The latest issue of Sew Beautiful showed up several of weeks ago, with this adorable dress by Claire Meldrum. It is a bishop that doesn't use a pattern. Instead, Claire gives detailed instructions on how to cut out and mark the dress. The smocking is honeycomb smocking, a variation on North American Smocking.
I'm using this fabric I had in my stash, a Debbie Mumm for Joann. I'll be smocking it with a light green floss, DMC 772.
Now, how many of you read Mary Corbet's post on DMC from June 27? (along with all the comments, mine included). It was very interesting, do read it if you get a chance. It goes a bit into the controversy about a perceived decline in quality of their floss. By the way, this particular color I'm using is not marked as colorfast. But then the fabric probably isn't very colorfast either.
I marked the fabric as instructed, but on the wrong side instead of the right side. No reason, just not following instructions carefully. I also made the bias binding in one long continuous strip as I
smocked in the car on our way to visit our granddaughter in Colorado intending to construct the dress after I arrived.
When I make any kind of project from a magazine, I copy the article to bring it with me in my sewing bag so I don't destroy the original magazine. Imagine my chagrin when I started to make the dress and found I didn't copy the complete article, just the smocking instructions. I had to drive to Jo-Ann Fabrics and buy a new copy of the magazine to get the construction part of the article.
It was pretty darn easy to put together, and here is the finished product modeled by my granddaughter while inspecting her mom's vegetable garden.
Likes and dislikes:
This was a very easy pattern, and I love the honeycomb smocking as an alternative to traditional English Smocking. It was very quick to smock, and only took 2-3 hours to construct. Most of that time was spent driving to get the magazine and hemming the bias strips and hem by hand.
I did not, however, like the fabric. As I mentioned before, it is Debbie Mumm for Jo-Ann. I've bought Debbie Mumm fabrics from quilt stores before, and they are completely different. This particular fabric ravels very easily and is prone to developing holes if you have to redo a stitch. The fabric seems weak and doesn't have the nice feel that good quilt store fabrics have. Needless to say, I won't use it again.
One thing I thought odd was Claire's instructions to make the neck front of the dress lower than the back by cutting the center front by 1 inch and tapering to the shoulders. It does look nice, but we don't generally do this on English Smocked bishops and we tend to be happy with the way they look. The reason I don't like it is that I feel it spoils the look of the smocking, as shown in the camera phone picture of Bridget eating ice cream. I also didn't arrange the pleats as well as I should have, which doesn't help.
I'd like to make this again, using a cotton voile for a nice nightgown, leaving the neckline as is and arranging the pleats more evenly.
We've been back from Colorado almost a week now, and I do have more things to show you, so stay tuned in the coming week! Happy weekend and I hope you can get some stitching done!