I began work on these dresses back in March of last year. Then I got pregnant, and morning sickness hit. It has been such a busy time for us that I had not even been able to take pictures of them, but I finally managed to finish both of them. If not for one year’s Easter, for next year’s, right? 😉
I had always dreamed of smocking a dress, but with nobody to teach me it seemed like a lost cause. And then I came across a fantastic book by Gail Doane called Sew Cute Couture and I knew that maybe, just maybe, I could have a chance. So I bought it.
The book was a dream. It walks you step by step through many beautiful smocked creations, and I was smitten by many of them. Two problems, however: the bishop dress pattern only came up to three years old, and one of my daughters was already four and way past that size. Problem number two: I did not own a pleater.
What was a girl to do?
Well, I decided that my eldest did not need to have a bishop, after all. I do like them to match, though, when I make their clothes, so I adapted one of the designs in the book to match the design of my two-year-old’s bishop. Problem solved!
Now, what about the pleating?
Unable to find anyone locally who would do the pleating for me (and if anybody knows of anyone who does pleat for a fee, please let me know), I set out to pleat on my own. (I will have a separate post on pleating–it deserves its own separate treatment, for sure!)
It was a lot of work–not hard work, just long, especially because I was making two dresses–but I am do happy with the way these turned out! And, the best part, the girls loved them, too.
The first dress only has pleating on the bodice. The collar features the same buttons as the bishop, with some stitching (this design was supposed to go on the collar of the bishop’s matching jacket that I never made).
This is what the back looks like.
For a while, when I was in a hurry, I debated whether I should work on that belt detail or just add some ribbon to adjust the dress. Conclusion?: the belt is worth it. It makes this look!
And here is my darling bishop!
I love this dress, and I love it on my child. She still looks do much like her playful self in this dress, and it is hilarious to see the traditional/mischievous together.
Here is a look at the back:
And here are some close up shots of the collar/embroidery of both dresses:
If you have ever wanted to smock a dress and were daunted before you even began, please consider it again. It is fun and it is not hard; it is just long work, but it is easy if you are shown how. I highly recommend Gail Doane’s book. If I could do it, anyone can do it!