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?


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!

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! :)

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?

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!