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?

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!

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!

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!

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!

I am still bullion-ing!

Thanks for your encouraging words on my smocked birthday dress.  I appreciate them very much.  And yes, I am still bullion-ing.  I am starting to see the end of the tunnel though.  Don’t you think the leaves really help bring out the bullion roses?

I did some quick Math — by the time  I am finished with the embroidery – I would have put in roughly 303 bullion stitches in order to form the rosebuds and roses, and stitched 298 leaves (not counting stitches I have to re-do).  No wonder it’s taken me so long…. note to self:  next time, plan the birthday dress a little earlier! ;)

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you have a fabulous day!  I will be getting to your emails and comments very soon!

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.

On the twelveth day of Christmas…

I thought I would share with you one of my favorite Christmas traditions — new dresses! I grew up in a comfortable though not affluent home, but as long as I could remember, I always got a new dress for Christmas every year! I carried on with that tradition for myself after I left home to come to the States. I would buy myself a new dress for Christmas every year.

I have since passed on that tradition to baby as well. You have seen the Gingerbear Smocked Jumper I made as a Christmas play dress for her. Here is the Peppermint Smocked Bishop that I made for baby as the Christmas dress:

This was an earlier picture when the smocking was still in progress:

The fabric is Swiss White Dimity — it was definitely a dream to smock on. I just love the white ribs on the fabric:

The smocking plate is out of the 61st issue of Creative Needle. I omitted the green leaves that went on both sides of the flowerettes in the bottom diamonds because I wanted to keep the peppermint color scheme:

Truth be known, my dear Annelle saved the day, AGAIN!  She practically did most of the construction for this dress.  I was able to finish the dress a few hours before we were to board the plane to spend Christmas out-of-state!

Ol’ Mom here is going to cheat a little.  Baby doesn’t know it yet, but this is also going to be her Valentine’s Day outfit.  I am looking at a very tight schedule for 6 weeks starting now, which means I won’t have time to make a Valentine’s Day outfit.  So, this red/white Christmas dress would have to do! :)

Thanks for stopping by!  I hope you have a fabulous day.  Bye bye Christmas, see you again in a year!

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!

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!

Pumpkin Patch Smocking done!

Hello Everyone, I hope you have had a great week.  My week has been quite productive, but that was at the expense of my rest.  I am feeling a bit tired trying to meet all the deadlines.  But tiredness aside, I feel great!  I spent a delightful morning with the Eureka Quilt Guild today.   I truly enjoyed their company, and appreciated their warm welcome!  On our way getting there, I was greeted with some gloriously beautiful fall foliage.  Fall is really here!


And our pumpkin patch date is coming up  in a couple of days.  The smocking on the bishop is done!  I really love how it has turned out.  This is the first time I used bold colors like the brown on a light background.  The satin batiste was a dream to stitch!  Now, I just need to get the dress constructed — and pumpkin patch, here we come!

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