks from the RJR Garden Frolic fabrics.  I don’t have a name for this quilt yet, thus I am not able to do a dedicated sneak peek post:

I haven’t touched the smocking board in the past 2 months.  Due to a lighter schedule, I am back at smocking Jane Ellen.  After I navigated through the “rocks” in my rocky start, smocking this plate now is pure bliss!  I just love the visual effect!!  It was going to be a late summer frock for the Miss, but it’s looking like I will have to save this for Valentine’s  Day next year  due to the color scheme.  Miss Baby is now very aware when she sees me working on her “dwess”.

I’d better fly as I have a full list today.  I am trying to keep my being somewhat caught up as long-lasting as possible.  I hope you have a lovely day!  Ciao!

Jane Ellen Smocking: A rocky start

This “Jane Ellen” smocking plate is what I am trying to replicate on a red smocked bishop for Miss Baby:

My progress so far… you wouldn’t know from the picture I have spent quite a few hours on this already. My mind is having to adjust to smocking twice on the same pleat before moving on. Needless to say, I have had to take out many a stitch and re-stitch. A rather rocky start to a beautiful plate. It’s a good thing I am a rather determined smocking mother.  Stay tuned for more pictures!

By the way, I do like the effect of smocking with variegated thread. The effect reminds me of a swirl raspberry vanilla ice cream. Don’t you think?

Getting ready for another bishop

My friend Annelle had actually pleated this red bishop for me last year close to Christmas. It was supposed to be Miss Baby’s Christmas dress. It never materialized. I am trying to get this done within the next month or two so we can salvage some mileage left from this size 2 bishop. I am going to try this Jane Ellen design plate with some fancy Cosmo variegated thread for a more playful and casual look. Not sure how it would look… but I thought I would at least try.

This will be my first time smocking with variegated threads…. I would dearly love to know your experience with smocking with variegated threads if you have done so in the past.

Gotta fly!  I will chat with you again tomorrow.

Smocked Monogrammed “Limoges” Bishop

You remember the smocked monogrammed bishop I was working on?

It’s done! I made a point to work on it last week to finish the dress in time for Mother’s Day. And I even have the model to prove it (see last picture on this post).

I was initially going to embroider the flowers in a mix of pink and lavender. But the color scheme didn’t quite work out when I was actually doing it. Plus, Jeannie Baumeister commented on this post she would do the flowers in all pink. I adore Jeannie’s work, and definitely take her professional opinion to heart. Jeannie designs lovely heirloom garments for babies. Her designs do not “swallow” the babies with too much frills and laces. They have just the right touch of elegance and timelessness. If you don’t know Jeannie, you should check her out! You can view a couple of baby gowns I made for Miss Baby from Jeannie’s designs here, and here. Okay, all that to say, I stuck with the tried and true pink on the blue smocking, and I was very happy with the effect!

I undertook the garment construction with much trepidation and honestly quite a bit of diffidence because I no longer live within a stone’s throw away from my dear friend Annelle ( I do miss her!). Being the loving friend, she was right there ready with answers when I had to call her for some questions! So, with Annelle’s encouragement and this link I found on the internet, I was able to complete the dress.

The fabric I used was the regular white Imperial Batiste because I thought the dress would withstand tumbles and occasional falls at this stage of Miss Baby’s life. The smocking plate is “Script Monogram” by Ellen McCarn.  Mrs. Magpie told me the smocking made her think of Limoges china.  So this is officially my “Limoges” smocked bishop. :)

I do love to dress Miss Baby in white – not the most practical thing to do, I know. :) But there’s just something sweet and timeless seeing little girls dressed in white. Miss Baby did get her dress soiled from playing. That’s why the dress is going to be washed for the second time in less than 24 hours… (The dress was already lightly washed once in between church and when we headed for Miss Baby’s silhouette session)!

Thanks for stopping by. I wish you a super special day!

Monogram in smocking

In the midst of last weekend’s craziness, I managed to sneak in the monogram on Miss Baby’s smocked dress.

Now, how supremely cool is that….?!  I love that monogram!  As you can see, I also started on the embroidery of the flowers.  After much deliberation and a drawn out discussion with my husband (because I tend to major on the minor, like color combination), it is decided that at least for that top row, I should do a combination of pink and lavender…. mainly because Miss Baby already has a blue and yellow smocked dress she still wears.  We will see how that looks before deciding on the colors for the rest of the flowers.

I am keeping this a bit short as I have to squeeze in some paperwork stuff before my little ones wakes up from her nap.  Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you have nice day.  Talk to you again tomorrow.

Almost ready, set, ….

…smock! The bishop is shaped and pinned on the smocking board, and spray starched.

All I need to figure out are the blues I am going to use. It always amazes me just how many shades of one color are out there when I try to narrow down colors for smocking. This is where my husband comes into the picture. He is great in deciding colors on Miss Baby’s dresses for me. So, as soon as he gets home from work, I will be able to start smocking.

