Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Smocked Baby Bishop I

I've mentioned several times that I have two grandnieces due to be born shortly, and I just realized that the first is due in less than two weeks! That means Auntie Cindy better get cracking! I found some nice (well, I thought so at the time) cotton twill at Joann's and dug out my favorite baby bishop pattern, "Baby Bishops" by Chery Williams. I'm making the long daygown with long sleeves in three month size. I figure three months from now in Ontario, Canada, it will start to be getting chilly.

I bought three yards of the fabric, as I figured I could use it for other things, especially embroidery, but I'm completely frustrated as it won't hang straight! I tore one edge, selvage to selvage, lined it up and ironed it but I can't get the rest of the fabric edges to match. So I stretched it in places, and it came somewhat under control. I think for a small baby dress it will be OK.

Since this is cotton twill I figured it would be really, really painful to pleat so I looked up Martha's Seamless Pleating Tutorial at Southern Matriarch and decided to go with Method #2.

Here's the bishop just starting to come through the pleater. Isn't that iPad handy? In this method, you don't sew the pieces together until after the pleating is finished, which means you have to rethread the pleater needles for each piece. With a bishop, that's five times!

This is the pleated bishop, with the seams sewn in. This method took a good long time, but it was worth it. If I had tried to pleat it with the seams sewn, I would have broken many, many needles and probably would have been driven to drink. Pleating just isn't my strong point. 

The colored pins point to three of the seams. You can see them slightly, but I think it will look better once completely smocked and the threads removed. The smocking pattern is from an old Australian Smocking and Embroidery called "Little Wonder" and I have no idea which issue, as I've already put it away and it isn't printed on the pages. I tend to copy the pages of the magazines to work from so I don't destroy the magazine while working on the project. I haven't decided on the trims yet, but will just work it as I go. The two rows shown above will have ribbon woven through them for an unusual touch. I'm using DMC floss in light pinks, 961, 962, 963 and white, with 989 light green for the leaves that will eventually be added to bullion roses. It also calls for beads, which I really like on smocked gowns.

And here is the bottle of wine that I brought to the neighbor's barbecue. Martha Stewart I am not, but they were impressed.


  1. What a lovely little smocked gift for the new baby! I love the bottle of wine in the embroidered bag...what a great idea!


  2. Why yes that ipad is handy!!!!! Can't wait to see your completed bishop.

  3. Cynthia,
    When I need to pleat multiple pieces, I make sure I pull out enough thread so I don't have to keep rethreading my pleater, which as I agree is a pain in the backside. I have a pleater board similar to Martha Pullen's that a very nice friend made for me. I have 24 bobbins loaded with thread all the time. Just a thought for you.


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