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!



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!

Miss Baby’s “Zoo” Play Dress

I managed to complete Miss Baby’s Zoo Play Dress!

This is the jumper dress version of the “You Are My Sunshine” play outfit I had made for Miss Baby a few months ago.

The same pattern (Madison by Bonnie Blue) was used.  Funny thing is being the sewing klutz that  I am, the second time around was harder than the first time despite the fact that the garment construction process was exactly the same!  So trust me, you wouldn’t want to ask me for any sewing advice.

I love that many of Miss Baby’s outfits are joint-efforts of my friends and mine, whether color input from my husband, or suggestions from sewing friends who show an interest in Miss Baby’s life.  Twila, a sewing friend from Rogers Sewing Center,  went to work on finding different elephant designs in her archive when I asked for her help.  She found the perfect one!  Thanks, Twila!

This is Miss Baby wearing the dress.  She calls it her “enephan dress”!

I need to work on a couple more outfits for my little one as she is growing fast vertically!

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!

Summer Smocking DONE!

The smocking on the summer playdress I am making for Baby is done.   I used the free smocking plate on Creations by Michie.  This is the smocking before I took the dress off the smocking board:

This is what it looks like after the little flowerettes were added.  I REALLY like the scallop effect of the last two rows:

I thought I would show you a few things I do to make smocking easier for me when I smock a bishop on the smocking board.

1. I mark the center two pleats with a pin.  The pin stays there as long as the dress is pinned on the smocking board.  That way, I don’t have to search for the center marked with the fabric marker prior to pleating if I ever have to reference the center at any point during the smocking process:

2.  I always smock multiple rows at a time to check that my counting is correcting during the smocking process.  There is nothing more annoying to have take out stitches in the previously stitched row when I realize I have made a mistake somewhere in the previous row while stitching a current row.   So I have started stitching at least three rows at one time.

3.  I have a magnet in the center of the board to keep my needles.  I placed a thumb tack in the center, and then, a small magnet on top for a make-shift pin-cushion to keep track of my multiple needles.  Works out wonderfully for me.

4.  I also use these nifty 1/2″ applique pins made by Clover to pin my dress to the the board instead of the smocking pins with the orange tops.  The tops come off too easily for me when I I pull them out.  The applique pins work out splendidly for me, and I think I got 100 of them for under $5.

Now, it’s time to construct the garment – not my favorite thing to do for those of you who have known me for a while.  But I shall persevere.  And, Annelle, guess who’s going to beat down your door for a visit in the very near future..?! ;)

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you have a lovely start to another new week.

Smocked Birthday Dress

This was a double-team project between myself and my dear friend Annelle. The dress wouldn’t have materialized had it not been for Annelle doing the construction for me. When I knew how late I was in getting the smocking done, I didn’t even pretend I was going to be able to construct the birthday gown! A big thanks go to Annelle for making the dress happen!

The idea for the dress is “Cherie” from Australian Smocking & Embroidery Issue 44. I preferred Baby to wear white. So, I used a white voile with a pink/white color scheme. The pinks I used were DMC 818 and 3716. I decided to keep the bullions all white for the front closure.

This is another bishop. I just love the bishop cut dresses for little girls. The only difference is this bishop opens at the front instead of at the back:

This is the back:

Around 10 yards of lace were used:

The smocking inspired the design on Baby’s birthday cake:

This was a labor of love for Baby. The bullions were a little tedious while I was rushing to get the embroidery done. But it was worth it all!

Thank you for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed your visit. Have a lovely weekend!

Smocking: Birthday Dress

Good day,  Everyone.  I hope you are having a good day.  I am sorry I have been a bit scarce, but I have been working on a smocked birthday dress.  Embroidering the bullion roses has taken up most of my time in the past couple of days.  I am a bit out of practice with the bullion roses since it’s been quite a while since I did any serious embroidery of bullion roses. But I thought the color scheme turned out rather sweet:

I will be able to visit you back and respond to your comments once my embroidery is done.  I will also have more pictures of the dress to show you too!  Take care, and till next time.

Peppermint Smocking

Good day, everyone.  I hope you are doing well.  I committed the unpardonable bloggy sin upon completing my Picket Fence quilt — I forgot to take some pictures of the quilt before I headed out the door to ship the quilt!!!  So, I will have to wait a few months before I can show you how the quilt turned out.

I am between deadlines.  I am waiting for fabrics to come before I have to be a busy beaver meeting another tight deadline.  While I am in between deadlines, I thought I’d better work on the last of baby’s Christmas dresses.  I am smocking another bishop for her (shocker!), this time with a peppermint color scheme on Swiss Heirloom Dimity:

I will have more pictures to show you.  Meanwhile, I’d better get back to my smocking before the quilt deadline monster is breathing down my neck again.

Have a lovely day, and stay warm (for those who are experiencing the cold front in the US).  Till tomorrow!

Done: Smocked Gingerbear Jumper

I bought this beautiful fabric a couple of months ago, knowing that I would use it to make a play-dressy outfit for baby.

I didn’t want to make something toooo involved — famous last words! Wouldn’t you know I fell in love with this little outfit (a modified Lucy by Children’s Corner) shown on website of Farmhouse Fabrics:

Picture from Farmhouse Fabrics

I just knew I had to make it with the gingerbread man fabric, using Little Memories‘ Gingerbear Smocking Plate! I have made a basic Lucy before, and was feeling a little adventurous in trying something different. Problem is, there are no instructions as to how to add an insert in a Lucy to make it look like the Farmhouse Fabrics sample. That means the original pattern had to be altered in order to fit the smocked insert. Nothing too involved, eh?! Did I say that? So, in order to make the Lucy after my own heart, I involved my dear sewing teacher Annelle in my crazy scheme to alter the pattern ourselves. Annelle is always super gracious to go along with whims (thanks, Annelle!).

I smocked the bears, did the prep work. We had just a bit of trouble centering the bears about the yoke. But Annelle can fix anything! We ended up with a jumper that looks pretty good!  We decided not to do the ruffle at the bottom.

Colors used in smocking: DMC 321, White, 3826, 937

Now, I have something to bring for show-and-tell for my December sewing club:

My, a whole week has come and gone. Mine has turned out quite differently than I had planned. It’s been a super busy week for me. I hope you have had a good one. Do enjoy your weekend. I shall catch up with you next week!

Completed: Pumpkin Patch Smocked Bishop


This is how the “pumpkin patch” smocked bishop looks upon completion! It turned out very very fall-ish. I am in love with it:

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The colors used are DMC 951, 922, 3826. Smocking plate is from Australian Smocking & Embroidery Issue 47 (original project: Baby Blue). Fabric is peach satin batiste. This fabric has a very fine feel, and better yet, it has a slight sheen that adds to the beauty of the dress!

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Besides the smocking, what made me melt is the wide hem! I have a thing for wide hems on little girls’ dresses. They make the dresses look just a little less casual!

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I didn’t use but a little lace for this dress – a bit of cream Swiss embroidery lace on the sleeves:

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In my humble estimation, the bishop cut is a most timeless designs in children’s fashion — it had looked good in the past; it looks good now; and it will still look good 50 years and beyond from now!

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Thank you for stopping by. I want to wish all my bloggy visitors a fabulous weekend. I will be teaching a Free Form Feather Drawing Class at Rogers Sewing Center, and I am looking forward to it!