We are eagerly awaiting the arrival of a new great-granddaughter in October.  I’ve accepted the challenge of working up a wardrobe of hand-smocked dresses for the little one.  The dress you see here is a white baby bishop smocked in a pink and white geometric design.

I used Imperial white babywale pique since she may be needing something warmer than batiste.  My pattern is Tiny Bishop Baby Layette by Kathy Crisp.  I love the pattern and have used it more than a dozen times. 

Hand smocking is one of my favorite kinds of sewing.  It makes a baby garment extra special, but it really isn’t hard to do at all.  And I love old-fashioned baby clothes so much better than some of the baby girl clothing that is available now. 

Here’s a shot of the dress after the smocking was completed but before the construction had begun.

You can still see the pleating threads in this picture, too.  The fabric is drawn up using a pleater like this one  http://www.sewingmachineoutlet.com/aj24pleater.htm .  The threads are then drawn up to the appropriate size, and the smocking stitches are made by hand on top of the pleats.  When the smocking is complete, the pleater threads are removed, and the pleats are held in place by the smocking. 

This bishop style dress is perfect for tiny babies, and this is nearly always the pattern I use for a newborn baby gift.  Since this new baby is so close to my heart, I’m hoping to make lots and lots of handsmocked dresses for her. 

And just in case one of her baby friends tries to take her dress, I’ve added her initials to the hem of this garment.  This is the first time I’ve used the monogramming stitches on my new Janome Memory Craft 6600 sewing machine, and I am pleased with the results.

I can’t wait to meet you!