Stay tuned for more pictures. Meanwhile, I am going to finish putting together my Autumn Stars. Quilting should start tomorrow on that quilt. Bye for now!

Miss Baby’s Milestone Dresses

Somehow it just seems inconceivable, but Miss Baby is now two years old. I have been browsing through our picture archive, and am simply amazed at how far my little Baby has come along…

Seeing the dresses Annelle and I worked on for Miss Baby for various special occasions brought me lots of sweet memories – the memory of finally seeing the dresses on Miss Baby, the sweet fellowship Annelle and I had planning out the different outfits, the sense of gratification of finally completing a dress I started before Miss Baby was even on the radar screen. So now, I shall take you down this memory lane with me because I don’t know mind doing it again and again. :)

1. This is Miss Baby’s one month old “coming out” dress. I observed the Chinese tradition of “confinement” – staying home with Miss Baby for one month without going out, except for the first check up. During the confinement, ladies from church spoiled my family with home cooked meals. We had food provided for us for about 5 weeks. Miss Baby’s one month old birthday fell on a Sunday. So she went to church on her “coming out” day, and wore this daygown (pattern from Old Fashioned Baby):

Here are a couple of “lemonade” daygowns we made for Miss Baby:

2. Miss Baby’s Dedication dress, given by dear friend Rhonda. The handwork is simply incredible:

3. Miss Baby’s first Easter dress (pattern also from Old Fashioned Baby):

4. Miss Baby’s fun outfit for her first long car trip at 6 months. We drove for nearly 20 hours to the East Coast. I totally messed up on the neck band, and had to have Annelle fix it for me the day before we left for our trip. My husband affectionately calls Annelle our sewing fairy because there’s nothing Annelle can’t seem to fix!

5. Miss Baby’s dress for her first Fall season. Taking pictures of Miss Baby in the dress among the fall leaves proved a bit difficult – she kept wanting to eat the dead leaves:

6. Miss Baby’s dresses for her first Christmas:

7. Miss Baby’s FIRST birthday dress. I did the smocking, while Annelle did the dress construction:

8. Miss Baby’s Easter dress 2010. I started smocking on this dress in 2007, and completed the smocking in 2008. Dress was completed in spring 2010.

9. Miss Baby’s Fall dress 2010. I promised myself that’s the last time I would do picture smocking while I was doing the smocking, until I saw the finished result… I went and scouted out a few more picture smocking plates for future dresses. Fall 2010 was a super busy time for me. Annelle graciously finished the dress for me.

10. Miss Baby’s Christmas 2010 dress. By the time Christmas rolled around, I was wiped out from my quilting marathon. My plan to make a smocked Christmas dress fell through. Annelle graciously offered her love and help (AGAIN!), and made this velveteen dress for Miss Baby. Collar is fine English netting. Miss Baby looks like a Southern Belle on Christmas Day!


I remember many of the prayers I prayed, and thoughts I had while working on each of those dresses. As I look back, my heart also overflows with gratitude to friends and family who have loved Miss Baby, and to God for giving me my very own Miss Baby!

Children’s Corner Smocked Carol Apron Dress

I stayed up till 2:30am last Sunday morning finishing up Miss Baby’s Carol apron dress. It was warm enough on Sunday that we were able to debut the dress, paired with a red sweater, at church.

I am telling you… sewing just does not come naturally to me. I become best buds with the seam ripper whenever I try to put together a garment. But I guess the result is worth it. I am most proud of my piped collars and sleeves – I did that all by myself.

The darling thing about this dress is the little belt on the back of the dress. I sewed an apple button to match the fabric. Fabric is Kawaii Japanese fabric. Kawaii makes the cutest print fabrics for kids.

The dress can be worn by itself. Annelle and I decided it would also look cute with a pair of Lettie pants.

These are the feet I used to construct the dress. My friends at my local Bernina dealership would be so proud of me for using all those feet!

Even though garment sewing and I are almost like oil and water, and we tolerate each other when we have to, I do love the idea of sewing for Miss Baby. I always take the opportunity to pray and think extra thoughts of Miss Baby when I work on projects for her. It’s the thought of covering her with love that makes me persevere and take out those stitches with a smile and try again.

Smocked Fall Leaves Dress

The picture smocking (more information on the smocking is found here) for Miss Baby’s fall dress was done months ago… But for the longest time, the dress pieces languished in a pile waiting for me to fit them into my crazy schedule to get the dress constructed.

The languishing continued, and the construction never happened.  My dear friend Annelle took pity on Miss Baby for not having her fall dress to wear.  She offered to finish the dress for Miss Baby!  I thank God always for placing Annelle in my life… she did a fantastic job finishing this square yoke dress.

The Peter Pan collars, the yoke, and the sleeves were piped with some leftover fabric scraps from one of my quilts.

Miss Baby looks like a BIG little girl in the dress.  Since it is a seasonal dress, Miss Baby has worn it MANY times ever since the dress was completed.  Her Mom (aka moi) wants to make all the effort that went into this dress COUNT!  That picture smocking wasn’t exactly a breeze, I tell ya! ;)